At some point after my relapse I remember saying to someone “Why don’t they have a Make-A-Wish thing for adults?” I was mostly being sarcastic, but in some ways over the past few weeks I have had a Make-A-Wish experience of my own. It all started when I decided to send an email to a well known horse trainer and reiner Stacy Westfall. Stacy really came into the public eye in 2006 with 2 big accomplishments. The first event was becoming the first (and so far only) woman to win the Road to the Horse competition. The second was when she won the Freestyle Reining at the Quarter Horse Congress, becoming (I believe) the first person to do so both saddle-less AND bridle-less.
I first became really aware of Stacy around 2009 when I saw the video of her 2006 saddle-less, bridle-less reining ride. I was stunned. It’s still hard for me to watch that video and not have tears come to my eyes, it’s just so beautiful. Anyway, I started following Stacy’s blog late last year and after my cancer came back something in my gut told me to reach out to her. I’m so glad I did. We emailed back and forth a bit and she ended up sharing my story on her blog.
Fast forward a bit to late July and I learn that Stacy and her family are going to be spending a few weeks at Miracle Mountain Ranch. My jaw dropped. I spent many summers there as a kid and it’s just down the road from where I live. I immediately emailed Stacy and we decided to meet. Since we weren’t sure if I’d be able to come to her, she came to me first. It was great to meet her and we spent a few hours just sitting and talking in my mom’s living room.
We discussed me visiting up to MMR, both as a trip down memory lane and as another opportunity for me to see her, but weren’t sure if my health would allow it. Well I mustered up all the pain medication in my arsenal and made that trip happen this past Sunday afternoon.
I’m so glad I did. It was a full day for me, but worth every moment. One of my old camp counselors who is now married to the Executive Director of the camp was also able to spend the afternoon with us which was so great! We started out with her giving us a tour (via car) of the camp as it is today. The updates they’ve made since I was a camper are fantastic. The barns are beautiful and they even have a new cushy public bathroom facility.
After the tour we met up with Stacy and Jesse (her husband) in the main horse barn. Here I got to meet a couple of Stacy’s horses including “Popcorn” which is the horse that Stacy won the Road to the Horse competition with. I also met one of the daughters of the mare she rode in the saddle-less, bridle-less video.
After spending a few minutes (which unfortunately is about as much as I can handle) at the barn we found a comfy spot to sit and chat for about an hour. It was overall an amazing experience. I guess you could say I made my own wish happen, but it was more than just meeting a “celebrity”. It was an experience in the kindred bond between believers that will transcend this lifetime.