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Whinny Whispers
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TAMI'S STORY ABOUT SMOKEY

I got Smokey for my twelfth birthday. I was at Hilltop Farm, sleeping peacefully, when my trainer woke me up around 3:00 in the morning and said a horse was cast in the barn. I hardly knew what that was, so I asked her why she didn't get someone up that knew more about horses. She just told me to follow her. So we went to the breeding barn, with me in my pajamas. I walked up to the stall and there was a dark bay horse with a white blaze on its face and a red ribbon tied around the rope halter. I must admit he wasn't very attractive looking, but I wasn't very awake either.

The next day I woke up and thought it had to have been a dream. It wasn't. I may not have looked very happy early that morning, but I'm sure I was glowing the next day. I realized I fell in love the moment I saw him. I couldn't ride him because it had been a long trip for him from Montana.

The next few days, we spent lots of time getting to know each other. I was very happy. Over the months at Hilltop, we bonded and nothing could ever take the friendship away.

Before the next summer, he was going really well. I went to a camp to learn French and I received a letter from my parents saying that Smokey had gotten sick but he was doing a lot better. I was relieved about this information. However, when I stepped off the airplane and asked my parents how he was doing, my mom burst into tears and the worst came to my mind. She said he had gotten sick again and had to have emergency surgery. I was very upset and reacted the same as my mom. I don't think I talked to my parents the rest of the way home. In a way I blamed my mom because I felt she didn't take care of him. Now that I look back, I know it really wasn't her fault at all. Anyways, the moment I got home, I walked out to his stall. Smokey had lost a lot of weight. He had about 20 staples in his stomach and couldn't be ridden for at least six months. He had to be in his stall for three months, then he could go out in a very small paddock, and after that he could go out in a bigger paddock. While being stalled, he had to be hand walked three times a day. It was very depressing. His attitude got very hyper and he was very curious about everything. Because of his health, I couldn't bring him to Hilltop with me, so I brought Suzzette. She needed the training, but I still lost a lot of time of training Smokey. I got back on him after about six months. One day, I decided to take him for a walk and he took off down the road and refused to stop. I didn't fall off but probably came close to it. The training went by slowly but all I wanted to do was trail ride and fool around. That's what I really liked to do. In fact, that's all I did for about two or more years. Everybody thought she is never going to grow up, but I knew inside that one day I would want to get serious. That is something only the inside of a person can know. I went to shows but without practice and still did great at them. There aren't many horses who will do that.

The next summer I left to go to Hilltop Farm again, not knowing the tragedy that lay ahead of me. It was after my birthday and my parents called and asked if Kathy (the camp counselor) was there with me. She wasn't, so they said they would call back after dinner. I was confused and began wondering why they couldn't talk to me without someone being there. Later, the phone rang as I walked in the door. It was them, calling to tell me my horse, Suzzette, had died a tragic death. I didn't ask how, I just started to cry and wondered why this had happened to me. I was very depressed and I wondered if Smokey could feel that something was wrong. To this day, I wonder if he knows what happened to her. I laid in my bed looking down onto the jumpfield thinking of all the great times we had together, jumping obstacles that were in our way out on a trail. I heard it was horrible how she died, and if I ever find out who did it, they better watch out!!!!

Smokey and I progressed throughout the years. I knew one day I was going to have to get a new horse, but I put the thought in the back of my mind. Now the time has come and I have to leave Smokey for another horse who is better, but I don't believe prettier. He, of course, has more talent. This coming weekend I leave Smokey at Hilltop. I am not selling him, but lending him to somebody that I know.

Smokey has taught me so much in the years that I have owned him. His nickname is "The Wonder Horse", he can do mostly anything you ask him as long as it is not past his ability. Even when it is, he will try his hardest.

Smokey and I definitely have a bond that not just any horse and his owner have. He is the one who made me want to keep riding. I love him so much. One day when I am in the Olympics, he, hopefully, will be there to thank. 

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