A Ranchgirl's Promise

First of all, I would like to say thank you for the warm welcome I received here from our Farmgirl readers and bloggers!  I am so excited to be here with you!

Many years ago, back where we lived in Southern Utah, we bought a little two year old Quarter Horse. We had a terrible time coming up with a name for her and so we decided to sit on it for awhile. In the mean-time my husband voiced a few times that he thought she had a lot of promise. Well… before you know it, he was calling her Promise and it stuck.


Our son showing Promise as a two year old in a Western Trail Class.

She’s a funny horse and I thought you’d enjoy her “story”.


Our daughter and Promise at our home in Utah.

Where we lived out West, in our little acreage in the desert that bordered the Grand Staircase National Monument, she had a large horse corral with room to walk around and a barn to get out of the weather. She was ridden frequently and was a very happy and content horse.  Life was just how she liked it.


A little sheep herders cabin near our previous home in Utah where my husband and son loved to ride.

If you’re at all familiar with the Southwestern desert of Southern Utah, you would know there are few trees and even fewer blades of grass. A lot of tumbleweeds and lots of nice pink sand! So Promise grew up with her breakfast and supper delivered to her morning and night in the form of the very best alfalfa hay and grain. Every day we topped off her water trough and always made sure the water in the trough was fresh and clean.

The corral next to the sheep herders cabin.

After we bought our cattle farm in Tennessee (but years before we actually got to relocate to it) we would say, “Promise will be so happy when she gets to graze that green grass and have freedom to run all over the farm”.


My husband and I and our little grand-daughter, Jillian, at our old home in Utah.

The day finally came when we moved. I cannot possibly even describe to you what we went through with that horse. It is a miracle we didn’t lose her. First of all, she had never had to graze before, she had never even seen green grass, so eating was a real problem. Obviously we had brought hay from “home” for her to eat during the 3 days of travel across the United States and we had some left over so we tried to slowly wean her off the alfalfa to the luscious grass. She would not eat the grass. As in… Would. Not. Eat. It. We had no choice but to just stick it out until she finally decided she had to eat.


The evening we pulled into our farm in Tennessee – 2000 miles from “home”.  

The next huge adjustment was that we had no barns or sheds or structures of any kind on our farm and she had never in her life been around trees. She had some kind of a mental block about getting under the trees for shade and protection. There are amazing woods on our farm, but she refused to go in them. We moved in April so by the end of May when the humidity hit she just stood in the hot sun with her head hanging to the ground and the sweat pouring off of her.  She paced the farm, refusing even to lay down.


She yearned for home. She would go to the horse trailer and stand and since we didn’t have any structures yet, my husband was using the back of the horse trailer to store his tools. So every time we would open it she was right there ready to jump in.


Is it just a coincidence that she was always looking “West”?

But the bigger problem was water. She was used to nice fresh water. Certainly NOT pond water that she had to walk to the bottom of a steep hill to drink. Our pond is amazing with rain water draining into it and constantly filtering out the other side, so the water is actually quite clean and fresh. Promise refused to drink. We had no other source of water on the farm yet.


Our pond in Tennessee.

But Promise had a little something on her side that was the motivating factor to get her out of her “depression” and helped her adjust and eventually enjoy her new life. That was Belle, our Australian Shepherd dog.


Promise, relaxing in the warm Southern Utah sand with Belle, who decided as a six week old pup that Promise belonged to her!

I’ve run out of time now… and this is a long story. Come back in two weeks to see how Belle saved her horse!

(Don’t you just hate it when you’re left hanging?)

Until our gravel roads cross again… so long.



  1. Love the story of Promise! So glad I took a minute to read. Will be on pins and needles waiting for “chapter 2”. 🙂

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Thanks for reading Deb. Come back in two weeks to read the “rest of the story”! (We’ve got the great horse stories from our childhood together don’t we??!!) Hugs to you dear friend – Dori –

  2. Maureen says:

    Oh, you’re tugging at my heart! Can’t wait for the next installment! Welcome!

  3. The personality traits of animals can be downright perplexing at times. Within my herd of milk cows, the range of traits is mind-boggling. What a sweet story to read this morning … and with a little suspense thrown in! I enjoyed the photos of S. Utah, my old stompin’ grounds. Love, love, love the desert and miss it, especially when I see photos. Mainly I miss the smell, the quiet, and the amazing array of desert flowers that grow there in the early, early spring. I can relate to Promise’s homesickness.

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Mary Jane – We do miss it at times too. My husband says that what he misses the most is taking off on his horse and riding for hours and never seeing another living soul. Here in Tennessee it’s quite a bit different. And yes, there is a certain smell and quiet that you don’t get anywhere but the desert. – Dori –

  4. Laura Hill Parker says:

    Loved this story! Since I knew some of it, it was even more special to me. So excited for you and your family and that beautiful farm in Tennessee. And a Mary Jane blogger – awesomeness. xxoo

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Laura – thanks for reading! Did you see Blueberry standing next to Promise in the corral at the old sheepherders cabin? – Dori –

  5. Colleen says:

    Thanks for sharing this story…I look forward to the rest of it. 🙂
    Animals are a great part of life.
    We miss you here in UT. too.

  6. Deborah says:

    Oh My,
    I can’t wait until I get to hear the rest of the story. Actually I printed out what you did write and I am going to read it to my two boys when I get home.
    Kind regards,

  7. Betty Benesi says:

    I thought it is so interesting that Promise keeps going back to the trailer. She is one smart horse. I have had 4 horses and they were all very different so I am thoroughly enjoying your story!

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Betty, horses are such an interesting breed are they not – I can imagine you would really notice it with four of them! Thank you for reading! – Dori –

  8. Pam DeMarrais says:

    Welcome aboard! This post is delightful! You have reeled me in. Looking forward to the sequel!

  9. Kay (old cowgirl) Montoy says:

    Hi Dori,
    I loved the story and the pictures also. When my Husband and I were first married (second for both of us) we decided to do the South West. We took our camcorder along and all you can hear me say is “Oh, the red ground is just beautiful”. All through the taping. Coming from an area that is coverd in sagebrush, rocky hills, and when traveling a few miles, mountains area with fir and pine trees, it was quite a sight. We went to Bryce and Zion and I fell in love with the area.
    Promise is such a great name. She looks like a Chestnut Sorrel is she? Thanks for the story and I will be waiting for the finish.
    This old cowgirl

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Kay, you were not far from where we lived! Isn’t Bryce Canyon just amazing? And Zion also – but Bryce is just so different. Yes, Promise is a Chestnut Sorrel! Thanks for reading and commenting! – Dori –

  10. Deb says:

    I loved this! I look forward to chapter 2! Like Mary Jane, your post made me homesick for my desert roots too. There’s nothing quite like the feel of the wide open space that is the West. Being a northern Nevada girl for 40 years, growing up trail riding in the hills, ( not seeing another soul for miles), the smell of sage, and the sound of gravel crunching beneath my feet are imprinted on my soul, just like Promise! Sometimes, I pause and look to the West, just like her. I still get homesick for my Nevada home, especially this time of year. Perfect timing for your post! I’m so happy you are here to share your stories and spread some of that Western sunshine you brought with you to Tennessee! You are a natural born ” Ranch” farmgirl and a wonderful writer too! Farmgirl Hugs! xo Deb ( your beach farmgirl sister)

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Deb, you know what is really weird? I don’t think of myself missing the West too much… until I go home to New Mexico and then it really hits me. And I guess what I notice the most are the BLUE skies! 🙂 I’m happy to be here too. Hugs- Dori –

  11. joyce says:

    You are a delightful storyteller! Can wait to read the rest of the story!

  12. Cindy says:

    Great story! I,m waiting for the happy ending ! Adorable pup!we have a farm in Boise Idaho and we have a kitty we named Gypsy! She wandered in through our hay field the night we got our baby goats! She lives out with our three goats in their pen and our garden! We also built a goat house! She love those goats and it is so darling! Animals are the best! From one farmgal to another! EIEIO! That’s my Odaho license plate! Ha! Bye for now! Cindy

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Cindy, I love to hear stories of different animals loving each other. It is rather incredible isn’t it? Love your license plate! 🙂 – Dori –

  13. Karin says:

    I love this. We live in Missouri and when we moved our horses, they experienced the same type of STRANGENESS…. All have gotten use to their new world but dear old Doc. He is the hold out but due to his age we have catered to him. He talks to you everyone morning expressing his feelings on life before being fed his favorite grain… I cannot wait to hear the rest of the story…….

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Karin, oh poor Doc. And yes, we found ourself catering to Promise too…. (more on that in the second half of the story! Ha!) And I can relate to that “talking to everyone, expressing his feelings”! They certainly know how to do that!!! 🙂 – Dori –

  14. Pam says:

    Can’t wait to hear the rest of the story! Two of my favorite things-Utah and horses! (I’m sure I’d love Tennessee too)
    Thanks for sharing your story!

  15. Alexis Romero (Lexi) says:

    Don’t just love our pets and the entertainment they provide!

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Alexis, boy do they ever provide entertainment!!! My husband and I sit out on our porch and watch our cows all evening sometimes! – Dori –

  16. Beverly says:

    Hi Dori….What a beautiful family you have, both two-footed and 4-footed! I’m looking forward to the continuing saga of your beautiful Promise. Just curious….are the leaves turning in Tennessee? Hugs!!

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Hello Beverly, Thank you for your sweet comment. No, the leaves are not turning yet in middle Tennessee where we are. I bet they will be soon in East Tennessee in the Smokies. We hope to get a trip there sometime in the next few weeks. If we do, I’ll be sure to post some pictures! – Dori –

  17. Ann Visser says:

    How fun to run into you in Utah, then Texas, and now here!!

  18. Maxine says:

    I’m finally getting a chance to sit down long enough to check your new writing spot out. How delightful, and I’m looking forward to more!

  19. Emily says:

    Oh Dori, you are a wonderful writer! I can just imagine how Promise felt moving to a new land. So many changes. Interesting how animals have the same emotions as humans.
    As always, I look forward to hearing the rest of the story!
    You take care.

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Emily, It is so very interesting how animals are so human like in so many ways! Thanks for following me here too! – Dori –

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