I was born in the concrete jungle of New York City with no horse in sight, but for some reason the first word I ever said was “horse”, some kind of unexplained love affair from age two.
My Dad took me to Madison Square Garden every November for the National Horse Show, and he took me riding in Central Park on weekends. He was a horseman of the first order and loved that I loved it as well.
At age thirty, when I was working very hard and still had no horse in my life, I became very ill with undiagnosed serious balance issues and nausea. I was bedridden with sandbags on either side of my head with terrible vertigo for many months. When I could finally stand but was still feeling very ill, the doctor told me I needed to confront my dizziness by going in circles so that my body would adjust to my condition.
I thought of a way to make it bearable. I went to a nearby stables to begin riding lessons with little kids. Round and round I went on a lead rope while I was strapped to the horse to prevent falling. This was hell but finally I did adjust. One day I bought my boots and britches and a $400 horse who was a love. I continued on with lessons.
When I was an over-forty amateur horse owner in training in Calabasas, I had a stroke. This was serious business with aphasia and right side paralysis. I was demoralized but my friends in the horse world would not allow me to stop trying. Finally after a year of exercise and therapy I was ready to ride again and the hunt for my perfect horse was on.
My friends and I found Gentleman Tom in Palos Verdes. He belonged to a little girl who was ready for a serious horse on her way to the Olympics. For me it was love at first sight, and even though I was still weak he took care of me until I was strong enough to start jumping again.
Tom and I went to many horse shows with some good days and some bad but Tom always knew where I was as if he could read my mind. He was my best friend until he was no more. No words can adequately describe how I felt when I arrived at the barn and heard his whinney, saw his bobbing head asking to be turned out so he could run and buck until finally he came to a dead stop in front of me and put his head in my arms. Time for a lesson he said and he always made me proud.
Now in the winter of my years it’s time to give back to help rescue horses. For all the many hours of joy and love the horse gives to the human we must look to ourselves to help man’s best friend. The horse and all animals look to us, we must never look away.
Bunny has written a book about Gentleman Tom soley for the purpose of raising money for All the Pretty Horses Rescue facility. Please contact them for your own copy. 760-444-3078 or 661-614-0666