My ‘ol gal

My ‘ol gal

Queen of the Farm





Susquehanna Squall

but usually just known as Squall

And what is a Squall-


// ]]>squall pronunciation /skwɔl/ Show Spelled[skwawl]



a sudden, violent gust of wind, often accompanied by rain, snow, or sleet.

a sudden disturbance or commotion.
–verb (used without object)


to blow as a squall.

1690–1700; perh. special use of squall2
Back in the early days… if you were riding her as a storm was getting ready to roll in… you might was well un-tack at the first sign of wind… or you were in for a ride…  she was not fond of a lot of wind to put it bluntly.

She’s independent.  Friendly on her terms.  An ‘ol set in her way thoroughbred mare.  Quirky.  Mellow compared to most thoroughbreds, but with her own individual neuroticisms.   She’s my girl.

She was gifted to me through the 4-H after I lost my first horse to colic.  On December 13, 1992 she stepped off the trailer, almost into my lap (I was supposed to save her from all things scary), and into my heart.  After, I’d lost my beloved P.C. to colic, I didn’t know if I could ever love another horse like I’d loved my big rangy, red dun gelding.  P.C. loved life and was silly and goofy.  (Ironically he’s not that much unlike my Remi horse is today.)

P.C.’s registered name was The Party Crasher.  He was a CPO registered Appaloosa with a Thoroughbred dam and Appaloosa sire (who was 1/2 Quarter Horse) and he lacked most traces of his Appaloosa heritage.  Before he was sick, his coat had a metallic sheen and sparkled in the sun.  He was the perfect horse to be my first horse… a great personality… a love bug… a sweetheart… and just enough greenness to teach me and certainly not enough to be unsafe.

P.C. & me... him sporting a champion from a local show & me sporting helmet head...

I strived for us to become a team.

He was my buddy.

Back in the day... I jumped... ignore the horrendous jumping position... I was a kid having fun with my horse... no lack in motivation but quite a lack of talent...

I always wondered how he got the name The Party Crasher.  I guess the ultimate irony was when he crashed my party.  P.C. was young when I met him… I believe 4.  P.C. & I were supposed to have many years together… with him being a 1986 model, it is feasible that he’d still be here today.  But life took us down a different path and he died at age 7 of colic.  In reality he’d only been healthy for the first year or so that I owned him and then he came down with re-current colic episodes.  Back in those days, they didn’t have the diagnostics and the cause wasn’t revealed till after his death (hiatal hernia).  I equated our time together with Garth Brooks song “The Dance”

Looking back on the memory of
The dance we shared beneath the stars above
For a moment all the world was right
How could I have known you’d ever say goodbye
And now I’m glad I didn’t know
The way it all would end the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance I could have missed the pain
But I’d of had to miss the dance
Holding you I held everything
For a moment wasn’t I the king
But if I’d only known how the king would fall
Hey who’s to say you know I might have changed it all
And now I’m glad I didn’t know
The way it all would end the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance I could have missed the pain
But I’d of had to miss the dance
Yes my life is better left to chance
I could have missed the pain but I’d of had to miss the dance

I’m so glad that we had “the dance.”

I was heartbroken over his loss… I was  a teenage girl who’s horse was the love of her life.  Boys schmoise… they break hearts… not horses… you could count on a horse (well most of the time)…

Anyway… when Squeally came into my life, I never thought I’d fall in love with her like I did P.C.  It took some time, but my elegant bay mare wormed her way into my heart.  Never did she take P.C.’s place, but I loved her in a different way.

Squall has been with me since I was a senior in High School.

Squall- head shot

Conformation shot

And yeah... I still jumped in those days...

You can see my leg position never improved any...

On occasion my sister would ride her.

My sister riding her again... my sister had the equestrian physique and form but lacked the desire... me I had plenty of desire and no talent... funny how life does that. I'm the one who still has horses and she doesn't have any interest in them anymore.

My sophomore year of college, Squall came to Iowa.

Squall & me - circa 1995 (photo courtesy of Shannon T. Rodgers)

Squall & me circa 1995 (Photo courtesy of Shannon T. Rodgers)

Boy did my opinionated thoroughbred mare HATE the cold bitter wind…  We’d go out out down the gravel roads together… usually for pleasant rides… but then there were the occasions where a woodpecker scared her batty (she heard the noise and didn’t see anything… I did say she was slightly neurotic…)… and the time when an over-exuberant pony got her to bucking and I did a face plant on the road… Mostly my fault… I wasn’t letting go of the reins 2 miles out and somehow I forgot to protect my face… my nose still bears some scars from that one… and I broke an “unimportant” bone in my nose.

Later Squall broke my finger in a trailer loading fiasco.  Ms. Squall set in her ways would sometimes get on the trailer and sometimes not.  We once walked her home several miles when she wouldn’t load.  Occasionally she’d fly backwards out of the trailer… that is how my finger got broken… John insisted we go to the ER… and I was glad when the doctor verified that I hadn’t done the novice mistake of wrapping the rope around my hand (a BIG NO NO!!!).

In Iowa, we dabbled in dressage… training level and first level.  We had no business riding first level… I guess ignorance is bliss… but we worked diligently trying to learn lengthening and some lateral work.  Poor gal… I wish I’d known more back in the day… we could have went so much further…

Such a pretty mare... so elegant! Not that I'm biased or anything...

Halt, Salute

Squall at Iowa Games

Life is a learning process… sometimes you learn the hard ways… sometimes it is easier…

Along the way I got dumped on my shoulder and had to deal with a chronic injury that occasionally still flares up.  Don’t get the wrong idea… 90+ percent of the time she was a great mare and very safe… I just happened to get the majority of my horse injuries with her (knock on wood).

So… after college and a short stint at a job, I returned home to MD.  Bringing Squall with me (after she argued for two days about loading on the trailer)…

After John & I bought our property she moved to Leaky Creek- where for the first time in her life she was truly happy.  Everywhere prior she was always a bit un-settled… and not at peace.  She was always on guard… and never truly relaxed… not till Leaky Creek.

More on Squall next post… it’s getting “late.”


About Mary K. Smith

I was widowed in July 2009, when I lost my beloved husband, John, to melanoma. Cancer SUCKS. We have a young son who was just a year old when his father died. I live on a small farm in Maryland which is home to horses, cats, and a dog. I started this blog as a way for me to heal, a way to remember my husband, and eventually I'd like to share it with our son so he can see the love that his father had for him, the love that we had for each other, what a great person his father was, and how hard his father fought to live.
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