Barn - (317) 416-8632
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Physical Address:
5129 N 600 W
(aka Mt Comfort Rd/Olio Rd)
McCordsville Indiana 46055
Lessons - Stacey Sheley
(317) 416-8632
Lessons - Lindsey Keeven
(317) 418-8933
Camp Director - Andi
(219) 296-8776
Please call between regular business hours.

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In Memory of Jack Wallin

A true friend and mentor

My family lived 2 houses down from the Wallin’s house in Illinois. My dad played with the Wallin boys when they were in school. In later years my brother and I would stop by and visit Mrs. Wallin. She was always very kind and had a beautiful garden and home. My favorite thing to do was to play with her wonderful miniature house. It had everything even working lights. We trick-or-treated at their house, played with their great dane and boxer.

In 1996 Jack, the younger son of Mrs. Wallin asked my dad if he knew anyone who wanted a job as a secretary. My dad called me and said Jack was hiring. I didn’t know Jack really well but I knew he was nice. It was a great deal so I took the job. Jack was dealing with a rough spot in his life and part of my job was to just make sure I helped him get everything done that he needed to do when he had appointments he needed to keep.

We had many wonderful conversations. Conversations about the things people do, what makes them do the things they do. We would listen to Dr. Laura on the radio and comment about the people and what she told them. This was a regular afternoon thing. On occasion he would ask if I would run down the street and get him a pack of Chuckles candy.

One slow afternoon I was drawing a picture of a horse and he asked to see it. He really liked it and commented on how talented of an artist I was. The conversation later moved into passion. His next words are words that I have kept hearing over and over for the last 14 years and will continue to do so. It was the most amazing thing anyone has ever said to me in my life. Jack was an eloquent speaker. He said,

“You have a passion for horses. You need to follow that passion. Passion is what drives us to do great things. Not everyone has a great passion, there is a reason you have such passion for horses. Go find out what it is that you are supposed to do with those nags and don’t waist your time on anything else until you find out why you love them so much. Don’t let anything or anybody hold you back. Staying here and doing meaningless jobs is not why you are on this planet. Never be a slave to anyone else, go be your own boss and go do your own thing. Whatever it is, it has something to do with your nags.”

This may not be a perfect quotation but the gist of it is there. That was THE permission for me to do what I wanted and needed to do in my life.

A few weeks later on a FridayI found the ad in the Chicago Trib that read “Beautiful buckskin QH mare 6 y/o AQHA/IBHA with a phone number. I showed it to him and he said, “Leave early and go see what you think.” That Monday he asked how it went. I said “I bought her.” “Good for you! I’m sure she will lead you to amazing things.”

It is because of Jack Wallin that I am doing what I am doing today. The paragraph quote may not sound like a lot but you would have to know Jack, and see his mannerisms, the look on his face as he was speaking to you, to fully understand how thought-full, genuine, sincere and how much he really meant what he was saying  he was when he was speaking. That little snippet, out of context does not do his words and intent justice.

That Christmas he bought a coat for me as a gift. It was a On Course winter riding coat of oil skin and wool made for equestrians and it is no slouch of a coat. I love that coat and still ware it to the barn. It has a very few warn spots but it still keeps me warm and dry. A lot of thought went into that gift. He went to a local tack shop and I’m sure he talked the sales peoples ears off. I am also sure he spent a pretty penny on that coat. That coat, every time I put it on, I think of what Jack said about passion and about what I need to do in this life time and why I do what I do. This statement is not an exaggeration made for literary effect.  It is true, there are times when I am working at a meaningless job and I hear Jack talking to me. There was a time not so long ago when I was going to give up the horse life completely and live a “normal” life like several people said I should. All I could hear was Jack telling me those things and other things I needed to hear. I was so miserable. I was gifted with one of those people removing themselves from my life, I ditched the rest of them and here I am, sitting at my computer telling you about some person you have never met who gave me permission to believe in myself, on a website about my horseback riding lesson service, the one thing I love to do more than any other thing, even more than drawing.

So here’s to you Jack, a person who believes in passion, dreams and not letting anyone tell you “NO you can’t do that.” Thank you Jack for “Light(ing) a fire under your (my) ass and go do it.” You made me believe I could do it and you gave me the tools to get it done well.

I will never forget you. I wish it could have been easier for you. It was a hard few years but they are over now. I hope you find that bay you stole in college. I hope he takes you jumping the fences and creaks again, just be sure you put him back well cooled. Say hello to your mom and give her a big hug for me. I miss her too. Let her know that one day I will plant some tulips for her in my future front yard. Red and yellow ones and I wont let Mike pick them either. One last thing, give Lady, Nielson and Gunther a pat for me, they are good dogs.

Thank you for being a true friend, for your integrity, for your belief in me and giving me the fire under my ass. I heard you.

© 2010 by Stacey Sheley

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