Friday, January 15, 2016


Dolly was just what the doctor ordered but she wasn't a pill, a new fitness routine, a gym membership or even a great surgeon.  Instead, she was four-legged, beautiful, stubborn, dark bay and I loved every inch of her.  She was an OTTB (an off the track thoroughbred), a race horse who was no longer.  Discarded, used up, retired too early, well, maybe all of those things too, but she became a savior for me, the impetus for a major change in my life and best of all, my re-entry into the horse world.  My bank account has never recovered.

The re-entry of horses into my life happened for a reason and I had become what I had dreaded the most - a boring, workaholic, Washington working woman who had no life outside of work.  The perks were great, my grocery bill was zero due to my expense account, but life had become routine, dull, and a major illness caught my attention.  Not to bore you with the details, I finally realized that I needed a major change and Dolly was it.

My trainer at the time found her for me and we were not well-matched, but at the time it mattered little and the relationship bloomed for better or for worse.  It was worse more often than better. But Dolly took my attention from work and I would wake at 5 am to make the 90 minute trek to the barn before work several days a week.  Weekends were spent in the country.  I couldn't get enough.  We went to some local shows, jumped small courses and won ribbons, and it was so much fun.  An entire world had been opened for me and suddenly I had a new batch of friends, none associated with my job. It was nirvana.  I had been bitten once again by the "horse bug" and in retrospect, it probably never went away when I walked away from horses after high school.  My passion had been hidden all those years.

Dolly was dogmatic.  She was not easy and it became apparent over time that she was not what the doctor had really ordered.  Our pinnacle was our trip to the Upperville Horse Show, something that I dreamed about when I was a little girl and while Dolly wasn't "Upperville material" we did manage to bring home a green ribbon that day (sixth place) a joy that I have never forgotten.  We found a great home for her in a girls' boarding school in Maryland where she lived out her days being doted on by loving co-eds who were as horse crazy as I was at that age.  She did well for herself in the end.

I think about Dolly often as she opened so many doors for me and I can truly say the few summers I had with her were some of the best of my life in many ways.  She gave me a lot and for that I am so grateful.  My next horse was a gelding, Al, and he was also a thoroughbred, but we were better suited.  But Dolly was the spark, the impetus for so much change in my life.  For that I will forever be grateful to her.


  1. I can't tell you how much I love this story. I yearn for my own Dolly... So gald she got you back in the saddle!

  2. This is such a beautiful post! I didn't start riding until after I graduated from college, and the first horse I really had a bond/relationship with was an obstinate Lippits Morgan mare. She was difficult and unpredictable and I loved her to death. Not a bad way to measure your life though huh, in horses rather than years :)

  3. Al was what I wanted to call my first horse. His show name became Available Light so Al made sense... but his call name that he came with, Yo, really and truly was 'him' and stuck.
    Now we have Melvin, an 18 year old OTTB, who I am calling Melly-belly for now. :D
    After Yo I thought I would never ever do this again. Certainly never another old horse... LOL... we know what happens when we make plans....


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