Is there anyone reading this that didn’t grow up reading The Black Stallion book series? How about National Velvet? Well, like you, I grew up hanging onto every word that Alex spoke, living every adventure he and the Black took and jumping every jump with Velvet and the Pie. Is is any wonder that my dream horse was a big, black stallion? In those years, I didn’t know a thoroughbred from and Arabian or a quarter horse from a warmblood. All I knew was that when I got a horse, he would be black and beautiful.
I never lost sight of that dream. When I finally decided to buy my first horse, I combed all the websites and picked out all the horses within a certain mile radius..then promptly honed in on the black ones. Never mind that they were in the minority, or that they were gaited, or listed with a temperament of 8 on a 10 pt. scale. I had to check them out. Thanks to some very sound advice from my horse friends, I broadened my search and ended up looking at several non-black horses. That’s how I first met Timmy.
The Dreamhorse ad was for a 6 yr old bay horse named “Excalibur”. OK, so Camelot is one of my favorite stories–might as well check him out. His owner at the time was a lovely Irish gentleman named Denis (one “s”) who was the foreman at a large thoroughbred breeding operation and Timmy was his personal horse. His Irish brogue was enchanting and as he brought the horse out of its stall, I was face-to-face with a big warmblood/tb who had a crazy star that bled over one eye and he was—of all things–a redhead!
He wasn’t like a chestnut redhead, but more of a blood bay. Denis introduced Excalibur as “Timmy” and all I could think of was, how in the world did this big boy get such a sissy name!?! Somehow though, when Denis said “Get on with you now Timmy” in that Irish brogue, it all fit. Dreamhorse indeed. It didn’t take me long to realize that “Timmy” was the guy I wanted to spend my time with. No black stallion for me! A redhead!! Oh Lord!!!
I started to think that this was God’s way of getting back at me for those times as a child when I used to say things like “Better dead, than red on the head”. It was some kind of karmic plot to even the score on behalf of all the red haired people in the world. Well even it up it did…and then some. This redhead has taken my life by storm. He grabbed my heart and hasn’t let go.
So now, for the love of a redhead, I have endured the endless taunts of my friends for spoiling the heck out of him. I am the one who buys treats by the ton and has to endure the ceremonial “checking of the pockets” every time my horse gets his nose close to me. I may not buy myself a new coat, but Timmy has 18 blankets in different weights. I may not have a black horse, but black is Timmy’s “signature color”.
While everyone I know has pads and blankets that are pink, purple, zebra-striped and a myriad of other colors, Timmy’s pads are mostly black with his name embroidered on them. His polos are black…his ear nets are black..his boots are black. Doggonit, I am going to get a black horse one way or another. (As a sidenote, this could explain why I have 4 black cats at home).
For the love of a redhead, I have spent more money than I will ever save, making sure Timmy has the life I think he needs. Forget that he’s a horse. He is my son…the child I never had. He lives in a lovely boarding barn, run by the best barn owner ever. He has the end stall “with a view” and all the creature comforts. I don’t work him when it’s too hot. I don’t trailer him over 2 hours and his trailer has fans to ensure he is comfortable when he rides. He trains with a 4 Star eventer who he absolutely adores and has been known to take him out on hacks from time to time. Tack shops and catalogues are my drug of choice and I continually comb them to find things that Timmy doesn’t have. Sadly, there isn’t much I can find to buy these days.
MY NAME IS GERI HOLLANDER AND I AM A HORSE JUNKIE!
It’s true! I acknowledge my addiction but also realize there is no 12 step program I can get into to rid myself of it. My friends try to help, but they too, have realized it’s futile. It’s a blessing and a curse. But each day when I drive to the barn and see Timmy’s head hanging out of his stall window, I thank GOD (and Denis Byrne) for bringing Timmy to me. He may not be The Black or The Pie, but he is my slice of heaven! All for the love of a redhead….