Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Wando Wanders Home

While I’ve let Turf Beat go quiet recently as I prepare for Darley Flying Start, I couldn’t go without mentioning the homecoming of Wando.

On July 17, Wando returned to Schonberg Farm from Lane’s End in Versailles, Kentucky, where he stood his first five seasons at stud. For those who don’t know Wando (you’ve obviously had your head buried in the sand…er, Polytrack? but nonetheless…) he is owned and bred by Gus Schickedanz, and is the last winner of the Canadian Triple Crown, a hat trick he achieved in 2003 for trainer Mike Keogh.

For me, there is no other horse (or human), like Wando. I won’t go through the tiresome story about how as a 15-year-old fan I gained the friendship of Wando’s human connections and went on to work for both Schickedanz and Keogh. That’s not the real story here. The real story is the feeling I experience each and every time I see Wando.

It’s not something that words can do justice, and it can only be really understood by someone who has felt the same thing. It’s the lump in my throat as I take in his spectacular aura, and the butterflies that flutter about in my stomach when I touch him. As I let my fingers caress his coppery coat, I sometimes have to fight back tears as I attempt to understand how such a fantastic animal can be so serene and loving. Something in me jumps to life when I see my Wando. I can recall once being particularly sad and visiting him. While nothing made any more sense, everything somehow seemed to be ok.

Just last week while spending the night at the farm, I wandered to the stallion barn to visit Wando. I found him snoozing near the door. Slipping inside, I wrapped my arms around his withers and pressed my cheek against his neck, staying this way for at least 10 minutes. Wando didn’t so much as twitch a muscle.

It’s hard for me to write about my horse without gushing and ranting on, so I’ll wrap this up. I just want to say, I’m glad Wando is home, and I hope I get to spend many more special moments with him.

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