Many of you have asked us how we selected our farm name. It is based on the book Watership Down which is a political satire involving talking rabbits. It also happened to be a favorite book of one of my best friends growing up. I would always make fun of her because, while I was busy reading Nancy Drew, she was acting all grown up with WD which was definitely above our 4th grade reading level. Who wants to read about talking rabbits anyway?
This friend was one of the original four "barn rats" growing up - myself, Amy, Annie and Erin. Erin and I became friends in preschool when we would play Star Wars together and be twin Princess Leas. Erin began taking riding lessons before I did, and one night, we ran into her and her mom at the IGA. Erin was wearing her breeches and had just come from a riding lesson. I had been riding during the summer at camp and had since been begging my parents to take weekly riding lessons. Erin's mom gave my mom the scoop and Erin and I were off and running, taking lessons together with a fantastic trainer. We met Annie and Amy a short while later when they began taking lessons as well. Of course, Erin and I were a little territorial and leery of them at first, but the four of us soon became inseparable at the barn as well as in school. We played sports together and had the same group of friends. Then, of course, there were those endless hours spent at the barn cleaning stalls together (probably for 40 cents an hour), riding, getting ready for horse shows and competing.
Our horses were great. Mine was (and still is) the adored Wolf, a big black Mercedes Benz who took care of me more times than I can count. Amy owned Fulton who could be a handful but lived up to his show name "Heart of Gold." Annie had the wonderful horse named Victor who was actually an Appaloosa and sometimes referred to as Hayseed by those of us who loved him. Finally, Erin rode Briar who was an amazing school horse and somewhere over 20 years old. You turned the two of them loose on a cross country course and they were very aptly named Erin Utke riding "And She's Off." Erin was later able to purchase a beautiful bay thoroughbred named Stormy.
The book Watership Down took on a very personal meaning for all of us when Erin was killed in a car accident when we were 16 years old. I chose this as the name for our farm in her memory because I wish that everyone who is able to ride horses enjoys them as much as we did.
To those of you who are already fortunate enough to have found your way to riding, I wish for you the very best friends in the world to enjoy it with