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Buck
By Dawn L. Van Zant, age 40

When I decided it was time for me to buy my first horse, at thirty-six years of age, I felt like I was a little girl getting my first pony. I wanted a palomino or a buckskin. Their colors make me think of the western pioneer look that I had always romanticized about. I tried a couple of beautiful palominos and almost bought one. Then one day I saw an ad for a buckskin quarter horse. I had my riding coach, Carol go and take a look at him. She called me and said "Well, he’s not really what we've been looking at, but he’s a really good boy." When I went out to see him, we could see by his sway back and teeth he was pretty old, but no one knew how old. We thought he was in his late twenties. Carol told me to think about it, that I was taking on a lot with him being that old. He had been run to a sweat and we knew by his price that they just wanted to get rid of him. I looked into his big sad eyes and we both said "let’s take him home." Driving home that day I couldn’t stop smiling. I had my first horse. It didn’t matter to me that he had bites on his coat, a shaggy mane, a big belly and sway back. I loved him and thought he was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. His name was Buck, the buckskin, not too original, but he was too old to change his name.

We have since found out by the vet that he is substantially older than we thought, in his late late thirties, we think. I have had him over three years and he is part of my family. He became a show horse for a few years, for a girl named Jill that rode him. He became proud, fit and glorious in his old age. He is fully retired now and his breathing is difficult. We just hang out and play. He has earned his retirement. He is a good old boy and he is the inspiration of the foundation and my love for horses. Falling in love with him has changed my life. Thanks Buck.

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