Living the Dream

Image -Willy

By Diana Wanamaker

I had just been ‘let go’ from my first Social Work job, right out of college, just a month prior to crossing paths with Willy. There was a sense of relief from losing that job, but there was much to process, for it mimicked the likes of a destructive relationship. The economy was beginning to flicker signs of deterioration, but it was not understood at that given time. So, my future showed much promise and hope with a Master’s degree at hand. I may have lost a job, but they could never take that degree from me. Despite what externally seemed like a unfavorable situation, I had much peace about it.
At the time a friend of mine was looking for a new horse. As many years before we often when on our horse hunts together. We had been horse riding partners’ for many years and having two heads in a horse purchasing situation is always best! So, off we went…..
We scouted papers and drove around the back, country roads just appearing at people’s doorsteps asking if they had a horse for sale. We arrived at this one farm where at the time there was probably 10 horses there. Her daughter was attempting a career in horses and had a horse that she was interested in selling. He was a Thoroughbred, and my friend had absolutely no interest in such a large horse. She was more a pony lover. But, we took a look in spite of the mismatch.
The young woman led the big, red chestnut into the barn and both our eyes lit up at how handsome he was. The young woman tacked him up, even though there was little interest, one never knows what horse will be ‘the one’.
I was usually the guinea pig to try out new horses and with this one I didn’t offer much argument. We went out to the arena and I mounted up and took a few spins around the arena.
The minute I got on him and felt that trot and canter I felt as if my whole world had been lit up! It took me back 20 yrs., and I fell in love instantly! My friend saw the sparkle in my eye and the elation of joy that had overcome me.
Even though I was not looking for a horse whatsoever, it was on that fated day that I found my Willy and purchased him about 2 weeks later. It was a difficult decision at the time, but I have absolutley no regrets!
He offered to me parts of life that I don’t think I have ever been able to equate in a human relationship. He was this beautifully, big, majestic, gallant being. He offered so much to me and in time we became soulfully connected. But, in all life’s instances it seems that Willy was already connected to me on that day that he changed my life forever.
Yesterday the memories of him brought a friendly visit of Willy, although he is no longer with me, his presence remains in my heart forever.  That day we met and the months to follow was one of the happiest and most peaceful times of my life.

I was collecting unemployment and looking for work, so my days were relaxed and flexible, at the time.  It had been about 12-15 yrs. since I had a horse of my own.  Always have had horses in my life, but having one I could call my own, too much time had passed for that.

Willy was this big, beautiful Thoroughbred, hard to miss his gallant prescense. Confident and courageous horse that moved forward like he feared nothing.  He would travel across the ground in large, strong strides.  I would just raise my seat out of the saddle to enjoy the strength in each stride he took.  He was a powerful ride and was not for your average rider.  His experience in Eventing and Jumping and all the previous training he had prior to our meeting, showed in the glorious ride he would take me on each and every time.  His trot was very difficult to post to.  One had to really, really work hard to ride to his trot. I knew he would be a challange when I met him, and I was ready for each marvelous ride he took me on.  His energy levels were very high and I had to dedicate hours and hours of exercising him each week, whether it be on the end of a line, or out on the trails.

Willy, also known as Big Red, became my trail riding gelding.  Across many a terrain he took me. Through winding trails in the woods, dodging tree stump trails in the northern trails of michigan, crossing large river’s, or speeding up the many hills and mountains of Michigan.  Over the small eventing courses at a nearby trail, was my favorite of all.  I loved to jump and Willy helped me relive the dream of jumping again.  No matter the jump, he was going over it, no matter the timing of the jump, he made it over.  He was more than I had imagined he would be and each day I was lucky to have him.

The days of our Life together: July 10, 2001 – July 8, 2010

Copyright February 2014. All Rights Reserved.

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