Tribute Farm


In 1957, I discovered Andre Norton by coming across a copy of Star Born on the new books shelf in the children's room of the Wilmette [IL] Public Library. I never looked back. I checked out and read Norton after Norton, shared them with my mother, then my brother, then my sister, then my youngest brother. We would all quarrel over who got to read the newest one first, which was why I made sure to put bookplates in all my copies [I now have approximately 150]. When my daughter Meg started reading "chapter books", some of her first were Outside and Star Ka'at--she even named her kittens Mer and Tiro.

You can understand, therefore, when in 1983 Meg leased a mare to breed to Chapel Hill Elijah for a 4H project foal, and we decided to name horses for authors rather than register a prefix, we immediately wrote Andre Norton for her permission to name a foal for her. She graciously acceded, mentioning that she had been very impressed with Morgans when researching the U.S. Cavalry for her book Ride, Proud Rebel! After Hawk Tree Coquette--the leased mare--reabsorbed, we waited, and when, on May 16, 1990, Glady presented us with our second foal, a filly, there was no question about her name. When sent a copy of Andy's birth announcement, Ms. Norton kindly sent autographed copies of two of her short story anthologies--and permission to tell them!

Andy was all we'd been hoping for in a foal--bay, typy, athletic, curious, bright-eyed, with long straight legs. Meg and I were delighted. Unfortunately, Meg was in her second year of college, and Andy's brother Bobby, who had been for sale, was having some medical problems, so Andy went on the sales list in his place. As a granddaughter of Trophy and great-granddaughter of his full brother Fleetfield, Andy was in demand for her bloodlines alone, and quickly was snatched up as a new weanling by June Strelcheck of Dancastle Morgans in Crystal Lake [IL] as a show/breeding prospect.

Andy lived happily in Crystal Lake for a year, a favorite with June's riding students. Unfortunately, one of the students, a graduating senior, really fell in love with Andy. She persuaded her parents to buy the yearling as a graduation present, on the understanding she would attend a local college and live at home to work with the filly. But the young woman eloped her first semester, leaving Andy behind in a field on her parents' farm.

I heard nothing for two years, until in October of 1993, I was contacted by Dave Ihsson of Marengo, Illinois, who had bought Andy out of a herd destined for slaughter because he recognized the quality in that scruffy skeletal-framed body with untrimmed, dinner plate-hooves. Her papers had never been transferred from June, to whom he had traced them, and she referred him to me. I borrowed the money to buy her back, and brought her home November 19, 1993--promising her she'd never be sold again.

It took a year to bring her back, put several hundred pounds more on her meager frame, have her wormed, put on supplements, trim those feet, and try to give her back her sense of self-worth. We had our milestones--in January she kicked out on having her left hind foot trimmed--the first time she'd shown any spirit--in February she reared in crossties--now it was time to start retraining. I worked with Andy for most of 1994--retaught her manners, broke her to ride and drive, and was trail riding her by autumn. On her first trail ride, Andy had a quail fly up in front of her nose. She whirled and unseated me, but didn't bolt, so I was able to remount and continue on the ride. She has since become my "trail machine" --the mare will go through anything, and never tire.

In 1996, Andy had her first foal, Tony Fennelly, a chestnut filly by Gable's Central Park. She proved an excellent mother, teaching Tony the same barn manners Glady had instilled in her. She protected her foal from all other animals, but allowed people to do anything to Tony--as long as Andy received a carrot first! When Tony started jumping the paddock fence at four months, Andy would jump after her, and I would get to retrieve them both from the cornpatch down the road.

In 1998, Andy had her second foal, Jack Vance, a bay colt by Chapel Hill Elijah. I stayed in the foaling stall, imprinting Vance every hour, and by dawn we fell asleep together in the straw, while Andy stood watch over us both. And when Vance jumped the paddock fence into the horse pasture at six weeks, Andy jumped over and chased away an impertinent Halflinger gelding. She continues to be a super mother.

In 1999 Andy was leased by Carolyn & Katherine Firch, of Rocking Horse Morgans in Springfield, Illinois for a 2000 foal. On April 16, 2000, Andy foaled a beautiful bay filly by Sangamo Falcon, whom the Firchs named Andi's Fancy Falcon. Here are mother and daughter two weeks later.

So that's Andre Norton the horse--great trail mare, good mother, and my friend. On Thursday, May 18, 2006, two days after her 16th birthday, Andy left home for a new phase in her life--to La Serena Morgans near Fort Ticonderoga, New York, to be Joanne Curtis's personal saddle horse. In September 2010, Andy returned to Wisconsin, to another career change--as personal trail horse to Katryna Endres, a young woman who had ridden Andy five years earlier, & never forgotten her. In 2011, Andy & Katryna competed in their first 20-mile ride--Andy scored over 75% & never looked back.

May the wind be always at your back, Andy, and may the road rise to meet you as you go.

To see Andy's pedigree, click on Pedigree of Andre Norton

(C)2006 Marsha Valance

The Andre Norton Webring Next site Andre Norton is one of the oldest living authors of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Her Solar Queen, Witch World, Time Trader, Foreunner series and many standalone novels have thrilled fans for decades. Ms. Norton has also helped pave the way for many younger authors, especially women.
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