This is a tale about a young wild gal. When she first moved into the city she was adopted by a now forgotten family. She was young and pregnant. Things did not go well and she was left out in the cold to feed her young son. She grew very thin, and because she was still a babe herself, she didn’t physically mature as she should. Her tummy grew round and her head was way too big for her body. Yet she did her best to care for her young one and find enough food to survive. She moved on to a new home, also now forgotten, where she met an older fellow (we will call him Jack, since he was an ass). Together they had two daughters: Pat, who was a stubborn as a mule and Kate, who was just a mule.
Sahalie (this was the young gal’s name) eventually was purchased by Jude, a loving woman that was just too tall for this little mustang. But, seeing the diamond in the rough, Jude decided to breed her to a big beautiful stallion named Puma’s Criollo Kiger. The product of that union was two beautiful horses: Koosah and Carmen. Puma’s family took possession of Sahalie and Dani (Puma’s human) also saw something special in this little round-tummied, big-headed pony.
Sahalie first tried a stint as a 4-H horse, but it was not the best experience for her. So what do you do with this little pony with funny conformation that was passed for human to human and bred over and over again? Send her to Wild Ones Youth Ranch, of course!
Well, the first time I laid eyes on Sahalie it was love at first sight. She was a 15-hand horse in a 13.3-hand body. All I could see was great potential and she was just about the sweetest horse I had ever met. The deal was sealed. She was pregnant with Carmen when she finally came to the farm and she was as wide as she was tall. The girls fell in love with Sahalie, especially Megan, a high school student that made the ranch her second home. Sahalie helped Megan work through many very difficult obstacles including the loss of her mother to cancer; and today Megan is a wonderful young woman that has conviction and purpose. But this story is not about the thousands of people that Sahalie has helped. Or the hundreds of firsts that she has provided for kids: first ride, first trot, first canter, first horse show, and most importantly, first love affair with a horse.This story is about what makes the difference between a good horse and a great horse.
There are many outstanding horses out there but I would hold this little big-headed dun up against them all. Wild Ones also has many good horses but our Sahalie is truly one of the greats. She doesn’t have a wall full of trophies and blue ribbons. She is not of sophisticated breeding; being wild, well, who knows? What she does have is a sea of smiling faces and an ocean of happy hearts in her honor. She is the favorite of hundreds of Dollar Days kids and many of the wranglers are discovering that the more you know, the more she can do. She gives the kids her all and though not a conventional horse of record she is unconventionally the best.
Recently she gave one of my wranglers a boost in confidence as she was preparing to ride a much bigger horse for an OHSET meet. Hannah showed up to practice cantering and maybe a little gallop. The team mounted up and hit the arena. “Whenever you are ready, just canter her on the rail and let me know when you feel relaxed,” I told her. Well, it didn’t take long as Sahalie was a familiar comfortable seat for Hannah. I could see the confidence in Hannah’s countenance almost like it was coming from on high and surrounding her. Her face went from consternation to sheer joy. She cut around the arena left and right and back and forth. It was beautiful. I was so proud of both of them as they zipped past Birdie and me. Hannah was smiling, and if a horse could smile, I think Sahalie was right there with her. Then it happened… the much anticipated gallop. They were off and running looking like, well, poetry in motion. It was truly a day of victory, thanks to a stubby little big-headed mustang.
I am learning not to question who or what the Lord will use to touch the lives of the kids at the ranch. I am just really glad to be able to be part of the process. So if you come out to the farm for a ride and you are feeling frightened or insecure, never fear because we have a real live super hero to save the day. Little Sahalie will be waiting to lend a helping hoof.
PS: Sahalie’s children have entered the family business, as well. Koosah, Carmen, and Clippy are all employed by Wild Ones and following in their mama’s much-esteemed hoofprints.
Here’s a little Sahalie slideshow for you to enjoy. There are SO many more amazing Sahalie pics that could be added, because she is an incredibly wonderful and well-loved horse. 🙂 [See if you can spot the pic of one of Sahalie’s babies in the slideshow. Comment below if you do!]