Sperryville column for Oct. 8

Callen joins the family paddock

Callen Branch Michael
Callen Branch Michael

Little Callen Branch Michael just came into the world — the newborn son of Meaghan Boucher, and the grandson of Sally and Bob Petty of Sperryville. I love to write about this family. Sally is founder of Waggin’ Hearts Therapy Dogs and the Mini Whinny horse program. To the delight of many, these beloved creatures are taken to schools, nursing homes and hospice patients. The birth of little minis is always a special treat for me. Indeed Sally knows when I’ve stopped by the paddocks, as a brightly colored trademark smootch mark is always discovered, firmly planted on a soft mini-muzzle.

Maeghan is a graduate of Rappahannock County High School, an accomplished barrel racer, horse trainer and all-around equestrian. She’s been on horseback since she was just three months old. Her mom Sally would ride out and strap her daughter into a child sling. At the culmination of the ride, Meaghan would apparently start crying not wanting to be wrestled from her snug equine perch. She rides in a professional rodeo circuit. At what seems like breakneck, lightening speed she and her mount maneuver cloverleaf courses with piercing accuracy. This is a discipline that celebrates precision and speed.

The family is made up of fearless riders. Callen’s older brother and sister are avid horse enthusiasts and Callen’s dad is a former bull rider. We’ll see if little Callen will follow in his family footsteps. Maeghan is ready to get back on horseback, writing recently about her favored horse, she related: “The Man felt like a freight train today! . . . it felt good to be back on with no restrictions. . . . I may just hear a rodeo calling my name this weekend!”

Congratulations to you, Maeghan, and to your entire family.

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