Nearly six years ago two small ceramic horses mysteriously appeared on my desk one spring day. I asked everyone in the office and many of my friends if they knew anything about them, but no one stepped forward to acknowledge the gift. Since then, the two brown-and-white spotted horses have decorated my office.
Even though I don’t know who dropped them off, I think I know why. In the spring of 2002 I wrote a Commentary titled “Where’s The Value In Our Horses?” I’d been contemplating a new horse, but I was struggling with whether to purchase a horse as an investment or one that stole my heart. In that Commentary I’d mentioned my fondness for pintos and my lifelong dream to have one. In addition to the ceramic horses, I also received several letters about quality pinto horses for sale, but, in the end, I decided to postpone my purchase.
Several years later I did buy a new horse, the one you now see in conjunction with the Commentary page. Although he wasn’t a pinto—he’s a flashy Belgian Warmblood—I fell in love with him. I took him up through the ranks, showing him at his first competition in the baby greens and then eventually competing him in the adult amateur and pre-green hunter divisions. Earlier this year I sold him to a junior rider, and they’ve had a successful year in the children’s hunters.
When I began searching for his replacement, I looked at a number of lovely horses, from green warmbloods to off-the-track Thoroughbreds and even a few ponies. But, for various reasons, the right one didn’t come along. Then, about a month ago, I found two young pinto warmblood siblings advertised on the Internet, and I just couldn’t get them out of my mind.
A couple of days later, during the Washington International Horse Show, I showed a few of my trusted friends the website, expecting them to maybe smile and say, “Oh, how cute. Now seriously, what else have you found?” Instead, all three of them oohed and aahed, and as we left the building for lunch, they convinced me to call the trainer. So, in between traffic lights and honking taxicabs, I set up a time to see them.
I’m sure you know how this story goes—it’s akin to going to see a litter of puppies: “I’m just going to look at them; I don’t need another dog.” And, of course, you return home with a new family member. So it was with the pintos—I fell for the yearling.
When I e-mailed another friend to tell her, she once again forwarded me her “no-fail horse selling formula.” According to her nine-step plan for purchasing a horse, the pinto failed miserably, not for his color but primarily for his age. I’d own him a long time before I could even ride him.
Despite her cautionary formula, it was the final paragraph of her e-mail that helped me decide to take the videotape to my trainer. She said, “If you are thinking that this is THE ONE, and you are really in love, then you just have to do it. There have been a few horses in my life that I really regret passing by. Sometimes you have to let your heart lead the way.”
So, over the years these two pinto ceramic horses have reminded me that following your dreams is often a most rewarding path, even if you’re not exactly sure of the destination.
Tricia Booker, Editor