My journey to Johnny and
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.....
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
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.