Coming to Vista Verde and riding with Terry Wegener has been on my bucket list ever since he left the lowlands of Colorado to work in those beautiful mountains. I grew up seeing Terry at horse shows and idolizing him. Since you know him, I shouldn’t have to explain why: his knowledge of horses, his quick wit, his positive attitude, and the way he spoke to me like an equal (event though I was a kid) engaged this shy introvert, who barely spoke to anyone. That he would notice me and talk to me, when nearly everyone else forgot I existed amazed me.
Fast forward to when I graduated college. I didn’t see Terry for several years. And then events tied together in only a way that God can weave, and I found myself taking occasional reining lessons from Terry on a naughty POA that I had purchased. Even though I had spent considerable time learning the fine arts of dressage, that POA had no intention of ever being a dressage pony, so I needed help to make her a reiner.
However, in the midst of what should have been great fun—finally riding with my long-time idol—I found myself in the darkest time of my life, as I struggled with crippling depression. As I began to confide in Terry, he became a beacon of hope in my life when I had none. While I also got counseling from my pastor, my “horseback counselor” had words of wisdom that I heard nowhere else. He literally saved my life many times by figuratively pulling me back from the ledge, when I felt my life was not worth living. After each lesson with Terry, I would have hope to continue on for a little while more.
When Terry told me he was going to leave to work at Vista Verde, I was devastated. I cried for two days. I knew that he very much wanted to make a life change after his heart attack, and I knew he had not made the decision lightly. I was joyful for him, but despondent for me. What would I do without Terry’s help?
Through a series of miraculous events, that I have not the space here to tell, God showed me that while I may not have Terry to counsel me anymore, I always have God. He is more than sufficient to battle my demons. I have been freed from depression’s ugly grip.
Terry knows all of this, because I’ve told him. And my initial desire to ride at Vista Verde for Terry to help me has changed to a desire to celebrate with Terry how amazing God is, and how grateful I am to Terry for all he has done for me.
As a part-time teacher and part-time riding instructor, I lack the finances to pay for a vacation at Vista Verde. I have read many stellar write-ups on the ranch, and I have no doubt a visit is worth every penny, but my penny saving has been interrupted by emergency vet bills and other life emergencies. Winning this vacation would enable me to fulfill a wonderful dream.
I have a health condition that makes it challenging for me to be in the cold, but I know you have a heated indoor arena, so that should not be an issue. For any time I would not be riding, I’d try to convince my husband to cross country ski with me, or maybe we’d just sit by the fire and eat some of that wonderful cuisine I have heard about. Probably, though, I would just pinch myself, not believing that my dream had come true.
Name: Trisha Swift