Think back now, what was your best birthday present, ever? Easy one for me. Thirteenth birthday, I got my beautiful mare, Dusty. TOTAL surprise. We "went for a drive," and going down a dirt road, we saw one of our friends, Mike, riding the most beautiful horse I had seen in a while. She was white, with a snowy mane, but a black tale. Her head was so elegant! Dad stopped, and chatted with Mike for a few minutes, then asked me if I liked the horse. I said, "OH DADDY, SHE IS BEAUTIFUL!" Dad said, "I'm glad you like her. She's yours. Get out and ride her home!" I got on Dusty, Mike got in the car, and my young life was never the same again. I say that Dusty was white, but...she actually had pinto skin, and over the dark skin were very, very pale gray appaloosa spots. She had the typical appy eyes and striped hooves. We bred her a few times, and got some gorgeous foals from her. She was one of the best horses I've ever known, one of the rare ones who will adjust the ride to the rider. I could throw a 3-year-old up on her back, and she'd plod along like a tired-out plow horse. Put an experienced rider on her, and her front feet would start lifting in a prance and dance. I had Dusty until I was 25, when I no longer had time to really ride and spend time with her. She went to friends of my parents, for their granddaughter. They treasured her for another 10 years. She died peacefully in her stall at the age of 27 years old, much beloved.