I look for him everywhere. Any time I see a red dun horse my heart skips a beat, I look at the ground, then slowly lift my eyes up to look at him. I search his face, could it be him? I know that he’s passed away by now since he would be in his 40’s but my heart still searches. Dunny was the first horse that truly was a friend, who listened to me, let me cry in his mane, who let me become such a part of him that it felt like we shared the same skin. I still can close my eyes and see him, the small star on his forehead, the way his coat glistened in the sun and the different shades of colors on his body that looked like puzzle pieces. I’ve never seen a horse that looked like him, and probably never will again. I believe he was magical. He talked to my heart. He steadied it and he accepted me for who I was. It’s actually hard for me to write about him, and that shocks me a bit because he is responsible for how I feel about horses today.
Oh Dunny, how I loved you. I loved the way the sunlight shimmered when it touched your coat, your warm, broad back, the white snip on your upper lip, the way you smelled, the nicker you gave me when I walked out to the corral. I loved the way you let me lay on you, feeling your breath underneath me and the warm sun on my back. How you would stand for hours with me up there. When I rode you, you let me ride and ride and ride. We explored all the roads around the farm, rode out in the pasture where Dixie lived. You taught me how to ride out a buck, how to run like the wind with you. I even think you loved me. Thank you for teaching me for being patient with me, for being gentle, and letting me have conversations with you. You showed me how to listen to you and understand what you were saying. You taught me that I could feel your thoughts through the reins, even though I didn’t know that was a thing. You taught me I could ride freely with you, no saddle, no bridle but you took me wherever I wanted to go. Thank you for letting me dream, for allowing me to pretend you were my horse and letting your heart beat with mine. When Uncle Ed sold you I thought my heart would shatter. I couldn’t believe you were gone when I got to the farm that summer. The pain of it staggered me and I was in total disbelief. I thought you would be on the farm forever. Didn’t they see how special and magical you were? Didn’t Uncle Ed know you were mine? How could he sell you? Did you think about me after you left for your new life?
Today I feel the pain in my heart almost as strongly as I did then, the tears run down my cheeks as I write this, and my heart aches. Every time I go to a rodeo or see a team of ropers I look for you since I was told your were sold to a roper on the circuit. I never saw you again, never got to say goodbye or hear your gentle nicker. I hope the rest of your life was sweet and beautiful and every once in awhile you remembered a little girl who loved you. You were a brave strong horse and you were my hero. I will probably always search for you and I will carry what you taught me in my heart forever.