I was three year old when I first talked about having horses. It was my first obsession. Mother would tell me how she would buy all these beautiful dolls, but I wouldn't play with them. Instead I'd sit in a corner with her wooden clothes pins and imagine they were my horses. In Southern California in the mid-50s, as soon as you got your drivers license, you'd be driving to the beach. Not me. As soon as I got my license, I started my secret life. There was a Buffalo Ranch in the area where Irvine, CA has grown up now. Back then they had stables, gave riding lessons, and also did trail rides. I worked odd jobs, one at a jewelry store, and of course babysitting, saved my money and took riding lessons. I'd hang around and help clean stalls, feed, and just take in the smells of the hay, the grain, the horse. Listening to their munching, their nickering, the swishing sound their hooves made in the straw or looking deep into their liquid eyes, watching them twitch their tails at a fly or shake their beautiful necks or paw at the ground was better than the Symphonic Orchestra playing great composers. It was music to me and I could be part of it. Just to touch that soft, warm muzzle and hug their neck, snuggling my nose into their scent was the most intoxicating part of my teen years.
After college, I worked at a Dude Ranch. Heaven! I was with horses every single day for hours on end. I really believed I married because he promised me a ranch with cows and horses. It never happened with him, and even after two children, I never gave up on my dream. Probably I married money the second time and I did buy my first horse, then later my Arabians. Guess I shouldn't be surprised that marriage didn't make it either. But my dream of having a horse ranch never died. At age 38, I did buy my horse ranch.
The first horse born on our ranch, was Darq Sirroco, a black colt out of my Palomino Half Arab/Saddlebred, Penny. The kids and I were so excited about the upcoming birth, we strewed straw around in the large stall, put up a 8x8 tent in the stall next door, put in cots, a battery operated light — we didn't want to miss the big event.
Penny started circling around and around and finally went down late in the afternoon. Just then, our neighbors from North Plains came down to the barn. They were old time farmers, and I was relieved that they were there. We whispered back and forth — me asking what I should do next; he with a grin answering to just let the mare do her thing! It wasn't much after that conversation the two hooves came out covered inside the bag and very fast, bloop, out slipped the baby. Nosing and thrashing, out of the bag a shinny wet thing gasped its first air. Nudging me to rub down the baby with the towel I had in my hands, and telling me to bond right away. Gingerly, I approached the little one, down on my knees, rubbing it dry and talking low and soft to both the baby and the mare. It was a colt, a boy! Wobbling up, sideways, down again. One leg up, three legs down, now back legs up, front legs down. So funny and amazing at the same time. With knickers of encouragement from the mare, finally up on all fours and looking for the milk. Well after a suck or two on the mare's front legs, he finely got around to the right section. Don't know how he could miss it, with milk streaming down. With a huge sigh of relief from me and the mare, she (the mare not me) starts to nibble at the hay while her baby nurses.
We named him, Darq Sirroco. His name, Sirooco, a wild desert wind. He grew up to be a Region II, IV, V Champion. Winning Futurities at 1, 2 and 3. He won in almost every show he entered. Eventually he won a Reserve National Championship!
My horse ranch became more of a reality than I ever dreamed it to be. And a great source of memories now!