As a young girl I fell in love with horses. I dreamed about having a horse of my own someday. I pretended that I already had a horse, galloping through the fields, when I rode the beautifully painted wooden carousel horses that gracefully drifted up and down to the tunes of the Wurlitzer Band Organ at Hersheypark, a summer breeze dancing through my hair. Instead of dolls, I played with horse models. My parents encouraged my love of horses and that made it even more fun. Especially my father, who understood my love of horses. He was a Pennsylvania State Policeman and he rode the big PA State Police horses. His PA State Police horse was named “Scooter”. We used to visit him at work many times.
Here is a photo of me in the saddle with my father on Scooter…the only time I have ridden a horse in a dress!
One night he brought home a real leather saddle, the leather and horse smells on it were heavenly!!! I remember taking deep breaths to smell it, I could not get enough of that smell! He put the saddle on two wooden saw horses in our basement, and I would sit on that saddle for hours. My vivid imagination was at work riding to all the places I “rode” in that saddle. Sadly, the saddle could not stay at our home, it had to go back to where it belonged. I use a lot of this imagination when I am writing the stories in my books!
My favorite breed of horse was the Arabian horse.
My passion for Arabian horses, and finding my very first Arabian horse of my own, was realized in December, 1998. What a thrill! What a beauty Talisman’s Teara, my first Arabian mare was, and still is! Dreams do come true! This is a photo of Teara and me when I first bought her.
In November, 1999, a friend called me very early in the morning. She was so excited! She was reading an international Arabian horse magazine and saw a small ad for a bay Arabian mare for sale in Maryland. That was not too far a distance from us in Pennsylvania. She knew about my love for bay Arabians, so she said, “Let’s go and take a look at her!” I called the owner and off we went!
It turns out that Valle Girl, the Arabian mare advertised, was a Region 15 Hunter Pleasure Champion (that’s a big deal!)….wow! And, she was a beauty! Owned by a doctor who lost Valle Girl’s mother, his beloved Spanish Arabian mare, he explained that “the light went out” after she died of colic. He kept Valle Girl and her half brother, both out of his Spanish Arabian mare, in case he got his passion back for Arabians again. At that point in time, he said his priority was to find both horses a good home.
As we were walking into his barn, I passed by the stall of a tall, handsome younger bay Arabian horse…not sure who he was, I could not take my eyes off of him!!! He was curious and full of personality. He watched me walk by his stall and then continued to watch me as we traveled a little further to Valle Girl’s stall. He really wanted my attention! The stalls were the kind that had open metal bars for the upper half of the stall between them, so, as this Arabian horse watched me in Valle Girl’s stall, I was also glancing at him. The doctor got Valle Girl out of her stall, saddled her up, and I rode her…she was definitely a show horse, and I was not a show horse person. This is Valle Girl when I first met her.
Then I asked about “the other Arabian horse” in the barn. The doctor told me he was a gelding. His name was “Shiloh”, Valle Girl’s half brother. He brought Shiloh out of the barn. Different than his half sister, Valle Girl, who was well trained as a show horse, Shiloh was only “green broke”, meaning he had only a little training for riding. It was hard to believe that in such a short amount of time I had fallen in love with this Arabian horse!!!! Shiloh was 4 years old when he came home with me.
There was one other very young Arabian horse in the barn. Her name was Lakota and she was the daughter of Valle Girl. She was not to my liking…but, guess what? My friend fell in love with her!!!!
On the way home this friend and I were so joyful about our adventure, laughing and talking. We went to lunch and it was right then and there that I decided to buy all three Arabians! Then my friend would buy Lakota, the Arabian mare she liked so much, from me. We were giddy with excitement! It was especially sweet because I was boarding Teara with this friend, and now Valle Girl and Shiloh would join Teara at her barn. And, Lakota would be there, too…they would all be together with her other Arabian horses! I made a deal with the doctor, and promised to provide a good home for both Valle Girl and Shiloh. I also promised that my friend would provide a good home for Lakota.
Shiloh went into training. He was even a show horse for one season, shown by the trainer I hired to make him a better riding horse. He won several show ribbons and even a Reserve Champion ribbon at the Delmarva All-Arabian Classic, Delaware. After that one season, Shiloh stayed with me. Shiloh is full of personality and my love for him has grown deeper and deeper into my heart!
When I started writing my children’s books, “Adventures at Green Apple Acres”, I knew that I wanted mt Arabian horse Shiloh to be featured in my first book. Book One, Story One, “Shiloh and the Barn Mouse” was written just for him!
Now, Shiloh lives on my farm at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains with my other Arabian horses. He is a happy horse and still very handsome. He is the horse everyone wants to meet when they visit my farm! Valle Girl is also still with me. Valle Girl has gifted me with a beautiful Arabian mare, her daughter, Reina, whose sire/father is my Arabian stallion. Reina also lives at my farm.
Here is a photo of Shiloh today!
You can see many of Shiloh’s admirers by clicking here or when you click on “Shiloh & Friends” on the Home Page of my book website! Enjoy those photos!
And, that is how I met my Arabian horse Shiloh!
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