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~~Last updated January 2007~~

Deanne's Horse Biography

Biography of a Horse Nut

My Crazy Pony-Boy

How is a horse-crazy person created? Are they unduly influenced by outside forces--Roy Rogers and Dale Evans?

Trigger--that flashy, fearless flying palomino--was my hero. Roy Rogers would have looked quite silly jumping from that second story balcony if Trigger was feeling fractious and sidestepped oh-so-slyly.

Or is a horse crazy person just born that way? I believe I was. I had a connection with horses from a couple of previous lifetimes as an Indian brave--excuse me, North American Native male. My pony and I were inseparable. My life depended on my connection and communication with my horse.

In this life, all I ever asked for at Christmas or for birthdays was a horse! Oh, I got the red wagon, I got the banana-seat stingray. I even played with Barbie dolls. Yet my favorite "toy" was my imaginary pony, "Spirit". Spirit and I would gallop around all day long, never tiring, always strong and fearless. Wild mane blowing in the wind; Spirit's golden locks would mingle with my own waist length golden hair. We were the closest of pals. Unfortunately, my parents worked in L.A. and we lived in a suburban tract house. It wasn't until they picked up and moved to Lake Tahoe that my dream of having a horse of my own was a glimmer of a possibility!

We moved to a house in the county, off Upper Apache, past Iroquois, on the corner of Chippewa. These Indian-named streets conjured up images of freedom; wild braves galloping through pine scented forests, bow and arrows slung across bronzed backs, on the hunt. How could my parents possibly say no to a horse now?

Well, the year finally came that they said yes! They actually couldn't stand my whimpering and whining any more! My mother and I built a "natural" corral out of existing Lodgepole pine rails (Indian!) woven in and out among the standing trees. Our entire corral had only one buried post at the gate. The gate itself was just one pole slid through the V notch of a conveniently placed tree. This corral was bombproof! I was finally ready for my first horse!

I had always dreamed of a golden palomino (like Trigger!) or a sorrel with flaxen mane and tail. I scoured the want ads every day, for a week! I came up with two mares to look at in our price range: $250. No, I'm not going to divulge what year it was...

We had to drive to Reno to meet the old rancher who was selling off his stock. Two horses were saddled and stood waiting at the rail. One was a quiet plain brown thing with a droopy lip; flies buzzed her eyes. My heart sank. The other, though, was a beautiful sorrel, albeit no flaxen mane. I asked shyly to try the red one. The old cow hand helped me into the saddle. The stirrups were a mile long, but no matter, I gripped in front of the girth with iron-willed, skinny, bare legs and pretended I was an Indian flying bareback across the open plains. It took all of ten minutes to fall in love with "Missy."

Money traded hands and home I went to await anxiously the delivery of my very own horse the following week. What a long week! My mother and I took the family station wagon to the only feed store around, in Carson City, and bought four bales of three wire alfalfa and a 50 lb. sack of oats. Those bales must have weighed 120 lbs. each! It took all afternoon to move them five feet from the station wagon to the storage area under the back porch! I was so happy, I didn't care! We stocked up on apples and carrots, too.

Looking back on that summer, I'm quite amazed that I didn't get seriously injured, or killed! My family knew nothing about horses other than riding at the stables. Missy was a mare (read: bitch!) that always got her own way. I couldn't afford a saddle, in fact I wanted to ride completely bareback like the Indians did. I didn't even have a bridle, but the rancher left me Missy's split-ear bridle with curb bit and 10 foot long split reins. Boy, how I loved those reins!

When Missy came to us, she seemed head-shy. I tried to put the bit up to her mouth and slip the headstall over her ears, but she tossed her head and sent me flying backwards into the dust. Then, I resorted to her halter only. I led her out of the corral and climbed up on the lodgepole fence. Just as I was aiming to swing my leg over her back--just like Trigger--she sidestepped oh-so-slyly. Instead of landing on my rear in a poof of dust, I desperately leapt into thin air and landed upon her bare back, grabbed a fistful of mane, and dug my heels into her sides. We were flying! Well, trotting madly down the gravel drive. Missy was determined to bounce me off or scramble my brains, whichever was quicker! But I didn't care; I was in heaven!

Missy really was a difficult horse and selling her to an unsuspecting teen was criminal. The rancher told us she was nine, but she could have been nineteen. She came to us shod, but after endless miles, one back shoe came loose and we had to call a farrier. This is when we found out she didn't like to have her back feet picked up. Nope, I never knew that I should have been picking out her feet every day. I just got on and rode! After a terrific scene the farrier finally hog-tied her, threw her down, and managed to rip off her other rear shoe. That's all he could do and I was left with a shoeless horse. But what did that matter? We were off and flying again!

Missy and I spent every day of that glorious summer together. We wandered through the woods, galloped wildly down old logging roads, trotted to the country store for snacks, played by the river and grazed on grasses four feet tall (Missy, not me).

We were only together that one wonderful summer, but I'll remember her forever. Missy came to me at a time in my life that made a lasting impression. Even though I wouldn't get to own another horse until thirty-something, I carried that feeling of a wild gallop: hair flying, hooves flying, dirt clods flying, tears streaming down my face; forever in my heart.

Thank you, Missy.

UPDATE: My current boys are Gabe and Bandit. I brought Gabe (dba: 4/4/1981) home in June of 1991. He has been my constant companion for 18 years. He and I have travelled all over the Sierra and if it weren't for him, you wouldn't be reading this site!

On October 1, 2006, I brought Bandit home to meed Gabe. Bandit (5/21/2001) is half Arab, half Paint/Saddlebred. He's my next endurance pony! His nickname is "Pretty Boy" because of his beautiful markings. He is a challenge to ride!

Here's a picture of Bandit and me in Indian Valley, July, 2007.

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Created by: Deanne Del Vecchio, of Tahoe Design
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Site Originally Created October 24, 1996. 

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