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A Masterpiece and a Hero

by Natalie Wright

 I have been blessed with the opportunity to call the world's greatest pony mine.  He has no pedigree and he is no show horse but to me he is everything you could ever ask for and more.  Below is the speech I gave in class when I was asked to write about my hero and the person I most admire.  I think you will see why I choose him.

 Heroes come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and walks of life.  When you hear the word hero, what do you think of?  Do you picture a soldier, a firefighter, a doctor, or a teacher?  Do you picture glory and medals?  Or do you see the stranger that rescued the child’s balloon or the woman that saved the orphaned kitten from cold nights on the street?  It is those that fall in the later group that tend to receive the least amount of recognition but make the greatest impact.

His name is Casey and he is far from gallant and dashing.  He has never won a trophy and he has never had a holiday named after him of a statue built in his honor but to me he is the biggest kind of hero.  He is short and a little plump with the softest, most sincere eyes you have ever seen.  He has had many broken bones and torn muscles.  He also has scars you can’t see from years and years of mental and emotional abuse.  He was a victim but he is also a survivor.  Casey grew up on the wrong side of the track in the hands of the wrong people.  He was supposed to be a champion racehorse but after a broken leg and torn tendon, he was considered useless and left to die.  By the time he was five years old he had traveled down four different career paths and lived in seven different homes.  In the summer of 2003 I was blessed with meeting the plucky white pony and I knew immediately that he had more to offer than he had been allowed.  After a year of begging, I finally purchased him and we began our new lives together.  I had known from day one that he was my hero and over the next two years he proved himself over and over by taking children on their first pony ride without incident or allowing an elderly rider to sit astride without fear as they reminisced about horses that had gone before.  It wasn’t until the crisp fall of 2005 that I realized how amazing this battered pony was.

Every year the Central Kentucky Riding for Hope program hosts a fundraiser trail ride at the Kentucky Horse Park.  That year a dear friend of mine had started a job with the program and was eagerly introducing me to her fellow teachers and students.  One mother came over to talk with us, pushing her son’s wheel chair as she came.  I had assumed my usual stance with my arm draped over Casey’s neck but as the chair approached I straightened so I would have better control in case he spooked at the strange piece of equipment bumping toward him.  I needn’t have worried and faithful Casey never flinched so in a few minutes we were talking again as friends do.  I had almost forgotten that I had the poor horse in tow when the chatter died almost instantly and all heads turned to look at the little boy and my pony.  Casey was standing very still with his head in the boys lap and had his eyes closed completely enjoying their moment together.  The boy was mumbling softly and was stroking Casey’s face as best as his hands would allow.  I stood in complete awe of the pair.  Casey was very head shy from the years of abuse and had never before allowed a stranger to get close to his ears.  I turned to the boy’s mother and all she could do was smile through her tears.  The boy hadn’t uttered a sound in months and had been declining rapidly.  The doctors had suggested horses as a last resort and in a happenchance moment, the world had been righted by a sweet white pony with as many problems and scars as those he was healing.

For those of us that saw that quiet moment between a boy and a pony, our lives have been impacted forever.  Since then there have been many other children and adults that have been saved by this pony with a jaded past.  I have taken my friend to clinics and fairs around the country sharing his story and his love with people of every kind.  It was one day that I was telling of his many bumps and bruises to yet another crowd of admirers that a small girl asked what his big boy name was.  I explained to her that he didn’t have one; it was just plain old Casey.  He mother quickly spoke up and said, “Well, I don’t care what imperfections he has, he should have a fancy name for such a special pony.  He is God’s artwork, a masterpiece.”  I couldn’t have agreed more.

I said before that heroes come in all sizes, colors, and shapes.  This one is a little different looking than most but he is a true hero for the ordinary people.  He is a fighter, a survivor, and a lover.  And now he does have his very own set of papers to prove he is special and a new big boy name to go with them.  To his new-found fan club his is known as KC Masterpiece but to those whose lives he has changed forever, he will always be just plain old Casey.

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