Shelli Mader: Day brought home first horse was the ‘best day ever’
One of the great things about moving — maybe the only great thing about moving — is all the decluttering that goes along with it. My husband and I always pack and move ourselves, and by the time we are almost done loading things up, we are so tired of stuff that we get rid of boxes and boxes of things.
However, there are two big boxes that I’ve never gotten rid of.
They have made it through all six of our moves. They boxes are full of all my writing assignments from junior high and high school. I don’t really know why I’ve kept them, I’ve never looked inside, but I just haven’t been able to toss them.
Last week, I finally opened one of them up and was surprised to see a piece of yellowed notebook paper with a journal entry about my first horse. I’d forgotten a lot of the details and the excitement that went along with that day….
For some unknown reason I was born a horse crazy girl. I was the kind of girl who loved to wear horse shirts, get horse folders for school and paste horse posters all over my wall. I think I drove my parents a little crazy with my obsession. I didn’t have a horse, but I dreamed about it all the time.
On Saturday, Nov. 25, 1995, my parents, two brothers, sister and I headed to a livestock and consignment sale in Hudson, Colo. I was 13 at the time. My dad was looking at buying a livestock chute with a crowding alley and tub.
Before the sale started we looked at all the equipment, cattle and even the horses. There were a couple of pretty Palomino horses —my favorite. I especially enjoyed watching a girl ride the dark golden Palomino. He was responsive, fast and had kind-looking eyes. I was in love.
We left the horses and then waited to see the chute and alley sell. My dad didn’t wind up buying it, but he decided to stick around the sale and watch the cattle and horses sell.
The cattle sold first and then the horses. My favorite horse was one of the last horses to sell. I watched him in the arena and nearly cried when the auctioneer said he was sold for $975.
Then, in one of the biggest surprises in my life to date, I found out that my dad was the one who bought him. In the words of my old journal, I was “soooo happy”.
The only problem was that we didn’t have a way to get the horse home. My dad hadn’t brought a trailer with him.
Thankfully, one of my dad’s friends Dan was at the sale and he had brought a trailer. He told my dad that he would bring the horse home for us. But before he could haul him home, he would need my dad’s help loading up some things that he had bought.
My excitement about owning a horse quickly turned to frustration. My 13-year-old self never thought that the purchase loading would end. It took what seemed like forever.
Finally, at nearly 7 p.m. that Saturday night, Dan brought my new horse home. I did have to share the horse with my 3 siblings, but I decided that he was my horse and I would just let my brothers and sister borrow him occasionally.
My new Palomino was a registered Quarter Horse named Twelve Pack. Apparently his previous owner ran a liquor store and made drinking one of his hobbies. My parents didn’t think Twelve Pack was a great name for a kid’s horse so we decided to call him Dandy.
Dandy turned out to be an amazing horse for us all to learn to ride on.
Like my old journal entry says, “I don’t think you could ever ask for a better horse than Dandy. He’s well-mannered, has a big heart and will do whatever you ask of him. Nov. 25, 1995 was the best day ever.” ❖
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