Friday, May 21, 2010
I wasn't planning on breeding Mouse at all. I'm just too much of a worrier especially where Mouse is concerned. From the moment I first set eyes on her, nearly six years ago, she owned my heart. She was a gift from my husband. We were sitting on a sunny beach in Cozumel celebrating my husband's fiftieth birthday. The trip had been my gift to him and he appreciated it not only for the obvious reasons but because it had saved him from the inevitable birthday party which our families were planning for him (and which he would also have inevitably hated.) So, he was in an extremely happy and agreeable mood when he turned to me with a smile and asked, "Now what are you going to want for your 50th birthday that will be as nice as this." He was a bit taken back however when I didn't even hesitate before I answered very simply, "A horse."
I did go on to explain to him that I'd wanted a horse as long as I had memory and I felt (as so many people approaching that landmark birthday do about so many things) that, if I didn't get a horse then, I never would. So, as soon as we were back home, the search began. I, of course, had no idea what to even look for in a horse. I was told that, at my "ripe old age" of forty-eight, I most certainly needed a gaited horse to carry my rapidly deteriorating old bones in comfort.
I started my search where most everything starts these days, on the internet. I researched different breeds and various sellers and listings. When I'd gone to check out a Paso Fino which was for sale and located nearby, the lady who owned him told me that I didn't want a Paso. She said, "What you need is a Missouri Fox Trotter. Come out and look at mine." He was a big gray and when the lady's husband came riding him across the barn lot at a fast clip and in a gait we didn't recognize and the rider was not moving one iota, both Steve and I were sold. Their Fox Trotter was not for sale but they told us about their trip to Missouri where they had purchased him and another. As we were leaving their farm, Steve asked me, "When are we going to Missouri?"
So, back on the internet I went with at least a specific breed in mind now. I sent out a a lot of emails and received a lot of responses telling me why I should choose their particular horse but only one responded that they wouldn't sell me a horse. That breeder was Fran Forester and she wasn't being rude. She told me that all she had available were young horses and she wouldn't put a green rider like me on a green horse. I've since learned that green on green leads to black and blue. What Fran did offer to do was help me find a horse and advise me on what to look for and who to trust. Over the next six months, we grew to be great friends but as my forty-ninth birthday drew near, I still hadn't found my perfect horse. Fran had told me about a man who knew more about horses than anyone she'd ever met...and that was saying a lot coming from someone as experienced with horses as she was. That man's name was Huston Jenkins . He was at that time eighty years old and still raising, breaking and training horses. He did not however often offer any of his horses for sale and he was very picky about who was allowed to buy one of them.
A few weeks before my birthday, I received an email from Fran. If an email can be described as excited, this one was. Fran told me that she'd just gotten a call from Huston's niece, Cathy, and he had a mare...and she was gray. You see, horse idiot that I was at that time, my only criteria besides the breed was that I really, really wanted a dappled gray horse. I'd even decided on a name for this horse once I'd finally found her, Mouse. Cathy was suppose to send me photos of the gray mare but they were delayed because of a family emergency. She emailed that she'd get them to me asap. So, I waited and I actually didn't sleep I was so excited. Somehow, I think I knew this was the horse of my dreams. Finally, the email containing the photos arrived and I knew without a doubt. I printed them off at 2:00 in the a.m. and I pinned the photos to the wall beside our bathroom sink so that they'd be the first thing Steve saw in the morning. Across them, I'd written, this is the ONE in big red letters. The next day, I called Huston and asked if he'd hold the horse until I could get to Missouri to see her....and I asked her name. He told me that it was, MOUSE'S Funny Face. The rest as they say, is history:)
The rest is also Mouse's story and this is Danny's story. In 1999, we went back to Missouri to visit Huston and to pick up Mouse's first born son, Sensational Boy J (Django). We also took Mouse with us so that Huston could see her and ride her again. He loves her as much as I do and he knows that, even though she lives most of the time with me now, he will always own part of her because, as with me, she owns part of his heart, too. Huston often says that she is the best horse he's ever raised. She's bright and beautiful and just special. Huston was so happy to see her again. Steve and I started discussing how we could leave her with Huston for the Summer so that he could enjoy her for a while. Huston had been trying to convince me to breed Mouse for sometime. He always said that her breeding was just too good not to carry on the bloodline. So, we asked Huston if he would get her bred for us and if he'd keep her until we could return for her in the Fall. He readily agreed and before we left, the breeding was already arranged and we'd already met the breeder and the stallion, a sweetheart of a horse named Traveler's Sensational Zane. And for those of you familiar with MFT breeding, yes, he does have all three of those famous stallions on his papers and so does Mouse. So, we were pretty much assured for the beginning that this would be a spectacular foal.