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February 18, 2016

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What Am I Doing Here Anyway?

February 25, 2016

In the midst of all the craziness in preparing my little grass roots group for its first public event, I had to pause.  What on Earth am I doing?  At moments (like now where I'm trying to come up with an interesting blog entry to keep up with a self-imposed schedule) I wonder why I'm pressuring myself in this manner.  Then it all comes back to me...

 

It was the Fall of 1999 when I first met him.  I reported to work at Camp Weona for a family weekend running trail rides.  My boss pointed out a horse, new and not a part of the herd we'd had all summer.  She told me she knew nothing about him, not even his name.  I saddled up that little bay and it didn't take long to recognize that special gait, and his tattooed lip confirmed it, Standardbred.  That little gelding hated the mud and so I started calling him Preppy.

 

Man, it was only a few short days, but I fell hard for him.  His face was already grey, back slightly swayed with a big belly, but that didn't matter.  He still loved to go!  He felt the same way.  I guess he must've known I was enamoured.  He would nudge me playfully while tied between rides.  I begged and pleaded with my dad, hard, to let me bring him home for the winter.  It didn't work, and we had to part ways.  I sat in the stall with him bawling before I went home.  He munched his hay, perked his ears and would sniff my face reassuringly, but I was devastated.  For the following summer, I made sure we requested Preppy as a part of our herd.  He was too good of a beginner horse for me to use for myself, but at least he was there with me.  And, yes, I made sure to get my way and took him home after the season ended that year.

 

My dad couldn't (and probably still cannot) fathom why I insisted on that little Standardbred.  His family grew up breeding and showing Appaloosas  We had a well-bred Appaloosa mare that I didn't really connect with that we ended up selling.  Then, the camp received a well-bred Appendix QH as a donation, which we were offered for free.  I wanted nothing to do with him.  I tried to buy Preppy, but his owner wouldn't sell him.  And, well, I graduated high school and moved on, losing track of my beloved gelding.

 

I never stopped thinking about him.  He engrained a love for the breed that has brought about all of this "nonsense."  So, here I am.  Someone who only just went to their first live harness race in 2015.  Someone who knows so little about the industry, but who loves the horses in it.  At times I feel less than qualified to be taking on the task of promoting them.  But I will let the passion continue to fuel the fire.  It's for Preppy, and for Law, Major and Ben, that I will continue to fight to make Standardbreds sought-after for careers outside of the racing industry.