Monday, January 12, 2009

It Seems Like Yesterday

Today is the 1-year anniversary of the first time I met Tonka (then Kelly). I clearly remember listening to this horrific story on the radio as I drove out to the barn. David had given me $300 for riding lessons on my birthday, but after falling in love with a picture of Tonka online I decided that it would be better spent on a 1-month trial lease*.

When I arrived Tonka was in a panic because Star (his companion of the previous seven years) was screaming for him from the pasture. He had ditched his handler after being tacked up, and he made a break through the barn where he got trapped by the sliding door at the far end. It is only time I have seen him truly undone by a situation. When they caught him I asked the girls in the barn to untack him -- I had no intention of taking a first ride on a horse in that state of distress. Instead I took him out in-hand and quickly learned that he had impeccable ground manners, even through fear. He turned gingerly on the forehand and the quarters in both directions. He reversed for 20 steps with agility and attention. No one knew that he had been a race horse, but I now assume this level of cooperation came from his early training. I fell for him completely on that first day and the founder diagnoses three weeks later was just a bump along the road of inevitability.

In the meantime my friend Sheena was having her dog Briggs laid to rest after a long, hard battle. January 12th 2008 was a sad day in many ways, but it was also the start of my life's longest dream coming true.

*In case it's not clear to FFF readers, David is my very best friend, my partner and my lover -- not always the easiest role to play in the life of a woman who is independent to a fault. The indirect conversion of a $300 cheque into a 1200 lb horse was something that he accepted with more humour and grace than I deserved. I do promise that this year's cheque will be spent on nothing more than vet bills.


dt said...


"schemeni" - a nasty sort of person who carefully plans their nastiness.

Anonymous said...

Happy Anniversary! I have learned so much from your blog. I admire your research and thought process through the ups and downs of loving and caring for all the residents of farcical farm. With all your thoughtfulness I am amazed with what you have experienced this last year -- at the top of the list would be the Raven/blanket/trough incident. Wishing you all the best!

Anonymous said...

Happy Anniversary!

mencar-hotrod, preferably red or some other garish color. Prominant feature includes "going really fast" and being "sausage transport only".

Anonymous said...

Just for fun, the next word was:

evows- electronic wedding vows. Now you no longer need to be on the same continent to get married!

Grey Horse Matters said...

Happy Anniversary on your first year together. He seems like a real sweetheart.I'm glad you found each other. Greys are my favorite as you might have guessed and he is a beauty.

The Border Collies said...

If Tonka is to you half of what Briggs was to me, then he is a gift. Probably from Briggs - he liked you just fine, and he never tried to kill a horse that I recall ;-) Happy anniversary!

I'm still totally off ponies though.

Funder said...

Happy Tonka-versary! I didn't realize you changed his call name - what's the story behind Kelly-to-Tonka?

He's a big lucky galoot, and you're a lucky lady. May you have many more anniversaries together!

aussuad - The Aussie classifieds, all Aussies all the time!

Black Jack's Carol said...

Learning about you and Tonka, after coming across your blog through Sheena's, has been an enlightening and heartening experience. Anonymous said it well in noting the "research and thought process through the ups and downs of caring for all the residents of Farcical Farm" and I would add that the themes of humor, honesty and love for your crew have run strong through that investigative journey. Thank you, Sarah. I hope you will continue to share your observations and reflections with us, your reader friends, for a long time to come.

jme said...

happy anniversary! i am so happy that tonka has found a home with you. he's adorable and clearly a very special horse, and i hope you have many, many more wonderful years together :-)

dp said...

Thanks, everyone.

Funder: there is no great story. I know Kelly swings both ways as names go, but he is such a honkin' big galoot that I couldn't make it work in my head. Thus he is Tonka.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

What a great, although bittersweet, recap of this past year and beginnings with Tonka.

Thanks for sharing. :)

~aka Rapunzle

allhorsestuff said...

That word veri description..IS my current stable situation!

Very happiest Of days of Tonka's second year close to you DP! I love the pic's of you and Tonka. Truley a woman smitten!
David sounds dreamy. So nice to have such great men huh!