By Kristi Baker
Impressions M L painted Kristi Baker’s dreams into vivid reality.
In southeast Missouri the stars are so close to the ground you feel like you can reach up and touch them. They look like a glorious masterpiece in the sky—a place where dreams come true.
As a child, teenager and into adulthood, the dream of one day owning a beautiful horse burned in my mind, but life always seemed to get in the way. The turning point in transforming my dream into reality came from the wise words of my grandfather just a few months before his death.
“Honey,” he said, “You need to follow your dreams while you still have the youth to do it.”
“But dreams take money,” I said.
“If God agrees with your dream, he’ll show you the way,” my grandfather replied.
And so, at 35 years old on the limited budget of an Arkansas teacher’s salary, I began my search.
For Sale: Dream Horse
My first purchase was a bay Quarter Horse mare who taught my daughter and me how to ride. She was kind, athletic and eager to please. In the show ring, she would get you just close enough to success to leave you hungering for better. Perhaps an even bigger role she played in our lives, however, was gently leading me to my first encounter with Impressive M L, an APHA Superior All-Around winner who proved to be a force in shaping my future with horses.
At a local barrel race in 1996, I noticed a magazine on the entry table that belonged to a friend and decided to return it to her. I sat down near the arena while my daughter and friend warmed up their horses and flipped through the magazine while I waited. A small ad in the back caught my attention, and my heart fluttered:
“For Sale: 1989 Sorrel Overo Stallion. APHA Champion, Performance Versatility Award, Superior All-Around Champion. Superiors in Halter and Reining, 9 ROMs.”
As an art teacher—even in Quarter Horse country—how could I hold being a Paint against him? I made a call to his owner, Jack Jackman of Clewiston, Florida, as soon as we got home.
Jack told me “M L” stood for Mr. Lucky; he talked about everything his horse had done and took my name and address to send me photos. Then, I asked him the question every seller dreads, “What is your bottom dollar?”
His reply hit me like a knife in the pit of my stomach—it was far more than I could afford. I thanked Jack for his time and quickly hung up. How in the world could I ever come up with that kind of money?
Then, I heard my grandfather’s voice as if he was standing there beside me, “He will show you the way.”
Over the next few weeks a series of unusual circumstances occurred, falling into place like dominos guiding me down destiny’s path. First, I was approved for a home-improvement loan; two days before construction began, an acquaintance showed up at my doorstep and offered to do the work at a fraction of the original estimated cost.
Then, my best friend from high school who lived several hundred miles west of me called. Her sister, who lived in Augusta, Georgia, several hundred miles east of me, was dying of cancer; my friend couldn’t get away to see her sister and asked if I would go in her place. Eager to help, I said yes.
Meanwhile, the photos of Mr. Lucky arrived in the mail. My heart stopped when I pulled them from the envelope; he was the most magnificent horse I had ever seen. Conformation, athleticism and pedigree, with the bonus of beautiful color!
Next, a friend who had recently bought a brand-new horse trailer with living quarters offered to lend me his trailer if I decided to buy Mr. Lucky. Another friend pulled up in my driveway and offered to buy a few acres of land I owned at a price I couldn’t refuse; selling the land gave me the remainder of the money I needed to buy Mr. Lucky.
Soon after, Jack called and offered to send Mr. Lucky to a friend of his in Augusta, Georgia, so I could try him out. Now, I had two good reasons to go to Augusta.
Devine intervention, it seemed, was showing me a way to bring this horse into my life. Soon, Mr. Lucky came home with me.
This is an excerpt from the full article—get the whole story in the Winter 2017 Chrome magazine, which is sent to all current APHA members. Not a member? Join or renew at apha.com/join.