A tribute to my good friend...<3
Long read but totally worth it by the end!!
It could not be clearer that Tammy is still with Rhett and me. Here's our sign!
Most know the story about how Rhett and I found each other. My good friend and fellow horsepal, Tammy Moody, knew about a lipizzan cross, Darly, available for adoption from the Lipizzan Rescue Foundation in Tennessee. And he happened to be about 15 minutes from Tammy's home.
She knew I was beginning to even think about starting the search for my next partner to bring through my natural horsemanship program. I was looking for a nice addition to my other partners, Sarah, Koda and my hearthorse, Sage.
Three of us 'always together BFF horsie girlfriends' journied from GA and FL to meet at Tammy's for a long weekend to meet 'Darly' in person. But also catch up on past happenings, spend some much needed girl-time together, laugh, eat and swim in the pool and enjoy Tammy and Jeff's hospitality.
As you know, it was love at first sight for Darly and me. Or at least for me it was. I believe I thought to myself, "Don't worry horse, I can fix you."
Famous last words!!I carefully completed my LRF application to adopt Darly, really knowing nothing about the lipizzan breed or this horse's full story.
Two months passed and I was approved. Arrangements were made for me to come and pick Darly up. Tammy insisted I come up to her place the day before, even though she had a horse clinic underway and a housefull of participants.
I drove 6+ hrs from South of Atlanta to north of Nashville and I went to see Darly as soon as I arrived. I told him what we were going to do the next day. I left there feeling we would be heading home mid morning the next day.
I arrived the next morning, Thurs, at the fosters ready to load Darly and go. Best laid plans.
We didn't leave TN for almost 3 days. He would not/could not get in the trailer. He threw everything at me a scared, worried, angry horse could muster. Sunday, Day 3 of attempting to load and leave, Tammy and 3 other friends from the horse clinic, took their lunch hour to come over and help me load Darly.
With four like-minded people encouraging him, we were able to load him in about 45 minutes!
Early afternoon Sunday, I left with Darly to head home.The 6 hr trip turned into 8 hrs as I ran into near stopped traffic in Chattanooga and Atlanta!!
Fast, fast, fast forward to Darly becoming 'Rhett' and our very humble beginnings. Tammy knew before I did that Rhett found me for a reason.
She knew he was destined to teach me things I didn't know about. She knew he was the change I needed and wanted.
She was always one of our biggest cheerleaders as we picked our way slowly down this new path. Lots of texts, messages, emails and phone calls between us about where Rhett was leading me.
It was in one of those conversations that one of us, and I truly can't remember which one, said... "it's like you're coming 'home', you're finding your true north with horses".
It was all coming together, I was finding my "True North", in my own horsemanship and in my teaching.
Rhett was guiding me everyday and soon, I saw the other horses had been guiding me this direction all along. It just took hearing it in a different way for it to become clear.
I wrote the story about my and Rhett's journey and how I was finding myself for the 'United States Lipizzan Federation Magazine Spring 2019'.
I called it 'Finding True North in Finding Rhett". If you would like to read the article, cick the below link! https://documentcloud.adobe.com/link/review...
When Tammy passed away in Feb 2021 after a short illness, Rhett and I grieved, as did her family and all of her friends.
A Celebration of Life service was held April 24, one day after Tammy's 58th birthday, for her family and friends in Ocala with the 3 BFF's front and center.
Tammy's husband, Jeff, who endured and put up with these three visiting BFF's taking over his house 3 or 4 x a year for days and weeks at a time, brought Tammy's handmade jewelry for us to go through and pick out what we wanted as a rememberance of Tammy.
Making this jewelry was Tammy's passion for a phase of her life. Many nights of having grilled suppers and slow sipping drinks, after a full horse day, found us making jewelry with Tammy. Most of the time, we'd have to take our project to her to fix for us, as we weren't anything as practiced as she was. It was important to her and to us that we share her passion.
What Jeff didn't realize when he brought her handmade jewery to the service, was how it would take the 3 remaining BFF's straight down memory lane, recalling nearly every piece of the jewelry she made, for herself and for us, and the special meaning it, perhaps, held for each of us.
The very first piece of jewelry I saw, hanging on the racks just like in her house, was a small round pendant.
It was silver and gold on a silver chain. It was one of the only non-handmade pieces on the overflowing jewelry racks. It sparkled with the light coming in the window.
I reached through the mass of gems and stones and untangled chains and cords until I pulled out the pendant. I had never seen this pendant or seen her wear this piece.
There was a silver and gold compass on the front. The words "My True North" inscribed on the back.
WOW! It could not be clearer that Tammy is still here with Rhett and me, always in our hearts and in our memories.