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Ready for the wedding
(Molly in the foreground)

A number of years ago I would pass by a herd of Belgian draft horses on my way to work which were in a poorly kept, run down pasture. They seemed thin and uncared for and a couple of times I stopped and gave them carrots. In late spring one of the mares dropped a foal which concerned me as the mare looked very thin to begin with.

I inquired with the county's Animal Services Department to see if anyone was aware what the status was of these animals and I was informed that they had been put there as a result of an animal cruelty case, their owner was supposed to care for them, he had not been doing so for some time, and the matter was being attended to.

Little did I know that our neighbors, the DeBorbas, were looking for some draft horses to publicize their DeBorba Hay Company, and lo and behold they purchased three of the horses; Molly (the dam), Millie and a stallion.

We took Millie in for training and after the DeBorbas bred Molly again, they sold her to my friend Don Mello. We went in together and bought a hitch wagon and for a year or so, drove Molly as a teammate to our gelding, Dan.

This arrangement worked out very well as the more experienced Molly helped guide the inexperienced Dan through learning what being a good driving horse was all about.

Driving near the ranch
When Don first picked her up, she had been in pasture for several months and hadn't been handled, and we knew she hadn't been driven or ridden for years, so we put a saddle on her to see what she would do. Molly had some of the best natural self-carriage I'd ever seen, but she was a bit difficult to steer and had no idea what a leg aid meant. If I tapped her with my right leg, she'd fire back with her right hind. If I tapped with my left, she'd fire with her left. If I tapped twice, she'd fire twice. Don and the other spectators were howling with laughter.

This situation seemed a bit disconcerting to me since I'd been bragging about draft horses at a local barn and had accepted a challenge to put Molly in the upcoming saddle horse show at Brentwood Oaks. We had only four days to "tune" Molly up!

At the saddle horse show

Molly was up to the task. She took ribbons in the three western classes we had indicated we would enter. Back at the trailer we noticed that Sharon's English saddle which she used on Havilynn the Clyde was in the trailer, so we outfitted Molly for English (for the first time ever) and made it back to the ring just intime for the English classes. Molly ribboned there also and the show secretary told us not to worry about paying for the last minute entries; the demonstration was worth the price of entry. (Unfortunately some of the saddle horse people, especially those on expensive TBs and warmbloods, were very incensed with having to compete with, and in some cases being placed behind, a 16 year old plow horse!)

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Hansons' Wedding

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