An excerpt from Maine Vanities
Maggie is six years old. She doesn’t drive, but she is a very sweet ride. Maggie is an American quarterhorse, and her registered name is She’s an Asset, and so the plate SHZA AST.
Destiny Hesketh is thirteen years old, and she doesn’t drive either, but she loves to ride Maggie, her best friend and thirteenth birthday gift.
Most days they can be found at Alderbrook Farm, riding, practicing for shows, or just hanging out. Destiny brushes Maggie’s flanks and glances at her mom as she speaks. “I found her online, but I was always finding horses online and asking mom if I could have them.”
Wendy Hesketh nods in agreement, “She would get home from school and go online looking for horses. You couldn’t pull her away.”
“When I found Maggie was available, I couldn’t stop asking for her. Mom and dad had always promised me I could have a horse when I turned thirteen, and my birthday was pretty close,” Destiny explains.
Wendy smiles at her daughter. “I was hoping she would outgrow it, but I should have known better. We brought her to the state fair when she was just a few years old, and all she wanted to do was ride the pony. Candy, arcade games, merry-go-round—none of that could entice her away from the pony ride.”
Destiny agrees, although she says she is not sure she really remembers. “I’ve just always wanted to ride, and to have a pony or a horse. Two weeks after my thirteenth birthday, I was convinced it wasn’t going to happen. But still I would imagine waking up and finding a horse staring at me from the foot of my bed.” She looks at her mom, then confides, ”I know it doesn’t make sense. My bedroom is on the third floor, but I just had this vision of waking up and seeing a horse—my horse—standing at the foot of my bed looking at me.”
Wendy shakes her head and shrugs. “We brought Destiny to the stable, and she just thought we were going riding, that it was a birthday party, and that Maggie was just there for the kids to ride.”
“But you mustn’t forget the bow,” Destiny interrupts. “That gave it away.” Destiny explains, “Mom had put a bow around her neck, and I knew she wouldn’t have done that unless Maggie was really for me. They hadn’t said, but I knew she was mine. I held it until I petted her, and Mom showed me the papers. Then I couldn’t keep it in any more and started to cry.”
Destiny gives Maggie a stroke, and Maggie nudges Destiny with her head.
Destiny is hoping to work with horses all her life. “I want to be a trainer or a chiropractor. I have scoliosis, so I’ve learned about backs and muscle, and cracking my back.
That brings such relief. We have a horse here that needs his back cracked everyday. I get to do it sometimes. I grab his head, shove my chest into his ribs, and crack his back. When he starts making funny sounds with his lips, you know you’ve made him feel good.”
College and a career are both still a long way off, but Destiny clearly knows what she wants her future to hold: learning more about horses, riding skills, anatomy and chiropracty, and an entire horse-filled world.
But until then, the days are long. Riding, grooming, and winning ribbons with Maggie fill them. Call her Maggie, or call her, but ask Destiny if she is an asset in her life, and the quiet smile answers that question.
Excerpt above from from Maine Vanities
Destiny is now 15, and still passionate about horses.
The message of a Maine vanity plate may raise an eyebrow, or a question, or simply cause a smile. But behind each and every plate is a personality, and the rest of the story.
These short portraits capture Maine individuality. There is quirkiness, compassion, and humor. While passions range from skiing to solving Mensa puzzles, and ages from 14 to 91, enthusiasm, curiosity, passion and delight in sharing the story behind their plate and their bit of Maine is the common thread.