Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Beginning

I've waited until now to start this blog because I haven't known where to begin. Grace has owned me for over 8 years now. There are so many stories to tell. I am in the process of writing a book about her, it's being told from her point of view. I guess I can use this blog to tell my side of the story. So lets start at the beginning......

I was boarding my Warmblood gelding "Bailey" at a Quarterhorse farm a few miles from my house. A very good friend of mine was helping me rehab him from a reoccurring lameness.
She and the owner of the place took a trip down to Oakdale, California to pick up 4 AQHA fillies. The plan was to train them and resell them to show on the AQHA circuit. It was fall of 1999 and the horse market was booming.

When the fillies arrived, they were surprisingly small. All 4 of them were different shades of bay and they were half wild. They were well bred, but the owner had fallen on hard times. The mares had been turned out in large field on a roping ranch. They were barely halter broke and they seem convinced that everyone that came near them had plans to throw a rope over them.

On the way up from California, they were named after the Spice Girls. As the story goes, it was 2am and the ladies that were hauling them kept referring to them as this bay one or that bay one. Grace's name for her first few years in Washington was "Baby Spice". I don't recommend that you bring it up in her presence!

I was cleaning stalls at the barn to pay for board on my gelding. I was working the night shift at a factory. I had been there for over 4 years and I hated it! My gelding who I thought was my forever horse kept bucking me off. Riding I thought, was the one thing in life I was good at and now I spent most of my time in the dirt. My favorite part of the day was going to the barn in the morning to clean stalls. I had to drag myself out of there to get to work on time. I had a really bad attitude from my job, that I had carried over into my marriage. I was in a very negative place most of the time. I felt like there was a black cloud that followed me everywhere (years later I now know I had created the black cloud).

One rainy morning I had my head down cleaning stalls, with a storm of negative thoughts going through my head. I entered Grace's over sized stall with the manure cart and pick fork, closing the door behind me. Her stall was trashed, she was a grinder who would step in her manure and grind it into the shavings. I would have to strip all the bedding out of her stall and replace it. Great, one more crappy thing to add to my day. I put my head down and got to work, ignoring the cute little mare in the corner. With each fork full of urine soaked shavings, I dove deeper into my angry thoughts. Why did I have such a crappy job? Why couldn't I just ride horses for a living? Why didn't I have all those things? Why did it have to rain here all the time? Why was I so mad all the time? Why me? Why dammit!

Suddenly I felt someone staring at me. I looked up from the brim of my hat and saw too big brown eyes staring back at me. Grace had walked right up to me. She was standing toe to toe with me and was looking right through me. She lowered her head and put her soft nose right on my chest. She exhaled and looked me right in the eye. As her warm breath washed over me all thoughts fled from my head. I felt the pressure in my chest release. I pressed my forehead against hers and just let go. For the first time in a very long time I was "in the moment". She didn't move, that half wild little mare just stood there and let me hold on for as long as I needed to. That was it, I was hers.


  1. Melissa, it sounds great so far! I cant wait to read more!

  2. M--
    I have tears in my eyes. I've never heard the story of how you met Gracie. Thanks for sharing "the moment". The first time I met Moonshot I'd swear there were bells ringing :) We had 29 wonderful years together; I wish you and Grace even more time to celebrate your connection.