With thanks to Barnmice member, Geoff Tucker...

"The Girl At The Pony Barn"

"Good Luck" door knocker in FL

The water sloshed over the brim of the two pails the girl was carrying across the courtyard of the pony barn. Apparently the idea of watering the ponies in the white painted wood barn with dark green trim was a man’s idea. Women with more curve to their hips forced the water pails outward to an impossible position to carry water without it spilling over the brim and onto the legs. I stood at the far end of the British style barnyard and watched as the beauty’s eyes rose to meet mine.

I had become the assistant farm manager of the Thoroughbred breeding and training farm which had about 100 horses from retired to yearlings in training, including about 8 stallions, a full breeding and foaling operation, and a separate farm for the ponies. I had quit college and had fallen in love with work and lived on one of the many properties the owner had on the 300 acres of land. My main post was the training barn of 22 stalls. Depending on the time of year, this barn would be full of mares in foal or young horses ready for their first saddle.

Kathy and Nick

It was just after the foaling season and not yet the training season. Late June had few obligations for me and I had heard that a new girl named Kathy had started working at the pony farm. I felt it my duty and responsibility to introduce myself. She was in front of me now with water soaked jeans and a beautiful smile. The butterflies in my stomach awoke.

Soon we were assigned as a team to start the yearlings. I was the ground man and Kathy was the rider. I turned the large filly in a circle inside the stall with no ceiling while Kathy sat quietly on top of the horse. “Are you ready,” I asked and she nodded yes. I released the lead from the bridle and left the stall heading to the break in the barn’s shed row.

35 years ago on July 23rd

Kathy rode the filly for another turn before riding her out of the stall. Before exiting, the filly reared onto her hind legs and proceeded to walk out of the stall, turn left and continued to walk only on the hind legs down the shed row past where I was standing. Kathy was laughing and thoroughly enjoying the moment. I said to myself, “That’s the one I’m marrying.”

Three months after meeting Kathy for the first time I asked her to marry me. She didn’t say no. The engagement ring was made of bailing wire. A year after our first “Hello” in the courtyard of the pony barn, we walked down the aisle of the church. Tomorrow, it will be 35 years of “for better and for worse.”

Doc T

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