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Dalwhinnie: August 30, 1995 - February 6, 2008

Sire: Always Run Lucky
Dam: Puddin by Merkur
15.3 H Chestnut Gelding
Partner: Tori Lamb

Truthfully - when I was first told that Dalwhinnie would be my horse - I was terrified. He was big, held his head up high, and looked a bit mean.

Despite my initial fear, I started working with Dalwhinnie. Kelly was giving me lessons on him, and these lessons consisted of doing what we could (walk, and if we were lucky, a little bit of trot), until Dalwhinnie just stopped moving forward. I remember a day where it took three of us taking turns trying to get Dalwhinnie just to trot (I can't even remember if we actually succeeded or not!). I could tell that this horse would be a challenge.

Once Dalwhinnie was comfortable moving forward, it seemed as though that was ALL he wanted to do. This was the faze in which he thought that 'taking-off' was just the most fun a horse could have! And a few bucks here and there just made it extra exciting! This is around the same time when Dalwhinnie started refusing jumps - there were obviously a few things that we would have to work through together...

Dalwhinnie and I grew more and more together, and eventually were able to do more things. He was responding better to me, and I was listening better to him.

But trail riding was a completely different story! For many rides, there were few occasions where I could leave the safety of the riding ring, or the arena, and not get thrown (throwing me was down to a science for Dalwhinnie! If he wanted to - he knew how).

Dalwhinnie was a bit of a handful - but he was by no means a bad horse. Dalwhinnie and I worked together more, and in the last year and a half, we were going on trail rides (frequently, and a few times we went solo), I was taking him to horse shows, my dad was riding him in polo, and all in all, we had a lot of fun together!

Dalwhinnie and my first show together was a very small hunter show, at which we were jumping only cross rails (and we had many refusals). With each show, we improved greatly. There were fewer and fewer refusals (and eventually, refusals were never an issue - even if we did jump all of the jumps in the first course from a stand still!), and we were even getting in the ribbons! He confidently went over the courses, and was obviously having a blast. One day, we even went in a bare-back class (in which we had to do a posting trot - a new experience for the both of us!) and we went home with a third place ribbon (and big smiles!). Dalwhinnie and I had a lot of fun showing together, and I'll always have those memories. Dalwhinnie and I improved tremendously in the show ring, to the point where people couldn't believe that it was the same horse that they'd seen the year earlier acting very...Green? Spirited? Young? Spunky? He was a new horse!

Another of Dalwhinnie's newer accomplishments was polo. At first, Dalwhinnie just tagged alongside Cappachino whenever he and my dad went to a match. This was just so the Dal and I could have the experience of riding in a new environment (actually, the first time, Dalwhinnie and I stood in the middle of the field, and he reered straight up!). In a very short amount of time, I was comfortable getting on Dalwhinnie right away and doing walk, trot, canter around the field. I even picked up a polo mallet a few times (although Dalwhinnie could kick the ball better then I could hit it). Soon, dad started taking Dalwhinnie to polo matches. Dalwhinnie was very calm, and was getting pretty comfortable with the whole thing fairly quickly. Dal, dad and I all had a lot of fun at polo together.

Another accomplishment of Dalwhinnie's was trail riding! When we started out this Spring, dad and I would go out (dad on Rapport, and myself on Dalwhinnie) and count the number of times that they spooked. And believe me - we had some pretty high numbers! Starting at just a walk, we slowly started going farther down the field, and also started adding some trotting. Soon, we were galloping alongside the field, and going all the way around the trails (Dalwhinnie especially liked going through the river - he loved to splash!). I was also able to ride alone outside with him (on the trails as well), and also jump him outside. All summer, the majority of our rides together were outside. This is a long way from where we began.

A week before Dalwhinnie passed away, we jumped 3'8" together (although he cleared it by a bunch - so really it was more like 4'!!). This was the highest we'd ever jumped together. And boy did he ever love to jump! You could see it in his face whenever we were jumping together - this was what he wanted to do! We also would have a lot of fun together bareback riding (we were able to do walk, trot, canter together), and we had a blast chasing each other around the arena when I had him loose. He loved to race around, bucking, and playing with me the whole time!

Dalwhinnie would have been 13 on August 30th, but his life was cut short after breaking one of his hind legs in the paddock. Dalwhinnie and I had many incredible experiences together, and he truly was my best friend. We laughed and cried together, and I will never forget this fun, intelligent, and kind horse. He touched many hearts, and gave us many wonderful memories. I have so many more stories that I could tell about Dalwhinnie - but to some up; I loved Dalwhinnie, and I will always cherish the time we spent together.

We'll always remember you Dalwhinnie - we could never forget such an amazing horse.

~ Tori Lamb


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