Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, December 5, 2020

MVNews this week:  Page 10


Mountain View News Saturday, December 5, 2020 


As a youngster, I begged my parents to let me 
have a horse. I had several other pets - dogs, cats, 
bunnies, chickens - and I spent lots of time at the 
local barn riding and playing with my friend’s 
horses, but my lifetime dream was to have a 
horse of my own. My father was a Christian 
missionary, so we were not exactly what you 
would call financially wealthy. But when I think back on those days growing up as the baby of seven with 
limited monetary resources, it amazes me that I never realized how poor we really were. It never seemed 
to mattered because my parents always ensured that we had everything we needed, and most importantly, 
we were wealthy in love.

My mother sewed most of my clothes, my father did all the yard work and home improvements himself, 
and we kids were expected to perform chores to earn our weekly allowances. My six siblings and I never 
experienced a lack of affection or compassion in our home that I remember, so I guess we just assumed we 
were as “rich” as any one else. In retrospect, I now realize what a wonderful childhood I had.

At the age of 13, my father finally broke down and bought me a pony. Unbeknownst to me, he’d been 
watching the classified ads, hoping to find a horse that we could afford, and he’d come across a Welsh pony 
for sale at a nearby farm. The owner wanted $75 for “Coco”, and even at that rock-bottom price, I know my 
dad was going out of his way to accommodate my desire to be a pony-owner.

Coco came with nothing more than a halter and lead rope, so I learned very quickly to ride bareback and 
handle him without the force of a bit and bridle. My sister, Vicki and I had so much fun doubling up on 
Coco and traipsing about the rural parts of our neighborhood, riding on the local mountain trails and 
playing in the back woodlands surrounding our town. Those are some of the best memories I have from 
my youth and I would trade them for nothing.

When I realized how much responsibility went into owning a pony, it was a rude awakening for me. 
Every day after school, I had to go out and call Coco in from the field, rope him and bring him back to 
the barn, groom him, clean out his stall, feed him, and let him rest a while before I could finally enjoy the 
fun of taking him out for a ride. Coco was a bit of a curmudgeon, if you know what I mean. It was often a 
challenge and somewhat of a physical work out to perform the daily ritual with him at the barn. 

Eventually I learned that Welsh ponies are known to be head-strong compared to some other equines, 
requiring more patience and loving discipline than most, to help keep them in line. According to my 
memory, I suppose I did OK working with Coco, considering he was my first pony and I had little previous 
experience with horsemanship and all that went into it.

One thing I know for sure, is that I bonded with Coco almost immediately when I brought him home, 
which made it easier for me to be patient and understanding when he tried to buck or kick. Little by little 
the two of us had an understanding of what to expect from each other and how to make the relationship 
work for us both.

Caring for Coco and learning about his way of thinking was such an important part of my life as a 
youngster. My folks used a good balance of encouragement and discipline in raising us kids, and I was 
lucky enough to have had an excellent school education, but there is nothing like working with a horse to 
teach a human how to live gracefully.

All these memories flooded back to me when I watched the documentary, “BUCK”, a bio-pic focused on the 
life of a gentleman named Buck Brannaman, who inspired the story behind the film, “Horse Whisperer”. 
I remember seeing “Horse Whisperer” years ago, when it first came out and being very impressed and 
emotionally affected by the story, but until I watched the ‘Buck’ documentary I had no idea that the “Horse 
Whisperer” had been based on a real life character named Buck Brannaman.

“Horse Whisperer” is about a man who has a unique ability to communicate calmly with horses, and he 
uses that ability to train and handle them in a very humane manner. Ultimately, the character in the film 
succeeds in bringing new life to not only his equine subjects, but also to the humans who are involved. 
It was such a heart-warming story for me because it validated what I always believed to be true about 
the relationship between humans and other animals. If we, as humans are willing to take the time to 
understand the mind and heart of other species, we are far more apt to succeed in living our lives with 
grace and dignity, among all species. 

Many important lessons in life are learned while sitting in a classroom with curriculum, but some of the 
most important lessons can only be learned by spending time in a dusty field under an open sky with 
beautiful beasts of burden who have ages of knowledge to share with someone who is ready to listen. If we 
have the desire to know, and the willingness to communicate patiently and calmly, we will benefit greatly 
from what horses and other animals have to offer. I don’t know about you, but I am on a constant quest 
to learn from the animals, and I believe one must communicate calmly and show due respect in order 
to gain age-old knowledge that comes from the heart of a horse. Thank you, Coco, and thank you Buck 
Brannaman for sharing your excellent examples of a way of life for others to be inspired by.

“Chase in Charge”

Just look at that magnificent 
face! He’s bold and brave, 
but a softie for head 
scritches! Chase is okay with 
other kitties, but lets them 
know he’s the one in charge. 
He would probably not be 
comfortable with young 
children and we are not sure about dogs. He would be 
purr-fect for an adult or two, and where he can rule as 
the king! Chase is about 3 or 4 years old, healthy, and will 
come already vetted and neutered. To apply for Chase, visit our website’s Adoption 
Procedures page at

Happy Tails

by Chris Leclerc

Pet of the Week

 Bear is such a joy! This ten-year-old 
sweetie is gentle and easy to please, 
with great manners. She’s a mellow dog, 
but gets excited about going for walks 
and the prospect of getting treats. A 
typical day for Bear includes following 
her favorite person around the house 
or napping nearby, interspersed with 
bursts of wiggly playtime – she’s so well-
rounded! She’ll even hop up on the bed 
for cuddles if that’s what you like, but 
will stay on the floor if you prefer your 
bed to be dog-free (but honestly, how can 
you resist morning snuggles from such a 
cutie?). Bear is looking for a relaxed adult 
household without other pets so she can 
be your one-and-only favorite friend.

 The adoption fee for dogs is $140. 
All dog adoptions include spay or 
neuter, microchip, and age-appropriate 

 New adopters will receive a 
complimentary health-and-wellness 
exam from VCA Animal Hospitals, 
as well as a goody bag filled with 
information about how to care for your 

 View photos of adoptable pets and 
schedule a virtual adoption appointment 
at Adoptions are 
by appointment only, and new adoption 
appointments are available every 
Monday at 10:00 a.m. for the following 

 Pets may not be available for adoption 
and cannot be held for potential adopters 
by phone calls or email.

TABLE FOR TWO by Peter Dills


OK, this kicks off my Holiday Bubbly series! When 
most of us think of Domestic Wines we tend 
to go to California first, and why not, we have 
many wonderful regions of wine producing areas; 
Temecula, Santa Barbara, Central Coast to name a 
few, but for me it’s the Napa Valley. First let me 
remind you that Champagne is a region in France 
and only those wines produced it that area can 
be called “Champagne”. Although, the wines of 
Napa Valley are usually produced using the same 
“methods” as our friends in France. I have one 
Sparkling wine worthy of starting our Holiday Series: Mumm Napa Prestige. 

Mumm Napa Prestige is a blend of grapes combining 45% Chardonnay, 45% Pinot Noir and a small 
amount of Gris and Meunier grapes, all out-sourced exclusively from Napa area Vineyards. However, 
don’t let the term “out-source” make you hesitant to try it! Most recently, many popular wines that you 
purchase now “out-source” some juice to ensure the right flavor, and then blend during the winter. 

Sparkling Wines and Champagnes have long been a favorite in the Dills’ household, many people believe 
that Bubbles are for a special occasion, my feeling is everyday is that occasion! Mumm Napa goes 
wonderful with Salmon, Oysters, BBQ’d or grilled chicken, but for this tasting, I had fresh sourdough 
bread and butter! Enjoy with a Champagne flute 
and watch the bubbles flow from bottom to the top 
with light-speed. I mentioned last week that many 
supermarkets are having sales on wines, check out 
the Vons on Sierra Madre for their version of a 30 
% off sale.

Dills Score

We start with a base of 50. I have added a 10 for 
color, 7 for the aroma or “nose” 10 for the taste and 
an 11 for my overall impression including value. 
With any Sparkling Wine or Champagne there isn’t 
much time to swirl, but often when you are at a fine 
dining establishment they will let you taste before 
you proceed with the bottle. Dills’ tip, if there is 
that distinctive *pop* when opened, combined with 
lively effervescent action including plenty of bubbles 
and the cork expands, it’s good to drink! 

Dills Score 88.

Listen to my latest podcast!! 

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