1In memory of Indee, by Payton Hertel, age 12

 "Indee was the first horse I ever rode at WRR. I still remember my first day at the ranch and riding my beautiful girl. I remember that as soon as I got on her I was feeling on top of the world because she was one of the biggest horses in the class and I was expecting to have a nice easy ride with little work to get Indee to go. Boy I couldn’t be more wrong! Indee was probably one of the cleverest horses I have met and ridden. Each time you would miss a corner or be lazy with getting her to move boy would you pay. She would do tiny bucks and refuse if you showed any weakness. I think that the first time I rode her was one of my worst days on her. The next time I rode her I was going to ask Mark to switch but he was really busy so I thought I would suck it up for one lesson. Fortunately for me, I wasn’t in the mood to put up with her treating me like I wasn’t there so that’s when I finally started to take charge. Indee immediately listened to me and that’s where our friendship started. Each lesson I would want to be there as early as I could to spend time with my new best friend. After about a year in Jr. Beginner, Mark asked me if I wanted to move up to beginner. I was thrilled to be able to go out and fetch Indee and spend more time with her. Our first lesson in a new level went great together and got better from there. Soon I started to teach her to come when called and follow me without being touched or asked to. When I started helping with the pee wees, I would feel guilty cause each time I went out to fetch a horse, Indee was right there following me every step of the way. Even though she is now gone each time I go out I expect to see her right there with me nibbling at my jeans and rubbing her head up against me. Indee was injured a lot so I rode a bunch of different horses but Indee was the only one I’ve ever been assigned to. Finally after 5 years of ridding Indee, I asked Mark to lease her and about 2 weeks after I asked him he said yes. I felt like the happiest person in the world. Tragically, about a week after I started to lease her, she drew out lame for 6 months. Of course I thought it would be a quick recovery like the rest of her injuries but I was way off. The injury that she had led to her being put down March 26. During her months in the stall and me exercising her, I taught her to give me a kiss and mimic me, for example, each time I would lift my leg so would she and if I would shake my head so would my little Indee girl. Indee had many names from me like dorky, honey bun, my little girl, and of course beautiful. The best memory I have with her is the day that Susan told me Indee was a one man horse. She said that Indee is nice to every one of her riders but only truly loves one person at a time (of course she adored Mark over me) but I guess I got extremely lucky when that magnificent horse chose me.. The day I heard she was going to be put down was one of the hardest days of my life. I cried forever and I almost broke down when I went to go say my goodbyes. Mark said I could take her out in the outdoor arena and walk her around. I was trying to hide that I had just been crying but as soon as I got away from view I hugged Indee and started to silently cry. After a few seconds of crying I started to think about giving Indee the best memory with us before she died. As I walked her around, I let her drink water from the broken ice and shove her face in the snow. I never wanted it to end. I could have stayed there with her forever, but the 7th time I walked her around I started to lead her in. Before I exited the gate I took some last pictures and begged he r not to forget about me cause I knew that I would never forget about that spunky, beautiful, stubborn, and loving creature. When I put her in her stall I gave her some grain, an apple, and some peppermint treats and hugged and kissed her goodbye. When I walked by her stall she stuck her head out and nibbled on my jacket. I went back to stroke her soft muzzle and before I could do anything she gave me her little kiss that I taught her with no command. At that moment I broke down and shoved my face into her muscular neck. Before anyone could notice I ran outside back to my car and drove off, pinching my hand and hoping it was just a bad dream. I will always remember her as the free spirit that had the sweetest personality and the great big ego. I will forever love that horse even though she wasn’t fully mine.