Quarter Horse

Approximately 23 years old

My journey to Johnny and our destiny:

When I was young, around 10-11 years old, my father, one of my sisters and myself were all horse riders. We had 2-3 horses at a time. We kept our horses at the stable across the street from our house. Back in that day, stables were in the middle of neighborhoods. I started to show in English pleasure classes. I won a few rosette ribbons and I won that love for horses as well. A few years passed and my parents got a divorce. When that happened, there went the shows and the riding, but mostly, there went the horses. I went on in my life and found other pleasures along the way. I started sports and made lots of friends. I still knew in the back of my mind that one day I would have a horse again.

Once I hit my late 20's, I got married. We used to talk about our future and in most of the conversations I said that I wanted a house with some land so I could have a horse. So that was the goal. A few years later, here came my son. The greatest joy in my life. All I could think of and all I wanted to do was be with my son. Still had those dreams about horses, but I figured that the dream was going to be put on hold yet again. At 8 years down the road, we finally made the decision to move to the country. I was so happy. I knew that I would get my horse. My brother lives next door to us and when we moved in he had 3 horses. Wow. Was I happy. I had a horse to ride, my son had a horse to ride, half of my dream was met! I was that much closer to my goal. As time went on, my brother and sister-in-law had to make some harsh decisions and had to let 2 of their 3 horses go. That was so hard on us all. So then we had Cody there. Boy, was he spoiled. My son and I rode him as often as we could, but there was still something missing. Cody wasn't mine. I still had that longing for my own horse.

My husband and I had been out in the country for about a year when we made the decision to get our, or my, own horse. We looked and looked. We answered ads, made calls, etc. Nothing popped out at us. When we were at a playday I saw this beautiful grey gelding. That was it. I was in love...just by sight. My husband and I bought the horse and once we got him home we realized he was not the horse we saw that day. He was not the horse we "test drove." We figured out when we had been snowed. How stupid did I feel. The first horse that would be my very own first horse turned out to be a dangerous and very unpredictable horse. I could not control him or ride him and I certainly was not going to put an 8 year old on him. My son was taking riding lessons at a stable and the stable owner decided he would trade me one of his schooling horses for this fast, dangerous, uncontrollable horse. He said he would trade us for Johnny. Boy, did me and my husband jump on that. Johnny was a schooling horse that my son had been riding for almost 2 years now. We were in love with Johnny but we figured we would never be able to buy him. After all, he was the stable owner's meal ticket. He was a well behaved, honorable horse. He was kind and considerate of everyone. He was so popular at the stable. Everyone knew Johnny. He was a rock star!

We took our grey, over-the-top horse and traded him for Johnny. That evening we brought Johnny home. We did not have our own barn yet, so he bunked down at my brother's barn with Cody, his new friend. They hit it off right away. They both got along so well. There was no biting, kicking or fighting between the two of them. I tell you, Johnny was popular. Cody accepted him right off without a fight and right then I knew, Johnny is home for good. I went to Johnny that evening and made a promise to him. I promised him he would be here, with us, in this pasture 'til the day he dies. I kept that promise.

After a while, we built our own barn, which was right next door, and moved Johnny over to his final, last home that he would know. He was the king and master of his very own pasture and I was the queen and proud momma of my very own horse! What a great deal for the both of us. I was in love. Every morning I could not wait to get up and feed and when I got home from work, there I was with the brush and bucket. I could not wait to just pamper him. I kept him slick and fancy. (At the stable he was always so dirty. You know cowboys, they don't brush their horses). I could not wait to brush out his beautiful long tail and his awesome long mane. He had a great tail! I would braid his tail, braid his mane, whatever, whenever. Boy, did he love it too. I don't think he really knew what it meant to be pampered.

Johnny was so gentle with my son, with me and with anyone who rode him. My husband, who swore he would never ride a horse, rode Johnny. That is how mesmerizing he was. He could pull you in and take care of you. We also got him a little friend, a mini, named Tiffany.

We had a couple of little trail rides planned. We did a couple of trips to the rodeo and gave pony rides. We practiced a few times with the drill team. We just had fun. He was the ultimate dream horse. Not only was he gorgeous in sight, but he was respectful, kind and willing. You could walk up to him, with no tricks, and catch him. He could load himself in the trailer with the lead rope over his back. You did not have to tie him to groom him or tack him up. You did not have to tie him to get a bath or a visit at the vet's office. My farrier already knew Johnny. He had been the same farrier at the stables. He adored Johnny as well. You didn't even have to tie Johnny to do his feet. He knew you. He knew you were a person and he did not want to hurt you. He was trusting.

My dream and dream horse was going so good. We had a couple of ups and downs along the way with some health issues, but nothing serious and everything was fixable. We took care of everything. I never thought things would go so bad. I knew he would not be with me too long. He was quite up there in age already. When he finally came home, he was already in his early 20's. I used to tell myself that he could live to be 30. I knew so many people who had horses in their late 20's and into the 30's. I knew in my heart he would be with us for a long while. I was wrong.

Johnny started showing signs of wanting to slow down. After he had his muscle procedure done, I decided I would retire Johnny all together. I didn't care if I ever rode him again. Just the few times we did some great rides was just enough for me. He satisfied every dream I had ever had. This was my pinnacle. I had my horse and I had my dream. Johnny gave those things to me. I figured I owed him my promise. He would live here forever until he died.....then I added that he would live here retired until he died. I promised he could roam our property at liberty and just bask in the sun. Every day and every night I would look for him, visit with him, hang with him, groom him or whatever he felt like doing. I let him make the choice. Usually it was pretty much wherever I was. I just loved to look outside at night and see him laying down in the middle of the pasture with his little buddy, Tiffany. They would have their mid-day meeting down at the fence under the tree with Cody and the goat who lived next door. It was so funny, he had his own little daily routine. He was like clockwork. Morning at the back door with nickers and neighs, breakfast time. Afternoon doze under the trees in the pasture with the fence line friends. Evening nap in the pasture. It was wonderful. Something I looked forward to day after day.

Now my morning is saddened. I miss his nickers and his neighs. I miss seeing him mid-day down at the fence with his friends under the tree. In the evening I pray I can catch some glimpse of him somehow. My back door is not the same. It is hard to exit there in the morning. The trees in the pasture by the fence seem so sad and empty. The pasture at night is quiet and blank. My dream is gone. My heart is weak. My mind is saddened. My soul is empty. I miss you, my boy.

Johnny, I found you in March of 2007 and I lost you on October 4, 2008. Not enough time to be together in my book. I thank you for all that you gave me. For the realization of my dream. For the love in my heart. For the quiet strength you gave me. You helped me be a better person with an open heart. You taught me to enjoy each day and to be grateful for all of its pleasures it gave me. I slept in comfort and peace knowing you were just right outside my window. When I was on my way home from work, I could not wait to see you there at the gate waiting for me. You would always welcome me and come to my car window. I would beep my car horn and there you would look up to find me. I miss you. I love you. You will forever be in my heart. You will always be my dream come true. We all love you, Johnny. We all miss you. Tiffany misses you. We all wish you happiness and love wherever you are. You are no longer in pain and that is comforting.

Johnny thank you for making this girl's childhood dream come true. You were everything I ever could have hoped for and then some. I will be seeing you.....

Your Mom,

Johnny, these were my very first feelings and thoughts right after you were gone:

Johnny, my boy. I lost you on October 4, 2008. I miss you. I miss your nickers. I miss your kisses. I miss your face. I miss brushing you, grooming you, talking to you, hanging out with you, seeing you, being with you. I don't know if I can get over this pain.

You are my love, my life. Everything I ever wanted in a horse, in a friend, in a companion I had in you. It's not fair. I want you back. I need you here. I wish I could see you one more time. I can't live without you.

I know that you are in heaven. You are free. You are endlessly grazing. You are endlessly happy. Please wait for me in heaven. We can run on the clouds together. We can ride free in the sky together.

Johnny's Support Group Honoree page.

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