1987 - 2004

From the moment we locked eyes over the bars of the holding pen, we knew we were meant for each other. The little sorrel horse with the large white blaze pricked her ears toward me before our eyes met, and those ears followed my movement around the barn until we stood face to face. I extended my hand for her to sniff, and she let me touch her soft nose. A wild mustang had captured my soul.

Once I took her home, I worked with her every day. The training went well - so well that we were able to saddle her and ride her after only a month. She never balked, never bucked, never made any attempt to hurt anyone. Soon I was able to move her to a different barn, where the horses were turned out to a huge pasture every day and allowed to run from morning until night.

We were inseparable, Brandy and I, and there wasn't a day that I wasn't with her. We took walks in the orchard across the street, both of us on foot, with me holding her lead line and she walking along by my shoulder. Eventually I realized I didn't need the lead line. She followed me everywhere. At night, we'd walk way out to the back pasture, and Brandy would play a little game, where she'd tear off in the dark, and I could hear her hooves pounding on the dirt. She'd stop and wait, and then she'd whinny for me. I'd call her and the hoofbeats would pound back to me, with Brandy stopping on a dime right in front of me.

After several years and many calamities due to bad barn owners, we got our own place in 1995. Brandy was finally home. I rode her twice at our new place, but it was more fun to let her be just a friend, and let her have the run of the huge pasture and relax and play as she saw fit.

One day in the summer of 2004, I noticed she looked old. She seemed swaybacked, and she was losing weight. I upped her grain and she began to gain again. Things were getting better, and we'd have long talks in the barn, remembering how it was when we were younger. I apologized to her for not realizing she was aging, and promised to keep her healthy and fit for a lady her age.

On the morning of October 4, 2004, I went to the barn and found her standing in her stall, her last night's supper uneaten. Her head hung down and her ears were to the side, She was breathing heavily and her temperature was 104. Four different vets came and went, but none could figure out what was wrong. After giving her way too many antibiotics, and hand feeding her for the last two weeks of her life, I knew it was time for her to leave this earth. He eyes had lost their spark, she was in a different world already, and she seemed to have lost her mind.

On a foggy morning, October 26, I led her outside on her last walk, and with the help of my husband and a very caring veterinarian, we sent her off to greener pastures. During the entire month she was sick, she never once went down, though for the entire time I owned her she'd sleep lying down, to the point where I could go in her stall and sleep with her. Now she will sleep in peace.

Each summer I will cover her grave with colorful flowers, and I'll wait for the day when the two of us can take those walks again. 

Avis Townsend

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