Marika was blessed with the the literal gift of a horse by her dear friend and mentor, Gill Grafton. Gill and Marika have shared a love of horses and riding since they met at least 15 years ago at Huntington Ridge in Holly, MI. At the time, Gill was the most respected rider at the facility and owned two large stallions. Those two horses were feared and respected by many and Gill was careful to let only certain capable riders work them. Marika became one of those trusted riders.
Fast forward, Gill went to medical school and became an advanced cardiologist. Marika, similarly mentored by Gill's encouragement, went to medical school and has chosen her own medical specialty.
Marika now lives in Chicago with her boyfriend and Gill remains in Ann Arbor with her husband and young son, Graham. Gill and Marika have kept in touch and visit one another whenever Marika is in Ann Arbor. Marika has missed having a horse and dreamed of the day she could own one again.
Enter Gill and her generous spirit. Together, Gill and Marika looked at many videos of horses coming off the racetrack and available for sale. They found Nico at a Pennsylvania racetrack, liked the way he moved in the video, paid the asking price and shipped him to a barn in Chicago near Marika.
Nico will be a "project" horse for Marika and Gill. Together they will support his needs and Marika will begin the slow process of training him to be a hunter/jumper for competitions.
This photo captures the joy Marika feels when she is near a horse and in the tack room of a barn. I don't think Nico can even begin to imagine how much he is wanted, needed and going to be loved at this time in his young life.