While decorating our Christmas tree Tuesday night, I discovered an ornament from days of yore! This sparkly gem, which I had completely forgotten about, is a picture of my first horse Daytona. He was a head-strong Quarter Horse gelding, too young for a teenager with little experience in the ways of horse training.
On a good day he would move along with moderate enthusiasm as we explored the acres of trails and forest preserve adjacent to the big field that was his home 24/7. On a bad day he would buck when I cued him to canter. I was intimidated by his antics, therefore he knew I would back down and stick to trotting. That meant less work from him–smart gelding.
Thankfully, a skilled horsewoman my mom met at the beauty shop offered to help me and I moved my stinker of a steed to her backyard barn. Daytona shaped up with more structure in his life and I grew wiser, not just from learning through trial and error, but from modeling what I did after my new mentor who clearly knew what she was doing.
During college (through a family I babysat for) I met a gen-u-ine horse trainer who not only helped smooth out my backyard equitation, but helped me progress to my show horse DC. She even introduced me to the future owner of Daytona.
As I studied in Spain the summer after I graduated from college, Daytona was leased, doted on, ridden, adored by a kind woman who then later bought him. It was love.
Flash forward many years. I lost track of Daytona and his owner. About two years ago I had this urge to reach out to his owner. I didn’t think Daytona would still be alive, but you never know. I wanted to connect to tell her that I had moved to California, gotten married, became a teacher, and lost DC. I found an old address in Wisconsin and mailed a letter. I never heard back. I assumed she had possibly just lost Daytona and it might be too hard to write about.
Thanks to this blog, I know the rest of the story! Yesterday I received an email that started, “Do you remember me? I purchased Daytona from you? He was a great horse. . .”
My letter was mailed to Wisconsin, but the owner had moved several years before that to Texas! The mystery was solved.
I found out yesterday that Daytona lived to be 25 and was adored until the end. I couldn’t have asked for a happier conclusion for my first horse.
I sent an email with this Christmas ornament photo attached to my first horse’s true love.
I hope I hear back from her again.
Do tell: Have you, or would you ever try to track down a former pet or horse (or boyfriend)?
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