A writer and a rider walk into a bar...
...turns out they're the same person!
My name is Mary Kate Allen, and I've been infatuated with horses since I could walk. My parents aren't sure where I got the horse bug from, but they thought I would grow out of it. Allow me to take a moment to reveal that I'm now in my 30s, married, with children...and obviously still love horses.
I begged my parents for years to buy a horse, to take me to any shows just so I could watch and walk the barns, to let me take lessons...you get the idea.
One day, they introduced me to a beautiful chestnut mare with a pretty flaxen mane and tail (meaning they were a light blond color compared to the reddish brown of her coat). That mare was registered as So Exquisite in the Half Arabian Horse Association. She had four stockings (white that comes up to the knees) and a beautiful blaze (white on her face) on her slightly dished face. Sofie, as I would come to call her, was the horse I was going to learn to ride on. She would go on to teach me so much more.
After about a month of lessons, Sofie's owner told me the news that Sofie was being sold. I was devastated until I found out my parents purchased her. For the next few weeks, I worked with my father and brother to put up a fence in our pasture just outside my window. It was a dream come true.
I didn't know that my father spent part of a night finishing out the gate while I was at soccer practice. I was surprised with Sofie arriving on a trailer while I was getting ready for cheerleading practice. My first memory of her at my house is getting her off the trailer and walking the perimeter of the fence.
Sofie wasn't just a pet or a horse. A lot of people say that their dogs or cats are part of their family; she was no different. People would walk by her pasture just to say hello to her. Cars would slow down, and you'd find children with their noses pressed against the windows to catch a glimpse of her. She was there for me during the best and worst of times -- breakups, college acceptance, engagement, infertility treatments, and so much more. There are a few pictures of her included in this blog. Hopefully you appreciate them as much as I do.
Sofie was family. Notice that I'm using past tense when I refer to her.
I owned her for the last 16 years of her life. Three years ago, I got a call saying she had colicked and had a bad heart murmur. The vet advised letting her go. I didn't get to say goodbye to her in person. The incredible mare is buried under a Magnolia tree on my parents' property, along with all of our other family pets.
This past summer, I got a call from Sofie's sire's owner. She has a paternal half sister to my beloved mare, who is a full blooded Arabian, and she's offered to breed the mare to let me have the foal. If that mare doesn't work, she also has a mare sired by Sofie's paternal half brother that I can use.
It's not Sofie, but this exciting new chapter deserves a little something. I hope this blog serves as a way for everyone -- from young girls to experienced horse owners -- to come together in one place to enjoy the beauty and companionship that comes with a love of horses. Topics will range from horse care to horse news to horse style. I'll even keep readers updated on my progress as I raise and train my own horse from conception to foalhood to adulthood, sharing my triumphs as well as my lessons learned.
After all, it takes a village.