The November issue of Horse Illustrated has come out and what a thrill to see two letters about my stories from recent issues in the Feedback section on page six. One of them praised the magazine for including a story called “Happiness is a Haflinger” in the September 2011 issue. While writing the breed profile, I interviewed a handful of happy Haflinger owners who event, drive, vault and trail ride their marvelous cream-colored equines. The story (September 2011 cover HI) included a profile of All-Tell RVM, aka “Teddy,” a dressage horse and all-around star performer owned by Rachel King, owner of Deer Haven Farm in Lexington, KY. Deer Haven’s head trainer, Emilie Goddard, is also the very talented artist who painted the Haflingers in the watercolor above.
Max & Chico, photo by Eliza
The happy Haflinger in my family, a charming little pet named Chico, inspired the idea for the story. Chico lives with us here in the Midatlantic but is owned by my aunt, Bridget Buck. I have never met a member of the equine community with a sweeter personality and get up and go than Chico -- he's the kind of hot little driving pony who hits the road trotting yet loves to snuggle. Chico came to us almost two years ago, not long after my horse Windy died. His curious and gentle nature soothed the soul of a horse-loving boy, my son Max, who suffered an enormous loss when Windy died suddenly. While Chico loves his big Potomac, Maryland pasture, I often feel like he should come home and be rolling around on the living room floor with the boys and the dogs in our house.