Where Katie Came From

8 Feb

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Katie’s, like any horse’s story, is full of enough gaps to allow a storyteller to fill them in with magnificent drama.  But I won’t.  The bare bones are there.  I know where she was born, and when she came to Washington, and snatches before that.

So, being a writer by nature, I will tell her story doing the best to stick the facts, but I never let facts get in the way of storytelling.  An emptiness of facts is a chasm to fill with words.  It is a blank wall begging to be written or drawn on.  Was is a fact anyway?  Before we had books, cameras or recorders there was only word of mouth and drawing.  All of these things made the past a myth.  That was part of its magic.  The past was fluid, mobile, unconstraining– a playdough of possibility.  Just like the future.  Today, the past is a solid, stoic thing, written in stone, unrelenting, a heavy burden we all carry with bent backs.

Like so many things in the modern world, in our attempt to make things easier we have burdened ourselves with clutter.  Mental and physical.  We carry the past with us as if we could make it a tangible thing, bring it to life in some strange ceremony.  Boxes of photos, scrapbooks, memorabilia, old tax forms.  Even magazines.  Every person of a certain age has a backlog of National Geographics in the basement.

Our inability to let go of the past and let the past be the past, let the past be a story, a myth, an amorphous thing has prevented us from being light and free in the future.

But back to Katie.  I have some facts, courtesy of her registration papers.  The rest is a story told by her previous owner.  I also googled her ancestry.  My journalism degree haunts me- I must delve and research, possibly interview people in order to be happy.  I like stories.

Katie was born in Branson, Missouri in spring 1994 on a miniature horse farm.  Her mother had the auspicious name of Jandts Pinto Pantry.  The Jandt’s line has its own mythology – supposedly Mr. Jandt bred these miniature horses down from Arabians to create a mini Arab.  Katie has indeed been mistaken for an Arab- she has a true Arab head, as do many Welsh ponies.  In the mountains of Wales, Arabian studs were turned loose to improve the stocky native ponies.  To me Katie looks a like a Welsh Mountain pony with pinto coloring who has been shrunk down a bit.  Quite a bit, as she is about 34” at the last hair of her mane.

Next I have another fact.  She somehow made it to Idaho and lived there for a few years before ending up in a herd of 25 minis in Washington, where the lady I bought her from found her.  The minis basically ran wild.   Katie was apparently pregnant because she had a foal for the new owner.

The lady I bought Katie from, let’s call her Maggie, wanted a mini as a mascot for her stable.  She saw Katie in the herd of 25 miniature horses and wanted only her.   The owner refused to sell Katie–she was one of the five she was going to keep.  Maggie said she only wanted Katie and she’d leave if she couldn’t buy her.  The elderly owner’s husband said she needed to get rid of 20 minis,  so she finally she sold Katie to Maggie for $1500.

Maggie cleaned Katie up, bought her a blanket for winter, and used her as mascot for kids who were afraid of big horses.   Fast forward some years.  The riding stable had been retired and the horses, too.  We bought Katie.  (See previous post “Why I have Miniature Horses” for this part).

Katie’s story doesn’t end.  I decided one fall that every horse I owned needed a job and Katie would be better at a home where she’d be able to be more of a mascot again.  I wanted to drive (cart and horse), and Katie didn’t like to drive, though we had trained her.   I found her a home where she was supposed to be used for little 4-Hers, to help veterans and maybe have a foal.  I cried most every day the winter she was gone, but thought she would be happier there.  It was a beautiful property with a 4-H leader.

Emails said they loved her and she was doing well.

One day in Spring I got a call.  Come get Katie, they said.  They didn’t want her anymore.  They said she was a terror.  So I drove over and found a pathetic Katie all alone and dirty with overgrown, chipped hooves and scruffy coat.  She was in good health, though she looked nothing like the pampered pet I had dropped off in the fall.  She had no halter, fortunately I brought one.  I took her home and her old friend mini, Macho, whinnied for her and they began joyously grooming.  We gave a bath and braided her and gave her vitamins to improve her coat.

So, I have learned that every horse doesn’t have to be useful in our human definition of use.  Katie may not drive, but she has a use.  She is Katie.  She goes on walks.  She makes us smile.  A dog or cat (especially a cat) doesn’t have a real use, but we still love them.  I had to step out of the horse world into my own world to define how I see my animals.  Katie has taught me a lot.  My own mistakes have taught me the most.  In every area of my life, the most embarrassing mistakes of my past have been my greatest teachers.  My worst moments in hindsight may have been the best.  But I don’t want to carry the past as a solid thing, because then I can’t walk around it, through it and remold it into something positive.  I regret sending Katie to a new home.  But I did learn from it, and Katie is back to her old self.  She has had many travels and homes in her life.  I hope to keep her here from now on.

Maybe Katie is part Arab.  She’s a one-person horse.  I’m pretty much her person.  It’s another one of those journeys where you end up in a place that’s different than you intended to go, but it’s all good once you declutter the idea that you were supposed to end up somewhere else.   The detritus of modern living is more than just physical trash, it’s also the mental vestiges of what “should be” imposed upon “what is.”

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2 Responses to “Where Katie Came From”

  1. dannigirl2013 February 9, 2013 at 11:37 am #

    Katie’s job is loving her mom unconditionally! Horses are the best for that. I’m so glad that Katie is back home safe and sound with all the kisses, hugs, and hay she could ever want!

    • A New Path February 9, 2013 at 12:41 pm #

      thank you 🙂 Katie sends a friendly nicker of appreciation.

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