The World of Living with Horses

For The Love of Horses: Leaving Miss Daisy

By Caroline Invicta Stevenson

My passion for horses took over when I was about 5 and old enough to feel and respond to a childlike passion. I was told we were moving – moving without my beloved Daisy, who we didn’t even own and who was shared by many other children like me at the pony rides.

I was devastated, heartbroken and unmanageable. I cried, stomped all to no avail. We just couldn’t leave Daisy, but we did. My nanny and mother tried to console me on the long car ride from California to Texas; I just cried more. I couldn’t live without Daisy, but I did.

We arrived at our new home, “Seven Oaks,” which turned out to be a real ranch where you could keep horses. I figured this out because when we got there, I found a donkey out in a barn with corrals. Wow, a real donkey to ride. Wrong. I tried and tried but Smokey would not go. I had a better ride on the drugstore pony.

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Finally, I thought I would bribe him with a carrot on a string attached to a stick, which I dangled in front of his nose. Smokey actually started to move in a slow clip cloppy way.

Smokey’s favorite trick was to cut through the tool shed and scrape me off on the side of the walk through door. Time and again I would try to steer him away from the shed and that door with the carrot, but trying to hold the stick and hold onto a very smart donkey while riding bareback got the best of me. So I decided to spend the rest of my time and energy dressing Smokey.

My favorite fashion statement was mismatched knee-high socks and aprons. I think he rather enjoyed this change of pace as I fed him many carrots that I bit into small pieces and hid in his apron pockets.

My stepfather’s sister was married to a real Texas Ranger. Uncle Dick came by “Seven Oaks” to meet his new niece who, he was told, was “horse crazy.” He listened to my sad tale of leaving Miss Daisy and when I showed him Smokey in his knee-highs and apron, I believe he saw the need for rescue. He asked whether I’d like to meet a Prince.

I spent the next few years in an inseparable bond with dear Prince. I ate, slept, read to him and, yes, rode him every way and where I could. I loved him and told myself there was a little girl who loved Daisy just as much in my absence.

 NEXT: A Prince to the rescue.

 

Caroline Invicta Stevenson

My career has taken me from the world of thoroughbred racing to the training of equine movie stars, with many stops in between. I designed several major equestrian centers in the Southwest. Most recently I was responsible for the day-to-day running of Las Campanas, a Santa Fe, NM facility I designed that became a benchmark for top equine centers nationwide. Today, I oversee, teach and train with my daughter, Sarah, at Invicta Farms in Nambe, New Mexico -- a full-service hunter-jumper barn.

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