By American Quarter Horse Journal editor Andrea Caudill
The Garth Brooks song “Unanswered Prayers” talks about how, sometimes, the greatest gifts we can get are the ones we don’t even know we need.
Tamara Jameson of Surrey, British Columbia, has experienced that in the past few years, with a wild ride filled with personal dedication.
It all starts a handful of years ago, when friends provided her an opportunity to be around horses.
“I’m from the city, and fell in love with the country,” Tamara says.
She started out leasing and showing locally, then bought her first horse, Cuz Im Purdy, in 2013. He helped her step up to breed shows, and they went twice to the AQHA West Level 1 Championship Show. In 2016, she tragically lost him.
“When I lost him, I was not wanting to do it anymore – it hit me really hard,” Tamara says. “I decided I’ll just keep the two I have at home, maybe I’ll show again, maybe I won’t.”
She still spent time at the barn of her trainer, Dianne Rouse, and Dianne asked her to work with a brown yearling that bore a strong resemblance to her first horse. Tamara at first dismissed her, but Dianne was persistent, and eventually Tamara started playing with the young gelding. The trainer saw a connection develop, even if she was the only one who knew it.
“I was longing him one day, and she said, ‘Put your horse back in his stall!’” Tamara remembers. “I said ‘What are you talking about?’ “
Even if Tamara didn’t know it quite yet, she could thank God for Unanswered Prayerz – the registered name of the horse who would turn out to be her new show partner. She signed the official transfer in 2017. Bred by Angela Finegan of North Plains, Oregon, the double-registered horse is by RL Best Of Sudden and out of the A Good Machine mare A Colorful Machine.
“It’s been a journey for me, since I lost a horse I worked so hard with,” Tamara says. “To have something brand new and start over, it’s been interesting and cool, because really no one has ever been on his back but me, then to get him, as a 3-year-old, to do showmanship, and trail and western pleasure has been cool.”
Tamara, who works as a vet assistant at a veterinary clinic in Surrey, keeps her horses at home, and trailers to Dianne’s place about once a week for lessons.
Tamara calls the horse – what else? – “Garth” and is showing him in a variety of classes, including western pleasure, showmanship and trail at the AQHA West Level 1 Championship. Learning to handle and train a horse has been a challenge, but a welcome one.
“It had its ups and downs,” she says. “Some days were really good, other days I just wanted to give up. But Dianne was there to push me and keep me going. ‘Don’t give up, you’re going to want this later on, you’re going to feel so good about having one you started yourself instead of sending him away.’”
There were bad days – like the time the young horse got too excited when asked to lope off and deposited her in the dirt – but also a lot of good days. Through it all, she kept the faith.
“Now realizing what I’ve been through with him, it was well worth it,” she says. “I’m very happy with my accomplishments with him.”
Their group drove about 24 hours one way to show in Las Vegas. She is stabling with Haley Russell of Aldergrove, British Columbia, who is showing her horse, Blazin Hot And Sheik (aka “Markus”) in all-around classes.
Tamara adds that she has enjoyed training Garth so much that her mare at home is bred for a 2020 foal that she intends to train from the ground up.
She gently pats her doe-eyed brown gelding, who pokes his inquisitive face out in welcome.
“He’s pretty goofy, he’s a snuggle bug,” she says. “He reminds me of my old horse, he has kind of a clown attitude….”
I guess the Lord knows what He’s doing, after all…
AQHA News and information is a service of the American Quarter Horse Association. For more news and information, follow @AQHAnews on Twitter and visit www.aqha.com/news.