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 (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)
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.
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