Featured Canvas is “Psalm 24” by Diane Ulmer Pedersen, #DP-LS18A, 11×18 on 18m
I can’t believe I haven’t posted since last July! Ugh! Anyway, back then, I promised to tell you about our horse, Dandy:
I was THE original horse crazy girl. When I started my needlepoint design line, I started saving for a horse with my paid invoice. My goal was always to buy myself that childhood dream; however, Painted Pony Designs got so busy, so fast, that my dream was derailed by ten years. In that time, our daughter, Christina, was born.
Christina was also horse-crazy since she first noticed the big equestrian print that hangs over our piano. John used to carry her over to the painting when she was a baby, and they would talk about the horses and the dogs and make up stories about what was happening in the picture. The painting was an important part of her formative years. Soon, she was collecting stuffed horses and horse figurines and horse coloring books. Like all helicopter moms who project their childhood wishes and desires onto their kids, I put her in riding lessons at age five, and, by second grade, we were leasing horses for her to ride in-between lessons. As time passed, I came up with a second plan: buy that kid the horse I had always longed for! (you can hear those helicopter blades just twirling around in my head!)
When Christina was nine, we leased a four-year-old quarter horse through the barn she was riding at. He had been trained in Western (we live in Texas, so duh), but had thrown his 12-year old owner, who refused to climb back up in the saddle. His parents needed someone to ride the horse, so, with their blessing to re-train him in English, we took him on a six-month lease. His name was Dandi Enterprise, aka, Dandy, and Christina fell in love. In the late fall, the little boy decided riding wasn’t his thing, and his parents asked me if we would like to buy him. I will never forget driving back from the barn, after delivering the check to the previous owners: I cried the whole way home! I mean, like sobbing. It’s a rare gift to see a life-long fantasy come to fruition!
Because we bought Dandy a month out from Christmas, John and I decided he was going to be Christina’s Christmas gift. In order for her to not find out, we told no one. NO ONE! We had to start buying all the tack and equipment, but to keep the secret going, we would tell her that the “nice owners” thought he needed a new saddle one week and a bridle the next, so she never questioned the new equipment showing up in the tack room in his locker.
When we got into mid-December, I told her that the owners didn’t want to lease him anymore. Get it? We, the owners (unbeknownst to her) weren’t going to lease our own horse to ourselves. Leaving the barn each day, she would cry about how unfair life was and I would just smile all the way home. LOL – I AM an Evil Mom! Reveal day was going to be great!
Christmas day finally arrived, with “one week left on the lease”. Of course, that morning all she had on her mind was what Santa brought, with no clue of what Mom & Dad were giving her (Sorry, Santa, you weren’t getting credit for this big a purchase!)
She got all the usual 10-year girl stuff, along with a tack box full of everything you need for a horse. She pulled out each item and told us which each item was for. We suggested that Santa must of thought she could use her own grooming supplies since she was a horseback rider. She bought the story, because, it’s not like we would to lie to her. Ha! That’s when I “noticed”, just like on every cold morning of that winter, she forgot to put on socks. I scolded her about wearing socks and she dashed off to her room to don a pair. I knew she would come straight back to the tack box to admire her cache’ of brushes and hoof pics. What she didn’t know is that I had slipped a little necklace-sized box into the tack box. (Side story: at the barn, each horse gets a name plate with his and the owner’s name and nickname on it. It was always exciting when a new horse came in or changed owners, because a new plate would go up on it’s stall door.) She picked up the box, and on the video you can see her look all confused and say, “that wasn’t there before”. We say “Really? I wonder what it is!) She opens the box, starts to look at the name plate, and then falls to a crying heap on the floor. Complete break down! And, you can hear my mom keep saying “you bought her a horse?”, “you bought her a horse!” (no one knew!). The name plate read:
owner: Christina Woodard
She had to suffer through my brother and sister and their families arriving for presents and Christmas dinner before we packed up the cars and headed to the barn. And, there he was, wearing a big red Christmas bow that the barn manager had tied to his halter. Of course it was raining, so no victory ride, just petting, for that day. Christina put the tack box in the tack room, the name plate on his stall door, and ended up with the the most magical Christmas Day a little girl could have.
Eighteen years later, Dandy now lives a fat and care-free life in the paddock behind our home. His only job is to be the mascot and inspiration for Painted Pony Designs. And, to still be loved by his little girl.