It’s the Chinese New Year – the Year of the Horse. I was a horse-crazy kid and I still remember from 1950s TV that the Cisco Kid’s horse was Diablo, and Hopalong Cassidy rode Topper.
There were four horses in my life. The first came as the classic Christmas dream present. This was the Big Christmas in our lives. I was 9 years old. Mom wrote a verse on a card referring to the rabbits I was raising: “You have a doe, you wanted a buck, go outside and try your luck.” We went out before the sun was up (that was how we did Christmas morning – quite early). When I got to the rabbit cage, the door was open, the rabbit was gone. So we searched the area. I shone the flashlight on the ground and when I got the board fence, I just saw two front hoofs. I looked up and saw the most beautiful buckskin horse peering down at me. This is Buck.
In the 1970s I lived in Swaziland. My neighbors were the Williams of Nyanza Stables. Wandy from a very early age was a serious rider. They had a foal born that just wasn’t dressage material. They gave Fury to me. Fury was not an appropriate name – he was a sweet little horse. With a spine-jolting trot.
My other neighbor, Isa Dempsey, wanted us to buy another horse so we could ride together. She and I chose Harry, a beautiful chestnut gelding. We didn’t know that his full name was Harry Houdini – he could get out of most corrals! But he was a gutsy horse; he would try anything asked of him.
And my last horse was Sadat. He was raised by J.D. Glover in Watsonville. When J.D. returned to Louisiana, he left Sadat with me and I later bought this magnificent horse.
I will celebrate the Year of the Horse and remember how much pleasure I was given by these souls.