Thursday, April 12, 2012


Yesterday I had to say goodbye to my beautiful 30 year old Appaloosa gelding RunningWolfsAppitude known to all who love him as Sequoia. Sequoia and I have been through a lot over the years, more than I could ever express in words. It is impossible to describe the hole I already feel in my heart so instead I would rather tell you all about the things I will cherish forever.

I suppose its best to start at the beginning. Shortly before my junior year in high school my horse Risky had to be euthanized due to a tragic paddock accident that broke his  left front leg. Risky had been the perfect first horse. An older chestnut Thoroughbred who had been retired from the Dressage arena. Risky had been an excellent babysitter for a teenage girl who thought she knew everything. I felt the loss of him greatly.

My grandparents became concerned that I would give up horses all together and in the hopes to keep that from happening my Nana called one day to tell me it was time to buy another horse and that she and Papa had saved some money for me to do so. Over the years I have received many gifts, but this one will always shine in my mind as the greatest.

I found new hope in my search, a new spark so to speak. But being a teenager and still hurting I decided to only look at horses that were drastically different. No more quiet older horses for this girl. I was ready for something different. I was ready to try something new. So instead of the English style horses I had always ridden I went on the hunt for a stock horse. It was on this hunt that I found Sequoia. A short and stocky Appaloosa gelding who his owner had been training for the western pleasure ring. I knew he was the one from the moment I looked into his soft brown eyes and rubbed his his amazingly mottled ears.

I brought him home a week later and over the next few weeks learned that for as much as Risky was a babysitter Sequoia was a teacher. He taught me how to sit a buck and a spin. When I had mastered those we moved on to bolts and rears. He had as much attitude as any teenager with 1,000 lbs to back it up.

The first show I took him too he dumped me twice, but we won two classes so overall I decided it was a win. My instructor offered to find him a new home but I wouldn't even think of it. He and I were an excellent team, we were still just working out the bugs. By the end of the first summer I was riding him bareback with just a neck collar through the trails behind the barn. By the end of the second summer we were winning in classes for halter to English please and trail. (I gave up on the western pleasure, Sequoia always liked to move out better)

He became my super horse, one weekend camping in NH the next weekend showing all day. We enjoyed long walks through the castle woods in Haverhill or swimming in plugs pond. He would lay down in the paddock and allow me to climb on his back before he stood. In short we were more than horse and owner, we were partners joined together at the soul.

At some point I decided to become a riding instructor and Sequoia followed suit training young riders and carrying them safely into the show ring. He would dazzle them with his antics and bow for treats of all kinds, but Nacho Cheese Doritos were always his favorite. On an average show day he would compete in three divisions and it was not uncommon for him to come home champion in more than one.

When my life changed so did Sequoia's. I finally got a "real" job and instead of standing in a ring all day shouting orders I began managing a photography studio. Sequoia and I still gave the occasional lesson but we both knew our show ring days were done. I moved him and the rest of the heard to a small private stable in Salem NH were we both made some great friends and had the ability to see some of our young students grow into amazing people. They never forgot Sequoia and always made sure to bring him a treat even if they were going to ride someone else. He and I still enjoyed riding together until shortly after my husband and I bought our house.

The spring after I moved the horses home Sequoia had his first bout with Laminitis. It was a constant battle with which he never never showed anything but grace. My little stocky gelding had a huge heart and even till the end his amazing personality showed through. He was never afraid, even at the end he looked nothing but strong, its funny how he seemed like he was holding on for me. Waiting till I was ready to let him go. Your never really ready, but when you love someone you know when its no longer fair for them to suffer, no matter how much you don't want to let go.

I know now I will never really let him go. He will live on through my memories and the memories of all of those who's lives he has touched. He has been my closest friend and safest confidant. A forgiving soul through my teenage years and early adult blunders. A babysitter and teacher for students and my own young children. He will always be the horse I built and entire wedding around (so I could ride him up the isle). The horse who I rode into a building up a flight of stairs and who stood in a school playground year after year letting elementary students learn a little about the "Pioneer days". He is the horse I will forever hold all horses up against, and forever they will never be able to come close because a horse like this is a one in a million, and I am so much better for knowing and loving him.

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