Who “owns” anything?
During a recent text
conversation with my niece, Michele Brenner, she mentioned she is enjoying
reading about her favorite horse, Tony, in my book “Journeys: Finding Joy on
Horseback.” Tony accompanied me and my Appaloosa mare, Jubilee, on our 30-day,
1973 ride, as well as our nine-day 1983 ride.
I had to laugh
when I read this:
“Oh yes, Tony was
my favorite! I used to pretend he was my horse and you were just taking care of
I answered, “In
truth, Tony did belong to all those who loved him so much!”
Of all the many,
many horses who have lived with me over the past 68 years, Tony is a standout. We purchased
Tony when he was about 10 years old for my son Chris as a 4-H mount. The
sellers hinted that he may have had some respiratory issues and that he would
do best kept outside. Fortunately, whatever they had experienced never once
cropped up during the next 16 years Tony lived with me.
interest in four-hooved transportation when he discovered motorbikes and Tony
segued to his next career as a lesson horse and ultimate guest horse. These
roles were tail0r-made for the kind and forgiving bay quarter horse. It would
take many fingers and toes to count all the people who rode Tony during his
lifetime. Big people, little people, clumsy people, adept people—he graciously
handled them all.
In my book I write
about an incident in which I was teaching a young girl who had long blonde hair
how to ride bareback on Tony. At a walk, she slipped off him, landing on her
back. Tony stopped so abruptly when he felt the child begin to fall that one
hoof landed on a long strand of her hair. He stood like a statue until I lifted
his hoof and the crying youngster started laughing.
|Michele Brenner holds Tony while her cousin Tracy climbs aboard (1970s).
That was the Tony Michele and dozens of others “owned.” He enriched so many lives!
After his second
long ride with Jubilee and me, Tony had a year of retirement before going on to
eternal green pastures. The retirement party, held in our front yard, was
attended by a large group of his former “owners”/riders/admirers. Tony got the
biggest piece of the carrot cake and obligingly sipped champagne from a plastic
|From left, Tracy, and sisters Rhonda and Michele groom Tony. (1970s)