Tag Archive | horses

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.

Don’t Burn the Jiffy Pop!


Photo: Here’s the Clan at the Farm (from left to right):

Mousy (cat sitting on fence post), Penny Arcade (also known as Arc. my horse. the bay), Randy (pony in middle), Dave (holding Randy), Louie (the dog), Skipper (big, red TW), Carol (holding Skipper), Herkamore (black cat Carol’s holding).

Copyright 1974. All Rights Reserved

By Diana Wanamaker

I remember long, long days at the barn with our horses. We would be there early in the morning. Tacking up and heading out for the day that would literally consist of 12-24 hours. Squeezing as much out of daylight as we could…but wait, that didn’t stop us either. Many a night we came home single file in the dark. Continuing our riding adventures camped out on the 10 acres of land.

Back then the acres of farm land surrounded us for miles and miles.  We had our pick of places to ride without much complaint from anyone.  Each area had a designated name and each area offered a different riding adventure.  The rolling hills & meadows of Haunted Hill Valley to the dessert like terrain of Devil’s Mountain to the swimming holes of Paint Creek, there was no adventure untouchable.

Playing tag around the sand filled hills of Devils Mountain for hours on end. Switching horses. Running up and down sand hills, bareback, carved by mountian bikers. No hill was too steep, no run too daring.  Riding into nearby neighborhoods, stopping at my riding buddies parent’s home. Tying the horses up, going in for lunch, then back out to more adventures on the trails.  No matter the weather, no matter the time of year, we stopped at nothing to go riding.

Campfire’s out in empty fields, for winter riding, to warm up our toes, and cooked Jiffy Pop over the campfire. We also made manure rings in the pasture, for winter and those shorter days. We also would use the house spotlight to ride on those darker, cooler nights. Chasing the occassional hot air ballon to be there when they landed. Riding underneath the Railroad Bridge, riding into town and riding to parks.  It was all about the riding then and those horses took us far and wide across many miles over the years.

Days seemed so much simpler then, people were more trusting, there was more freedom, more space, less people and more farms, more generousity and kindness, more genuine friendships, fun and laughter. Everything just seemed so much easier and less complex when thinking back of all the memories without computers. Different world today, it’s ever changing atmosphere often leaves me to travel back in time when the only care in the world I carried, was to see my horse and make sure the Jiffy Pop didn’t burn.

Here’s to the memories of my younger years of riding and it’s propelling movement to share them hear today for the world to see. Again they live!

Copyright March 2103. All Rights Reserved

Being Present

Photo -Jay & Sadie in sunlight

By Diana Wanamaker

In the busyness of the week, where it all about going and doing, I managed to capture a few moments of just being present. As I drove up to the barn, thru the crack in the barn door, I could see Jay and Sadie enjoying the morning sun and each other’s company. For just a short time I was able to take in the pleasure of seeing them just being in their own world. Untouched. Perfectly as is.

Copyright 2015. All Rights Reserved

The Love Story, Con’t.

Jay grazing with herd

By Diana Wanamaker

More on the Jay & Meisha Love Story……….
Was at the barn today picking up manure in one of the big pastures. It was only Jay out there. The herd had moved to the other side of the barn in the much larger pasture. Jay’s mare, Meisha had become separated from Jay and had started calling to him. She was unable to see him in the pasture, her view was blocked by one of the run-in sheds. She cried and cried for him. I was finishing up my manure clean up.  The barn was quite a distance to walk to, from where I was. I decided to wait till I was done with clean up, to help Meisha, if she hadn’t found Jay by then. Jay was near me, near the herd.
I said, “Jay, answer her!”. HIs head would come up, but he continued on his grazing with little concern. She started to become frantic and I could hear she had moved to the other side of the barn, still crying and looking for Jay. I came in from the pasture (clean-up done!) and started looking for Meisha, so I could take her out to Jay. Couldn’t find her.
I looked out to the much larger pasture, at the herd, from a distance. I spotted Meisha! She had gone out to the the herd to seek out Jay and had not found him. She had started to walk back to the barn, her head was hung low and she looked exasparated.
I called to her, her head came up, and she started trotting towards me. She knew that where I was, Jay was not far to be found. Her trot became a canter and she quickly made it back to the barn(and for Meisha whose balance is not 100%, that was quite a feat).
She continued to cry to Jay, looking around, ‘where is he?”, “where is he?”. All the goats following in her footsteps. I walked out to the pasture and she followed me, she spotted Jay. Had one last cry to him, Jay raised his head, and within moments all was well in Meisha’s world again.
I left with a smile on my face, seeing Jay & Meisha quietly grazing with the goats near by, peacefully enjoying their own family.
I have fallen in love with this sweet mare, Meisha and find humor in the goats and their devotion to Meisha! Each day I am fascinated & moved by this family Jay has acquired at this new farm.

Copyright October 2013. All Rights Reserved


A Love Story

Jay with meisha 8-9-13

By Diana Wanamaker

I had recently moved my gelding Jay to a new farm that was filled with rescue horses. A large farm with over 21 horses and ponies combined, on 80 some acres. Having Jay in a large herd was his first time, and I was excited that he would be surrounded with so many horses, like horses are built to do. He was slowly introduced to the herd and finally released amongst all the horses and ponies. Days and weeks went by and he did not adjust well to being around such a large herd of horses. I would often find him a distance from the herd, in a separate pasture, or trying to join the pony herd. He was not fitting in too well and his stress was increasingly noticeable.
Left with no other options, we decided to introduce Jay to Meisha. Meisha was a sweet, senior, Arab mare that was kept in a small barn and pasture, with her goat companions. They followed her around like she was their mother. She had a neurological issue that would cause her to just fall to the ground, unexpectedly, and then would be unable to get herself up. It was due to her condition, that she was not let out in the pasture with the rest of the herd.
So, my sweet boy Jay and sweet, gentle Meisha were introduced. It was love at first sight. Each of them finding a place where they fit in, with each other. Together they formed their own herd, and together they would graze in unity, in eyesight of the larger herd. They found a place in their world, where they belonged, despite their handicaps and differences that made them slightly unusual from the crowd.

So began the love story of a 43 yr. old Arab mare and Jay, a sweet TH gelding.
She is so ecstatic to have Jay as a buddy, you will see her sometimes cantering in the field, to keep up with Jay, as if she is a young filly again!  Inseperable, they found unity from a world they were divided from.  Where Meisha was, Jay was. Where they were, the goats were close by. Together they formed their own world of togetherness and all was well.
Then, one day, Meisha and Jay were grazing on a hill, in the apple orchard. She had toppled over, underneath the apple trees and couldn’t get back up. There were people on the farm that would come out periodically to check on her, but sometimes it could take up to an hour before she was discovered.  Meisha layed on the hill waiting for help. Who do you think stayed by her side the entire time till help could come?  Jay.  Never leaving her side, till the farm owner found her and got her back up. Just like I knew he would.

Copyright August 2013. All Rights Reserved