I’ve always had a hard time making decisions, especially decisions that involve spending money. I waffle, obsessively weighing the pros and cons, and eventually exhaust myself, in the end deciding nothing. But on this particular spring day over two decades ago, at a horse ranch in eastern Washington, I saw and knew exactly what I wanted.
It was May 1986. She was a deep red mare known as a blood bay, standing about sixteen hands—sixty-four inches at the withers, where the neck meets the back. Her arched neck flowed gently into her chest; her pretty head had a white star and a narrow stripe dripping down...