The Value of a Cherished Life

By ACTHA Member Jan Poland
There's a man, one of my husband's work cohorts from twenty plus years ago, to whom I owe a huge "thank you".  My husband, being the furthest thing from a horse person, was tough to convince that Ashley, our daughter, needed a horse.  But this man told him that getting a horse for his daughter was the wisest decision he had ever made. 

 You see, this horse kept his precious daughter busy at the barn every Friday and Saturday night of every weekend and away from the influence of BOYS!   Need I say more?  Ashley got her first horse, and his name was Blend. 
The first time the farrier came out to our barn he asked, "Where is that million dollar horse?"
I just laughed, "He's nowhere near a million dollar horse!"
The last laugh was on me as the farrier replied, "Oh, but he WILL be!"  
Do you remember that "furthest from a horse person" husband of mine?  He has proclaimed the validity of that statement ever since.  With the expense of horse care, a farm, a truck and a trailer, tack, riding clothes, travel, etc., the cost of horse ownership adds up. But the benefits have far outweighed the cost.  Little did we know that the blessings from one of God's majestic creatures, with his influence on our lives and the lives of so many others, could not be touched, even with a million dollar price tag!  
Blend loved his little girl and they accomplished great things together!  They enjoyed competing in both English and Western disciplines and were rewarded with championships in the open, breed, and 4-H circuits.  The Ashley-Blend Team passion was not only fed through competition, but also through teaching horsemanship to others.  The strong 4-H leadership in our county also made it possible for them to get involved with therapeutic riding and Special Olympics.  This influence of head, heart, hands, and health has held steadfast for Ashley's service through this day.
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