When my brother was interested in getting a horse I had no problem jumping in and enabling him to become a fellow horse addict.. I immediately started searching for a horse he could reasonably afford. It didn’t take me long before I found an acquaintance at work that had a horse that would fit the bill.. This gal had a horse she could no longer afford and was willing to let her go at the rock bottom price of $300. We showed up the next day, horse trailer and all to look at the mare. Yup, a full bred Arabian, like he had growing up. She even looked a lot like his old horse Wild Fire. Only this horse was about 300 pounds under-weight and had a fungus that made all of her hair fall out from the knees down. I signaled for my brother to keep quiet about her “slight” issues and wrote out a check for her that my brother was to pay back later. On the way home I defended my choice. I knew this mare would not last much longer in a corral 12 inches deep in manure, and no way out of it, obviously the low mare on the totem pole, as the other horses were not nearly as thin. I had to save her life! She looked just like his old mare, and so it had to be fate. She needed us to save her.
So we brought her home and doctored her up, then fed her about half a bale of hay a day to fatten her up. We started riding her and were not too surprised by her fiery spirit. We both had a hard time keeping her at a walk on the trail. He immediately proclaimed her name to be Fire Ball. It was not too long before my brother decided he had better things to do, so I agreed to buy her back as a present to my daughter, Katie, for her 10th birthday. Of course, I would have to work her a bit, I thought, to make her a suitable mount for a ten year old.
Katie’s birthday was looming closer, and the mare just wasn’t gaining as much weight as I thought she should. [Especially on half a bale a day.] So on the advice of my ever so bright daughter; I took her to the vet.
At Doc Morgan’s I found out that the mare was very pregnant! On top of that, I ran into her previous owner. [The one before the person I bought her from.] She was aghast at the, much improved, mare I took to the vet that day. I had to assure her that I was feeding her what she needed, and that she was now being well taken care of. I guess they used to call her Angel, and she was pastured with their now deceased stallion that was an own son of Aladdin. [A well known stallion in the Arabian world.] I guess my daughter is going to get a bonus for her birthday! The vet had no idea how far along she was, anywhere between five months and eleven. So I followed Doc Morgan’s advice on feed and began my plan for surprising my daughter with an amazing gift.
I think that birthday went down in history as Katie’s best birthday ever! I gave her a purple boom box and two halters in a box, one big and one small. The minute Katie had seen the two halters her eyes lit up! She knew what it meant. Lightning AND her baby would be hers!
That afternoon we saddled up for a ride. I had put lightning on a lead and ponied her with my daughter on board up the trail. From the beginning of that ride Katie was begging me to take Lightning off the lead and let her ride her new horse without assistance. She finally wore me down and I reluctantly took the lead off her horse and gave her strict instructions not to go too far away or ahead of us, where I couldn’t help her if she needed it.
As we went I would look behind me to see how she was doing. She was falling behind so I would stop and wait. As soon as I did Katie would gallop up to me and reprehend me for stopping. She was holding her back on purpose, just so she could gallop her! So, slowly I would let Katie ride her the way she saw fit. Next thing you know she was leading the way going along the narrowest trails that made me nervous to ride on my green horse. I would have to stop her and make her go an easier route for me. I couldn’t believe how this horse was behaving so perfectly for my daughter! What a perfect match! Katie never did have one ounce of trouble with Lightning. She eventually took jumping lessons on her and won the first show in her division. It was incredible to watch those two together; it brought me to happy tears more than once. They were perfectly matched, and I hoped Lightning’s baby and her would have the same magic.
Stay tuned for the continuation of Lightning’s story.. Lightning part two; the birth of Autumn Star