|Ember Serene 1976 – 2000
by owner, Laura Algranti
(Ember Medallion x Rosemont Gay Bess)
It is difficult to know where to start, so perhaps the beginning would be best. Dave and I were looking for our first Morgan and found a breeder not too far from us. After visiting Ember Morgans, we had decided on a 10-year-old mare and were finalizing the sale when Bill George told us we really should have “that big filly in the back.” Dave went back to look at her better and after nearly an hour I went to look for Dave. He had gone back there, looked into her huge eyes, fallen in and never did come out. Serene and he were bonded in an instant and that lasted for all time.
Serene was 4 years at that time and had very little handling. So Dave, who had ridden only one horse in his entire life, began the training of a big, strong and opinionated horse. If this had been a normal situation, it would never have worked. But nothing was normal with these two and so it worked wonderfully. However, she did quickly earn the nickname of “Bull”, as in “This horse it trying to Bull you over!” And Bull she was—she lived life at “Full Bull Ahead!” She had three speeds—fast, faster and go-like-hell! She did not compromise, she just did.
Dave got her going under saddle. She did some interesting bucks; he stayed on. She did some stampedes; he rode as fast as she could run. They had discussions over which direction to go—left, right or maybe both at once. They ran into the middle of one of the native California “large shrub/small multiple-trunked trees” and got sorta stuck. They ran through a lemon tree grove and got whapped by branches. They nearly ran over the top of a hapless Appaloosa who was in Bull’s way. That was all in their first year together. Things settled down after that as they started taking longer rides, usually at fast speeds. And Dave would bring her onto our patio for her bath and she would stand there with no halter on while he hosed and washed her.
In April 1983, shortly before we moved to Sage/Red Mountain, she had her first foal, SSM Dream Fire, whom we still have. In 1990 she had SSM Zebulon Bulrush who also still lives here. Serene did like this place better as it was larger and had more riding possibilities. She and Dave quickly found a nice twelve-mile route, up and down the ridge, that suited them very well and so they had their weekly ride of 2 hours or less. Yep, still Full Bull ahead. If Dave met a neighbor, he had no more then 30 seconds to say hello. Bull did not believe in stopping to visit! Every so often I would meet up with someone who would ask if that were my husband streaking by on his fast horse. Over the years, the route changed as they lost access to some of the roads and later due to Bull’s age, but she always knew her route and her preferred speed.
Dave and her almost always rode alone mostly because no one could keep up with them. Serene had sublime disregard for any other horse luckless enough to try to follow her. She just kept going and let the other labor along in her wake. She most certainly was not going to slow down and wait for anyone. She was very surefooted, never taking a misstep over the most rugged terrain. She had her routines before and after a ride, which were honored. And she was boss of the one-acre lot where she lived.
She loved Dave. He would walk out, saying “Where’s My Sweet?” and she would be at the gate with her special nicker. If they weren’t riding, he would halter her & throw the lead over her back and she would tour the property, visiting the other horses. She was very vocal and would talk softly as she went. Somehow, she always ended up in the barn, to eat some hay. That last day, Dr. Heistand and I had been with her for some time. I had called Dave home from work and when he arrived, she heard his voice and her head went up, her ears went forward, her eyes got bigger and she nickered at him. Dr. Heistand told her that yes, her person was here now. It was the last conscious thing she did in this world before the painkillers and tranquilizers and later the grinding pain took over.
It took two of us for this horse—Dave to let her spirit and soul soar by riding with her the way she wanted to, and me to tend to her daily needs and be there when Dave could not. The gifts she gave us, both in her life and in her passing, are inestimable and still being realized. But in the end, she chose to leave; she had to. The years of fast running and trotting on hard ground took their toll on her legs; stocking up was indicating heart problems; and there were other physical limitations happening. She could not compromise; she was always Full Bull Ahead. So when the colic happened, it was major and fatal. She is buried near the place she spent nearly all her life. We will create a Serenity Garden there with roses and a plant I got just three days before her death, a Spanish Bulrush.
For twenty years she was a foundation in our lives, a focal point. I have never known another horse like her and never will again.
Laura Stillwell Algranti
Sunrise Song Morgans