Dream Horse

December 13, 2010

Every once in a while, I’m gifted with stories that lift my spirit. Yesterday, one such story came my way so I thought I’d share. I cried, I laughed, I jumped up and down – and I still am.

Last January I received an e-mail from a young girl who wanted to know about a horse on my website. He looked like her “Dream Horse” that she called Abafalth. The photo was of one of my favorite stallions, so I told her all about Utah from the McCullough Peaks HMA in Wyoming. (a link to a previous post about Utah and his family with more photos: https://nickolesphotography.wordpress.com/2009/03/29/utah-mccullough-peaks-wy/)

Tess and I continued to correspond and she’d periodically ask me for updates and photos of the handsome stallion, which I would send her. It was pretty apparent that Tess was quite taken with this boy.

In June, Tom and I made a trip to the Rock Springs, WY BLM holding facility. There, I took photos of the horses that I planned to post on Facebook in hopes of generating some interest, possibly getting a few adopted out. As I went through my images, I kept thinking one of the horses looked very familiar to me. I had posted a photo of her and her brand new baby on Facebook and each time I looked at it, I kept wondering about her.

Finally it hit me and I was devastated. The pretty little pinto mare had been in Utah’s band and the beautiful baby at her feet was the spitting image of her sire.

Two Bears, Shakira and Utah in the wild

Utah and Two Bears

Two Bears (the mare) had been rounded up the previous Fall and had given birth to the foal after her capture. I was heartbroken. Of course I told this story on Facebook and Tess read about it. She contacted me right away and wanted to know how to adopt the filly. I passed along the information to this 19 year-old from Missouri and then wondered. I never doubted for a moment that Tess was sincere about giving the foal a home but since I didn’t hear from her after that, I figured that’s as far as it went. I’ve never been happier about being so wrong!

In Tess’ own words:

“It’s a long story, but to me it’s almost a fairy tale. This story to me has creation, determination, the certainty of defeat and at the end, even through it all, a happy-ever-after.

The creation started when I created a wild stallion dream horse, since my parents said I was too young for a real horse yet. He was jet black with white markings. His name was Abafalth. Years later I found out that he existed in the real world, only this one was called Utah. I found him through Pam Nickoles’ photography website and contacted her, telling her the story and keeping tabs on Abe/Utah.

The determination came when I found that Pam had taken pictures of a mare from Abe/Utah’s herd. She had been rounded up and she and her new little filly were up for adoption. I called the BLM and kept tabs with Kathi Fine, calling every couple of weeks like a paranoid mother hen. When the little filly was ready to adopt I – long story short – found a hauler, signed the papers and everything was set… or so I thought.

The certainty of defeat hit me when the hauler backed out on me, leaving me 2 hours to find a new hauler or give the little one up. I didn’t find a hauler and when Kathi called for the non-existent hauler’s information I never cried so hard in my life. Kathi apologized profusely as she told me that another woman wanted the foal if I couldn’t get her. We said good-bye and I thought that was the end.

And then came the happy ever after as Kathi called back with news that the lady had backed out and that a contract trainer for the BLM had agreed to take one more horse into his shipment of trainees. I called Steve Mantle and he agreed to let me adopt her. We found a new hauler and with painstaking work and hectic communication between Kathi at the BLM, the horse haulers and Steve, the filly was finally unloaded December 11th into the corral at my home.”

Video of the filly’s arrival:

(The following photos were provided by Tess)

Tess and her new filly

A remarkable and determined young woman for sure. I’m so happy for Tess and for “Little One” (the filly’s nickname until Tess comes up with the perfect name).

With much anticipation, I look forward to Tess’ updates as she begins her journey with the very lucky daughter of her Dream Horse.

(Photos are for viewing purposes only. Images are copyright protected and owned solely by Pam Nickoles Photography. No reproduction or downloading permitted. Feel free to share the link, not the images. To share, click on the blog entry title. The permanent link will be displayed in your browser’s address bar. Copy this address to share.)

45 Responses to “Dream Horse”

  1. Gayle Says:

    Thank you for posting this beautiful story and to Tess for adopting her and never giving up. Many blessings to her and “Little One” in their new life together.


    Now that is the best Christmast present you could ever get!! The story will stay with me..thanks for sharing & what an inspiration that Tess is!!

  3. bev Says:

    Wow, some fairy tales do come true!!! Be sure to have Tess keep us posted on her own Dream Come True!

  4. Linda H Says:

    What a great story of hope and faith. Thanks Pam and thanks Tess for your tenacity.

  5. Michelle Says:

    What a wonderful story. Thank you so much for sharing it!

  6. tzfitch Says:

    Thanks for sharing, Pam. We don’t get to share much good news when it comes to the wild horses, but this is truly the exception. I, like all the others, cannot wait to hear how this story unfolds. I anxiously await the upcoming photos and stories of these two. Tis the season for miracles.

  7. Pam,
    Thank you so much for sharing this story. So many times all we think ever happens after a gather is life in the corrals. It’s heartwarming to hear a story of hope for Tess and her new filly.

    Thank you for going to the corrals, which I know is hard because I usually can’t do it, and for sharing the information with Tess. It’s partly due to your tenacity that this story has a happy ending.

    Best wishes Tess and Little One.

  8. TJ Says:

    I cried, too! What a beautiful story, at an appropriate time of year! Best of luck to Tess and Little One – I hope all your together-dreams come true!

  9. Jan Says:

    OH – you got me crying again, Pam, happy tears! What sweet, sweet news…music to my ears.

    Tess…you are one very special HorseWoman. Your strength and determination just scream “Mustang” to me 🙂 You two will get along just fine! Have fun with your “Little One” – the bond that began before you even met will only grow stronger.

    ~ Jan

  10. Linda Says:

    Amazing story. Tess, I’m very happy for you–your little one is as pretty as her father is handsome. I hope you have a long life together!

  11. MorganG Says:

    Crying and cheering at the same time. It’s a blessing and a miracle that these two came together. Its never failed to amaze me how if the two are supposed to meet the Heavens will go into overdrive to make it happen. Prayers for a long and happy life for Little One and Tess.

  12. Barbara Joseph Says:

    Dreams do come true. Tess sent out to the Univers & God & never gave up on her dream. I’m so happy for her & Little one.
    Pam, Yes the tears flow for a beautiful true story with a happy ending.

  13. Susan Emory Says:

    What an awesome Christmas miracle!
    Congratulations, Tess! I am SO happy for you and Little One. She warmed up to you so quickly, like she knew she was home. It sounds like you two were meant to be together.
    Happy for you too, Pam. These two, no doubt, will help to heal your heart. Merry Christmas to all of you!

  14. Silvia Says:

    Tess, I’m estatic for you! Who could imagine dreams could come true? You’ve always been an inspiration and always will be 🙂

  15. zoe Says:

    what a lovely heartwarming story, hope they share many happy moments together

  16. jan eaker Says:

    Pam, do you know if Two Bears was adopted? were Utah and Shakira also rounded up at that time?
    thank you for this story, it’s good to see a happy ending for this baby girl.

  17. Tara Bruning Says:

    Great story! Good luck with that beautiful filly!! Where is the stud? in holding?

  18. Janet Ferguson Says:

    Is that paint the dam? I’m guessing not. Did they ever make friends?
    I wonder if a domestic foal would show the tooth-clicking this one demonstrates after the short rebuke from the paint horse!

    Wonderful story for the holiday season. . . and such a nice little foal who appears level-headed and calm even while descending the ramp and finding its way to the right barnyard.


  19. Puller Lanigan Says:

    Wonderful story!!! Beautiful little filly.

  20. Terri Farley Says:

    This is a wonderful story. Thanks for acting as midwife to this dream. I’ll definitely share the link with my readers and I would love to send Tess a congratulatory gift of wild horse books.
    So happy this worked out for her!

  21. Doraine Van Lew Says:

    So happy to see a happy ending for this little filly! Looks like she’ll have a wonderful home there. Thanks for sharing this – we need good stories to offset all the bad we’re seeing. She does look just like her dad 🙂 Beautiful face! Is the mare still at the BLM holding pens?

  22. Mary Duke Says:

    Pam – your are amazing at connecting us all! Tess – “Little One” is just beautiful! Congrats, Enjoy, You will never be more in love! Hooray for Steve – I know him – he is one of the good guys!

  23. Suesy Fulton Says:

    So very happy to have been able to share in this wonderful story! With all the best wishes for Tess and her filly that my heart can muster! Sues.

  24. Beautiful as usual,and a beautiful story
    thanks PAM

  25. Tess Boe Says:

    Thank you all for you congratulations, I really don’t know what to say.
    Utah and his lead mare are still free in the wild, as for Two Bears I’m not sure.
    The black and white paint you see is my 25 year old gelding Comanche-his nickname Great chief. He was my very first horse at the age of 9. He and Little One are getting along better now. I will let you all know when I have given Little One her true name.
    Again thank you all!

  26. Tess Boe Says:

    and for those of you who are interested my website is: http://www.tales-of-olde.com

  27. Sharon in Ohio Says:

    Thank you so much for this beautiful and inspiring story…a dream come true. The birth of a miracle!
    Inspiring us all to dare dream and believe. And to never ever quit…hold on until you see the results.
    This story is so touching…the best to “Little One” and his special girl Tess! She is quite a young lady.

  28. Joey W. Says:

    Ohh Pam!
    What a beautiful story! I too, have happy tears! Little One is the spitting image of her Daddy! I wish Tess and her new ‘baby’ a lifetime of the greatest friendship they both will ever have!
    Thank you so much for sharing with us. Tess is ‘one of us’ now, no looking back.. The love of a Mustang..
    Keep us posted, please! Thank you for all you do for our Wild Ones..
    Merry Christmas!

  29. Megan Says:

    What a beautiful story! I hope there will be pics of the filly posted as she grows up!

  30. Roy Bozarth Says:

    Dreams are made in heaven, for us on earth to have joy in!

  31. Maggie Frazier Says:

    Beautiful story – I cried too – but for once it was for a good thing.
    Tess is so lucky & so is that baby.
    Hope they have many happy years together.

  32. sylvia morrill Says:

    would love to here more about the mustang/ and how tess does with her filly.

  33. What a wonderfull story, I wish Tess and Little One years of love and happeness. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!

  34. Kathy Says:

    What an amazing and wonderful story. Thank you so much for sharing.

  35. arlene orlando Says:

    Pam , Thank You for this uplifting story !!!! A Christmas miracle for Tess and her little one God Bless Them Both !!!!

  36. Tess Boe Says:

    update on Little One.
    She comes of to me now and allows me to place my hand on her cheek, so soft!
    And from to moment she placed her head in my hand i knew her name… Danika, meaning Morning Star.

  37. Morgan Griffith Says:

    That’s a beautiful name Tess and when I looked at her picture I thought yes, that fits her.

  38. Kiko Says:

    Best story every!

  39. pnickoles Says:

    This time of year I just get so far behind… I LOVE all the responses to this story. Tess did a wonderful thing by saving that filly and helping us all to reconsider the power of dreams.

    To answer a couple of questions – Utah is still running free at McCullough Peaks. I’ve been unable to get a response to my query about Two Bears, but if I do find out anything about her, I’ll be sure to share it.

  40. It’s a Christmas story… Thank you for sharing!

    Petra Christensen
    Parelli 2Star Junior Instructor
    Parelli Central

  41. Lynn Bauer and Kathy Pariso Says:

    Fantastic, truly heart-warming story!! If only we had the facilities, we’d adopt in a HEARTBEAT!!
    All our best to you and CONGRATULATIONS – you absolutely did the right thing – you and others who adopt are ANGELS!!

    Thanks, Pam, for this story!!

  42. suzanne o'meara Says:

    thank-you !!

  43. Margaret Says:

    Oh that little squeal and the teeth clacking–Ginger teaches that is horse for “I’m little, don’t hurt me.” I’m happy I can recognized it and know what it means.

    How happy I am for this young lady who so desperately wanted that stallion and then was able to adopt his daughter.

    Is it normal for haulers to suddenly back out? I mean if he had family illness that’s undersandable but should we start some kind of list of haulers not to contact because they fail to see their contract through?

    One other thing I see–is not EVERY BLM employee is the enemy. Some can actually act human. Yes, they have a job to do but this lady from the BLM called this young lady back and said she could have the horse after all. She could have let this youngster slip through the BLM cracks into oblivion. This is the kind of person that I think all BLM employees should strive to act like. Even Terri Farley had someone helping her when she adopted Ghost Dancer and Sage. That person suggested she have a fallback horse for Dancer just in case.

    I know two people don’t make the BLM. But when the powers that be come together–they can easily pinpoint these two examples and ask others to emulate this. Start small and keep working forward. The BLM is so broken that any small step they take to the positive is a huge leap in the right direction.

  44. Terri Farley Says:

    Margaret, you are totally right! Sage was my “safety net” girl. She’s so beautiful (as you know) captured the same day & same place as Ghost Dancer — and no one had bid on her.
    I wouldn’t have thought of scouting her out if BLM staff hadn’t suggested it. That’s how MANY in BLM were in the old days …uh…10 years ago.
    Thanks for reminding us that there are roses among the thorns 🙂

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