He came first, into the life of my husband. The sorrel horse was 18-months-old – unbroke, but had a solid temperament. He was sired by Super High Gear, out of the mare Ms Lyndi Lou, born in 1991 and came from John Miller’s breeding program.
My husband, Clay spent countless hours with the gelding who eventually became known as “Doc.” Clay could lead Doc by his tail, send him to the far end of an arena, make him wait patiently and then call him back again. Clay used Doc in his clinic demonstrations, rode him bridleless, brought the cows in at the ranch, and to help start other colts.
Then as often happens in a trainer’s life, came a moment when Doc could become a safe mount for someone else. In 1999, Doc was sold to new home. But as fate would have it, we had the opportunity to buy Doc back in 2001. Clay and I had recently become engaged and shortly afterwards, I incurred a bad ankle break after coming off a polo horse. When I had healed up enough to ride, I needed something to help build my confidence again. Doc was the horse for the job.
I learned to ride western on Doc’s back. I got my first showing experiences with him and truly got a chance to refine my horsemanship. When Clay and I were married, our friend Gabriele Noll painted Doc’s portrait.
But again, as life sometime goes in chapters, Doc was sold again – to another loving person who really needed him.
Christa Vindum purchased Doc back in 2008. Before that sale, we had said we never wanted to part with Doc again. But never, say never. Christa too, needed a mount that would build her confidence. Doc was 15 at the time. Considering his age, it would have been hard for anyone to take a chance on an “old horse.” But during her time with Doc, Christa has ridden him on trail rides, in cowboy challenges, in shows, clinics… you name it. All the youngsters in her family also learned to ride on his back. Christa would later move to Idaho and she took Doc with her, where they continued their adventures.
So again as life turned over another chapter, Christa contacted Clay and I earlier this year (2016). Now at age 25, Doc was still in great condition and still, the miraculous type of horse that could teach riders and instill confidence in them. His brand is faded, he has a lot more gray hairs now and in theory, he might not have many more years left in him.
But Christa wanted to know if we wanted Doc back.
Obviously, we agreed to take him back immediately – although we weren’t quite sure how to work out the logistics of shipping him up from Idaho at the time.
Christa offered to trailer Doc straight up to us.
And we found it ironic as she told us the story of crossing the border.
“The Customs officer wanted to know what Doc’s value was,” she chuckled. “I’m looking at the guy – telling him that Doc is 25, suffers from ‘excessive sleepiness,’ and requires some special supplements for joint maintenance because of his age. How do you put a price on a horse like that?”
With a smile on her face and perhaps a tear in her eye, Christa continued. “To me, a horse like that is priceless.”
We think so too.
Doc has had amazing homes with the other people on his papers. But he has returned to us for his remaining years. We are so grateful to have him back for the things he will teach our young children, are invaluable. He’ll teach them to ride a couple times per week. He’ll teach them about responsibility and empathy. He’ll teach them about commitment and love.
Doc has come full circle. He will live in the barn, be turned out during the day and given all the necessary joint supplements. He deserves it.
While we can’t take all of our horses sold throughout the years back, there are definitely a few that deserve to live out their days with us. We could never regret giving the mounts that have given their wisdom and precious gifts of education to us, a good home in their senior years.
They’re worth it.
If you have a special story of a horse that’s come Full Circle, please let me know by firing WHR an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org