As interest in Archie (registered name Titan Up) continues to grow, his fans are asking me about my decision to turn his life into a book (Archie’s Tale: Life as I Saw It). Well, as my website slogan says, it just happened.
Dianne and I are staunch fans of Clinton Anderson, a renowned horseman we met and befriended many years ago. The Method, as he calls his training technique, has been the mainstay of our small horse operation since we first saw Clinton at one of his Walkabout Tours in Las Vegas. As a result, we have attended nearly every version of his training clinics at his Downunder Horsemanship facility in Stephenville, Texas. It was during one of those visits that we first saw the young stud-horse named Epic Titan. He was only two years old then and one of many horses Clinton had in training. Simply stated, we fell in love with that horse! Years later, we had a chance to breed our mare, Dance, to Titan and quickly seized the opportunity. That’s where Archie’s Tale began, but neither of us knew it.
Titan is a magnificent and very different sorrel and white paint. Dance is an attractive buttermilk buckskin. While Dance was in foal, Dianne and I developed high expectations about our future baby horse’s markings because of these variations in colors. We envisioned something that would stand out in the horse world, a colt with lots of colors and different, like Titan. We were so sure of it that we often boasted that our foal would be among the prettiest of all of Titan’s offspring. We even installed barn cameras to capture video of the live birth of this star to be.
Last spring, while Dianne showed one of our geldings (Kola) at a horse show in Florida, we got a frantic call that our foal had been born early. Shocked but excited, we quickly accessed our video system to see if we had captured the birth of what we hoped would be a one of a kind foal. Unfortunately, Dance had managed to avoid sharing her privacy, but we could see the newborn and tell that our dreams had not come true. Additionally, our attendants back home were concerned about how Dance was acting toward her newborn and had summoned our vet to assess the situation while we packed to return.
We were happy that the birth went well, but disappointed when we got home and saw the foal. Dance had given us a colt (male), half of our wish, but no color, just a common sorrel with a white mark on his forehead. Worst of all, she was not letting the foal nurse. The vet said that she was rejecting him, and we would have to make sure he nursed enough until she calmed down. He asked us to keep a journal of what we did and how often we did it for his use. We were worried, but agreed and began our round the clock vigilance. It was something that neither of us had ever experienced, much less expected. We were exhausted after the first week. Where had our dreams gone?
At about 2 am one morning, it just came to me that I should take our notes and attempt to tell Archie’s story. Dianne had encouraged me for years to write, and mostly she wanted me to write a children’s book; I had never taken her seriously. That night, though, it just happened, and I began the Archie’s Tale series.
Today, we wouldn’t trade Archie for anything. And I must admit that we are ashamed of our earlier bouts of disappointment. He’s growing into a beautiful and brilliant horse with an outgoing personality. Dianne has him already going through The Method, and you can easily see him progressing. We can’t wait to see how he continues to mature and develop.
More about Archie to come in future blogs and books. The second book of the series should be available early 2021!
Thanks, everyone, for your interest and support.
Archie with his surrogate mother, Charlene.