I had 3 horses when I was 10-12 years old-2 quarter horses and 1 arab. I have always been a horse lover and probably owned every horse book made as a child. When my parents divorced we sold my horses :( and moved to the city so I had no way of continuing my hobbie. After I married we moved to our current house and my neighbor happened to have 7 acres and a barn with TB's OTT. I quickly became friends with her because of our age similarities and the fact that we were so close. She often asked me to ride with her and trusted me on her TB's (which I now know is amazing) but she could tell that I had the "knack" for it. You can always tell if a person's got it or not-it just comes natural. Anyway, that was 8 years ago and I saved and saved because she told me i could board a horse for basically cost at her barn. Well, last fall she called me one night and said DRC was closing and it would be an excellent time to buy a TB. She also told me she had heard of Joanne and her website, CANTER. The next day I started searching the web and wrote down horses names, prices and started making calls. Blue was my favorite and it just so happened that he was in Ann Arbor which is where I worked so I made an appointment. He was still racing but the owner had him at a barn so people could come look at him. I went and looked at him on a Tuesday, called the owner and bought him on the way home. He was scheduled to race that Friday. It was love at first sight. I had no idea what I would do with him (trails, jumping, etc.) but I knew when I saw him I wanted him. And really, when you are buying you don't have much to go on in terms of disposition so I figured I'd take a chance. I picked him up on a beautiful fall day in October 98 (Sat after I bought him) and we got him in the trailer but had a heck of a time getting him out. I think he was used to turning around in a bigger trailer and walking out. After that he was very calm-I put him out in the pasture and even rode him for a little bit that night. I spent almost the entire winter getting to know him on the ground, making friends with him, brushing him, letting him get to know my 2 kids (8 and 4) and just letting him be himself. I did try to ride once a month or so and he was always a very good boy. Now I know how lucky I was - he has turned out to be the best horse I could have imagined and I love him dearly. He's like one of the family. He loves the kids and dogs (they give him lots of treats :)) and I know he's growing fond of me too. The other day he nickered at me when I walked up to him and he always comes over to greet me. He's still on the thin side, of course, and we are working on that and he still paces the fence-working on that too-but overall he's spectacular! Joanne helped me get his pedigree and he's got a great one! Horses like Bold Ruler and Northern Dancer are in his background. I wouldn't care at all at this point but its kind of fun to know he's a decendent of some of the greats. So now Blue and I are working on the flat about 3 times a week. He's learning to turn and listen to my body and I'm learning to listen to his. I am taking some lessons as I never really rode english before so I figure we are learning together. He is absolutely the best stress relief/therapy I could ever have asked for and I'm so grateful to have horses in my life again!