Tammy’s Sable was a birthday gift. She was a Standardbred horse born for racing. I guess most would consider this an odd sort of gift, but to me, it was the best gift ever. She only cost $550.00 because she was tiny, though- not as tiny as the little one above- but tiny. Everyone ridiculed me for wanting her. I didn’t care.
I loved her like she was a big and talented racing horse. The funny thing was, she moved like the wind and she had a heart as big as a big horse. Her small size made my partner comfortable. I was new to training harness racing horses. As a matter of fact, I really didn’t know how. One day I was at a continuing education meeting for my veterinary license. The speaker was a whale trainer from Sea World. I find most seminars boring, but I will never forget this one.
The trainer – who trained whales to jump out of the water with him standing or sitting on their noses- mentioned training racing horses and what to do while training them. I decided that if he knew how to make whales do what he made them do, I would do what he advised about training racing horses. I did and it worked. Tammy was my guinea pig- so to speak.
She raced so well other horsemen wanted to buy her from me. They would tell me how they watched her jut her head forward, flap her lower lip, and pace away. I enjoyed watching my horse, but it was pretty nice to know others did as well. She was so small our driver told us he had difficulty keeping her from sneaking under the arms of the start car before the start car passed over the start line to let all the horses go. She won at the racetrack and at county fairs. She raced for 5 years.
The announcer would make comments like, ‘Here comes little Tammy Sable with her legs just a churning,’ and ‘Watch out, there racing Shetland ponies out there tonight,’ and ‘Here comes Tammy Sable to the winner’s circle- making her driver look ten feet tall’ because he was a shorter man. I never met that announcer, but I wanted to tell him that was MY horse he was talking about that way. I know he was just having fun and so was Tammy.
One race I told her driver to not let her get locked in- she needed to be out on the outside of the pack of horses or she would be trying so hard to race she would hurt herself. No one believed me until they drove her. She won a race in Delaware, Ohio leaving the gate first and came across the finish line first- I was so excited, you would have thought we won the Little Brown Jug- the race like the Kentucky Derby for harness horses.
One particular night another horseman bragged all day his horse could not be beat that night. We were in his race. A groom walked by me and Tammy in the race stall and I heard him loudly say, “DID YOU SEE HOW LITTLE THE FOUR HORSE IS?” We were the 4 horse. I covered Tammy’s ears and told her she was going to have to ignore all those guys and beat them all tonight just to show them all she was not just the littlest horse in the field tonight- she was the best. When she raced, she was so small we couldn’t see her behind the other horses, but when she made her way around the last turn, we saw her little nose out in front and those little legs were a churning and her lower lip was flapping and she pulled away from all the boys and all the big horses as she led the pack down the last stretch and she was first over the finish line that night. Everyone saw how little the 4 horse was that night.
She was my Tammy from Miami- this was my little pet name for her when we exercised. I think of all the fun we had and how she was just my little tiny birthday gift.
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