Susie Harris grasped tightly to the lead rope connecting her to the injured racehorse, a gentle animal who was the physical embodiment of what she had always wanted.
Hardly daring to believe, Harris heard the words:
“Take him. He’s yours.”
“That was three years ago,” Harris says. “Today, I’m 51, and I can say that dreams really do come true.”
The California-based horse fanatic grew up riding other peoples’ horses, but long ago, financial realities imposed, and made her give up the childhood dream to own her own.
Her life proceeded along happily enough. She went to college and studied violin, settled into a career raising show dogs with her husband, and had children.
And then something truly unexpected happened.
Her sister Charla acquired a small horse property with enough room in its barn for an additional horse. And, after nudging her to start looking, she discovered a sun-bleached and sad ex-racehorse at Winners Circle Ranch, who was recovering from a sesamoid fracture.
Race name: Blaze N Waggin
Sire: Cherokee Run
Dam: Checkerspot, by Affirmed
Foal date: April 27, 2005Blaze N Waggin had been at the farm for six months, recuperating from his injury. And while his kindly owners provided for all that the four-year-old gelding needed, from veterinary attention, to the roof over his head, Harris and her sister knew they could provide the missing ingredients to help the bay Thoroughbred complete his recovery.
“He just looked so sad and depressed when we met,” she says. “For me, it was love at first sight.”
That was late March in 2010, and by April, Blaze moved into his new barn, and began the best phase of his recovery. Taking leisurely walks with Harris and her sister to scenic locales where horses and sisters would enjoy a picnic lunch.
They did this every weekend.
Over cool, green grass, Blaze was hand-walked to shady spots where the sisters would unpack theirsandwiches, as the horses grazed on sweet clover.
“All we did was walk him. He loved to be with us. He didn’t pull, but walked quietly beside us on a trail,” she says. “He never spooked, and was never afraid of anything when we were out on our picnics.”
When Blaze had healed to the point that even his former exercise rider, couldn’t find evidence of the break, Harris saddled him up.
What a shock she had!
“The first time I rode him he behaved like a 30-year-old plow horse. He was so calm and slow,” she says.
He trotted and cantered on voice commands, and it wasn’t long before the pair went on long, ambling trail rides.
Although Blaze will never be a show horse, Harris doesn’t mind. Even if he couldn’t be ridden, she wouldn’t care. He is hers. He is the horse she never thought she’d own.
“When I was a young girl, I used to pray every night that if I died before I woke, that there would be a horse for me in heaven,” Harris says. “So, for me to actually have him is more than I could have ever asked for.”