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  • When I was about 13, the stable where I rode (and worked on weekends mucking stalls and cleaning tack to make money for my lessons) sold about half their horses and ponies at auction. Some of the other kids and I all helped out at the auction by riding the ponies while the people bid. I have little doubt that Gaiety and Biscuit ended up going to the dog food factory, and there were many tears shed. Sea Dew was younger, and not so-destined, but I was sad to say goodbye to him just the same.

    So there I was crying in his stall, and along comes Jennifer, who tells me she just bought Sea Dew and planned to bring him back to her parents' racing stable because she wants to teach him to pull a carriage. She said she was glad to know she had gotten such a much-loved pony, and that I should come up there anytime to visit him.

    I am not sure she realized I would take her up on her offer.

    For each month that next year my mom would drop me off on Friday, and I would stay at the farm in one of Jennifer's older brothers' vacated bedrooms. I would sit with her parents at their family table for meals, and Jennifer and I would go to horse shows or just hang out and ride. And then at the end of the weekend she would drive me back home.

    And I'm sure I was duly grateful at the time, but to this day I marvel at how generous and kind these strangers were to me.
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