I’d al­ways looked for­ward to shop­ping for my first horse but my plans were ru­ined---in the best pos­si­ble way.

EQUUS - - EQUUS - By Pamela Reed

'race and grat­i­tude

Idon’t know what to say. These were the words I qui­etly said out loud to my beam­ing neigh­bors. But in­side my head, I was scream­ing with anger. How could they do this to me! I had waited my whole life to search for my dream horse and now that op­por­tu­nity had been taken from me.

Mean­while, the filly at the cen­ter of this scene stood qui­etly.

My hus­band and I had re­cently pur­chased our first farm. It had been aban­doned for two years and re­quired ren­o­va­tion from the ground up. The barn needed a new roof. The pas­ture was en­cir­cled with bro­ken posts linked by droop­ing barbed wire. The hay field hadn’t seen a crop in 20 years.

We tack­led each project in turn, and we told our new neigh­bors, Dee and Char­lie, that we planned on get­ting horses when the prop­erty was ready. All of this took time and money, but we wanted it all done right.

Fi­nally came the day when I walked out­side and stared at our com­pleted ren­o­va­tion, and a tear lit­er­ally rolled down my cheek. This was the day I had been wait­ing for since I was a 5year-old girl: I was fi­nally go­ing to get to go horse shop­ping. I couldn’t wait to go from farm to farm, search­ing for the one per­fect filly who would be my soul­mate.

My 55th birth­day dawned with the sun shin­ing brightly. Then a pickup truck turned into our drive­way with a horse trailer in tow. The driver got out, un­loaded a beau­ti­ful to­biano Paint filly and handed me the lead rope. Then Dee and Char­lie ran over from their place yelling, “Happy birth­day!” “I don’t know what to say.” Dee ex­plained how she had come across the filly while search­ing for a horse for her­self: “I just couldn’t turn down the op­por­tu­nity to buy her for your birth­day. Isn’t she a beauty?” “I don’t know what to say.” Char­lie, mean­while, was go­ing on about the ranch where they’d found her and how she had been trained. When the chitchat paused and ev­ery­one looked at me ex­pec­tantly, I still could only stam­mer:

“I don’t know what to say.” hus­band. “You say, ‘Thank you,’” said my “Thank you,” I said at last. That night I tossed and turned. Af­ter 50 years of an­tic­i­pa­tion, my dream of search­ing for the per­fect horse had been taken right out of my hands. But then I got an­gry at my­self for be­ing an­gry. Af­ter all, didn't our friends have my best in­ter­ests at heart? They only wanted to give me the great­est birth­day gift ever. How could I be an­gry over such kind­ness? I de­cided I needed to just get over it. But how? I started by pick­ing out a per­fect name. Zoe has al­ways been a favorite, so I de­cided to start out with that. Did I do any­thing to bring her to this farm? No, I def­i­nitely didn’t. As I pon­dered the sit­u­a­tion, I re­mem­bered that Grace means

“un­mer­ited fa­vor.” She was a to­tal gift. Zoe Grace it is.

The next morn­ing, I ar­rived at the barn to greet Zoe Grace with a to­tally dif­fer­ent out­look. Noth­ing changed dur­ing the night but my mind­set. But that changed ev­ery­thing. I looked into my filly’s brown eyes with amaze­ment. I felt like I could eas­ily dive into those gor­geous, deep eyes and swim all day long.

Seven years have passed, and now I can’t imag­ine life with­out my beau­ti­ful Zoe. We are ab­so­lutely per­fect for each other. It’s like she was al­ways meant to be mine.

GIFT HORSE: Pamela Reed didn't ac­tu­ally choose her mare, Zoe Grace, But they are a per­fect match nonethe­less.

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