My horse, Suzy, is my pride and joy! She is a Standardbred mare, pacing bred. A "pace", for those who do not know, is a 2-beat gait of a horse in which both feet on one side are lifted and put down together. This is in contrast to that of a trot, a 2-beat gait in which the horse lifts its legs up and down in diagonal pairs.
Standardbred horses were bred for harness racing. There are races at fairgrounds and parimutuel tracks for both trotters and pacers across the states. Suzy's registered name, and the one she was shown under, is Sycamores Lotus.
I first laid eyes on Suzy when she was a 2 yr. old filly. A new acquaintance needed help to worm her new horse, and Suzy was not being co-operative in the least! She was a beautiful thing, a sight to behold. She'd be hard to get off my mind, that is for sure. We got the paste wormer in her mouth, and all was well. It was not until 5 years later that I saw Suzy again.
"Standardbred For Sale" was the title of an ad I read while on break from my job at WalMart one fall evening. I finished reading the ad and recall thinking, "I bet that's SUZY!" I made the call, and sure enough, that is what the horse's name was! I made an appointment, and upon seeing her, bought her on the spot. Talk about something that is "meant to be".....
My DarkHorse and I have traveled many a mile - back and forth across state lines - to horse shows, trail rides, parades, and fairs in Illinois, Iowa, and Michigan. We were well published too, in newspapers, USTA (United States Trotting Assoc.) newsletters, and by our local press. Suzy carried me to many a blue ribbon in both riding and driving classes in "B" rated shows. I trained her up for harness racing once again; she was fast as ever and could have done well. But after finding that her age would land her in what was called "Claiming Stakes" (the winner might possibly "claim" her if she was one of the non-winning horses in the class), I decided I did not wish to take the risk. Suzy was the horse of a lifetime!The lead horse in the 2006 picture above is Suzy's daughter, Sycamore Breeze ("Breezy" for short), owned by a friend of mine. All decked out for the 2007 Memorial Day Parade above.
The 2008 Memorial Day Parade was especially memorable for me. My friend's father had recently found out he was in the beginning stages of Alzheimer's. He has always loved horses, and bought a couple for his children when they were small. But he had never ridden in a horse cart, never been in a parade! With no hesitation on his part when asked, Mr. Wonderful helped load my Meadowbrook Cart onto the back of a pickup truck. We brought it to the parade staging area along with Suzy, to make a longtime dream come true for a wonderful gentleman. I brought candy for him to toss to the children, and we had a fabulous day. Often times in doing things for others we reap a surprising reward.I don't know if he will remember this experience as time rolls on, but his daughter will, as will I. We have our pictures, fond memories, and the special feelings that come with doing for others. Horses can live to the ripe old age of 30 or more, depending on their care. We have many roads left to travel, as Suzy is now 23 years young. I have dreams yet to fulfill; there are more parades to enter, more trails to mosey down, more camping trips to make with my special mare along side. Suzy is what dreams are made of; the Horse of a Lifetime!