Sixteen years ago horse owner Kathy Reasor was boarding one of her mares off Cottage Avenue when the horse went into labor.
Kathy’s daughter just happened to be checking on the mare during her lunch break when suddenly she found herself helping to deliver the mare’s foal.
The foal–a paint horse which is a breed that has combined characteristics of a western stock horse with pinto spotting patterns of white and dark colors was officially registered under the name of Double Dip Chick but was given the barn name Annie due to her sweet nature from the start.
“She was the prettiest thing in the pasture, a real sweetheart and we spoiled her because she was the only foal around,” said Kathy.
For five years Annie was the princess of the pasture and held a special place in Kathy’s heart but then the economy took a hard turn and changes had to be made. While many people during that tough financial time were faced with decisions such as short selling their homes, Kathy was faced with having to sell some of her horses.
“When the economy went to heck I couldn’t afford as many horses as I had. The cost of hay went from $7 a bale to $12 and $13 a bale, it was hard.”
Kathy found herself in a position she never wanted to be in, having to choose between selling her little Annie or her beloved Arab horse, “My Old Man” who she has owned for a very long time. As hard as it was, she opted to sell Annie but comforted knowing that the buyer was a woman who had a young daughter who was taking riding classes and would take could care of Annie.
With Annie gone but not forgotten, Kathy spent the next decade caring for “My Old Man” and her other horses, enjoying every moment particularly on tough days when she needed a little down time.
“I could have a really bad day and then drive up and hear their nicker and instantly feel relaxed,” she shared.
Fast forward to this past December when Kathy was on winter break from her job with the Manteca Unified School District and decided to browse the web.
“One day during Christmas break I was bored to tears and so I went on Craigslist. I’m always nosey about horses on Craigslist and so I was searching around when I spotted a picture of a horse for sale. I recognized two dots on the horse’s nose and thought, that’s got to be Double Dip Chick (Annie).”
Knowing that the marking on Paint horses are like finger prints with no spots alike, Kathy contacted the unknown seller and asked for a full body picture of the horse that the seller called, “Malibu.” Kathy hoped to compare the Craigslist picture with the photo she had of Annie from years prior.
As she carefully compared the two pictures, it was clear that all the spots lined up. To be sure, Kathy and her daughter paid a visit to the seller’s property in Marysville and tracked down the horse by foot over 160 acres while it was raining. Eventually she spotted the horse whom she believed was her Annie, roaming with a few other horses. When she caught up with the horse, Kathy took a few careful steps towards her and then, as is protocol when gaining a horse’s trust, Kathy slowly turned her back and took a few steps away. True to the animal’s nature, curiosity caused the horse to join Kathy where she was and allowed Kathy the opportunity to examine her more closely.
“Annie had a trailer accident once and I knew she had a scar on the back of her leg. I thought if this horse has a scar on the back of her leg then for sure it’s Annie.” Kathy gently ran her hand down the horse’s leg and found the scar.
Kathy was beyond excited and couldn’t imagine anything greater than being reunited with her Paint horse until she learned that two of the horses she had seen roaming with Annie were actually her babies and the seller wanted mother and babies to be sold together as a package deal. Kathy was over the moon with feelings of joy however she had to find out if her husband would be willing to take on three more horses.
“My husband always says that he only wants 8 hooves on the ground at one time. We already had 12 so I wasn’t sure if he would agree,” she said.
He did agree but with the understanding that they would eventually have to find homes for Annie’s babies so they wouldn’t over extend themselves. Kathy brought sweet Annie and her two babies home and quickly found a good home for one of the babies but is hoping her husband will reconsider having those extra little hooves around now that her Arab, “My old Man” is close to 26 years old.
Whether the baby stays or not remains to be seen but one thing is for sure, not even a bad economy and 10 years could keep Kathy and her horse Annie apart.