Heartfelt gratitude | AspenTimes.com

Heartfelt gratitude

Within a month of one another, I lost both my horses last fall. I thought it was only fitting to share with you what happened last fall and to thank all those who loved and cared for Dancer and Bud.

My horse Dancer died a year ago Sept. 24, 2001. He was my dream-come-true horse, a son to Secretariat who had been rescued from the race track and brought to Colorado in 1992.

He learned a whole new life here and together for over nine years we rode trails here in Colorado, Utah and Arizona. There are days that I cannot believe he is gone. Colic is so quick and so dangerous. Even with the surgery now available to us here in the valley, it was too late to help him.

As I held his head next to my chest I could still feel the love and trust this horse had for me. I could also see the pain in his eyes and the look that said, “Mom, let me go so I can run again without the pain.”

We had the best summer of riding and saw some spectacular sights and places. He was the leader and gentleman of the trail that year, and we were looking so forward to many more that fall and already making plans for the following year.

I let Dancer go that night ? what a spectacular night, the stars were all out and the moon was bright. As we walked out to the pasture, he whinnied a loud call to his brother Bud back at the ranch then grabbed a mouth of sweet grass and a purple thistle and was gone. Making the decision that night a year ago to end his suffering was easy, living without him has been a greater challenge.

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If it was challenging to me, it was devastating to Bud his “brother in the pasture.” Bud, too, had been rescued from the race track. Dancer was his big brother and always looking out for Bud. He and Dancer were always together and Bud idolized Dancer.

Limited by physical injuries, Bud wasn’t able to go out on trails, but he was always there to welcome Dancer home and listen to Dancer’s latest adventure on a trail ride. He mourned Dancer’s death both physically and emotionally.

He would pace the pasture constantly and paw on the place where Dancer was buried. He missed him, and with a history of medical concerns it was was only a matter of time before Bud would become so lame he could only lie by his brother’s grave site.

On Oct. 20, 2001, Bud joined Dancer and the two are buried in the corner of the ranch where they lived, watching the changing seasons on Mount Sopris.

I would like to thank Chad, Chuck Joe, Angel, Dana and everyone at Alpine Animal Hospital for the efforts they made in the attempts to save Dancer’s life, before, during and after the colic surgery. It was a 12-hour battle and the entire staff went above and beyond the call of duty, coming in late and remaining through a Sunday night to help.

Additional thanks for all their assistance in helping Bud in the following weeks and making his final days so peaceful. Their support and comfort this past year has been greatly appreciated.

Marti Bauer and Colleen Avery, true friends for being there with me that night when my husband David couldn’t be. I am so greatful to Drew and Stevie Sakson and Tom Bailey for giving Dancer and Bud a final resting place on the ranch, and to neighbors Ziggy and David Murray for creating a resting place with their backhoe.

Bulbs planted on the graves last fall by Nancy, Jacqueline and Kimbrell LaRoche became flowers this summer and were beautiful. My sincere thanks to Cheryl Eaglin and other riding friends for getting me back into the saddle and riding again.

For me, it is hard to believe it has been a year already, but I’m sure for David, my husband, it feels like an eternity. I am very greatful for his love and support and to all my friends for being there and understanding my loss.

To the children who made cards and drew pictures, people who sent cards, flowers, planted trees, gave donations to Thoroughbred Rescue, my sincere thanks for your love and continued support. I had not realized how many lives Dancer and Bud had touched besides my own.

Lynn Kirchner

Carbondale