Determination, Courage and Hope in a Plain Brown Wrapper

Today’s post is by guest author Nancy Stephens. I mentioned Nancy anonymously in my previous post, in a wonderful example of karma, our paths crossed because we were both helping a neighbour who had been unable to care for her horses after falling and breaking a leg. That Nancy should agree to write a post and such a good one, is deeply appreciated. It brought tears to my eyes as I am sure it will to yours, enjoy it and think about her message.

Plain Brown Wrapper

courage and determination

Nancy on Excuse Me

The first time I saw him, I looked sceptically at a small, plain, brown horse with a ratty mane and tail, questionable soundness. He was as fat as a seal. Was he to be my “race horse project”? I wanted to attempt exhibition races on a Standardbred harness horse trained to saddle.

Over the next two years, he taught me how to race.

He taught me that with heart, courage and dedication, even when you are hurting or tired or when everyone has given up on you, you can prove them wrong. You can set records, you can make someone’s dreams come true, you can make someone believe in themselves.

You can be loved, admired and cheered for.

When the crowds are gone and it’s just you and your special someone, your bond can be unbreakable, your souls united.

He taught me to treasure every moment with the special beings in our lives, because the time is all too brief – even if it spans decades.

His name was “Excuse Me”. Before I knew him, he had earned Horse of The Year twice in London, Ontario. His racing career was long and hard, his legs had paid dearly. Still his spirit and determination allowed him to race for me in exhibition saddle races 11 times. He won 8. The 3 we lost were due to rider (my) errors. For 10 years in his retirement he was my buddy, my trail guide, my “uncle” to foals.

Always gentle. Always humble. Always a sparkle in his eye.

When the vet said “He can’t get comfortable”, I let him go. It was one of the hardest decisions of my life, but I know it was a gift for him, and a small one at that considering the hundreds of hours and the dozens of life lessons he taught me.

Inside plain brown wrappers are some of life’s greatest gifts and most profound lessons. I hope you are fortunate enough to have some plain brown wrappers to open.

Authors bio:

Nancy Stephens is an accomplished horse-woman, who specialises in providing natural horse care through Chiropractic manipulation, Massage and Natural Diets. She is continually learning new ways to provide the best quality of life for our equine friends. She lives on a farm in South West Ontario with her husband, 3 horses and 4 cats. She can be contacted through the contact page on this blog.


Wishing you an extraordinary life.

Peter Wright


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  2 comments for “Determination, Courage and Hope in a Plain Brown Wrapper

  1. Roberta
    May 25, 2013 at 10:46 am

    What a touching and inspiring story. And so true. Some times the best gifts are unexpected ones – the ones you do not see coming – as Nancy said – those wrapped in a plain brown paper bag wrapping.

    Thanks for sharing your story about the special bond between you and Excuse Me.

  2. Don
    May 29, 2013 at 8:01 am

    Very touching…

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