No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle.
The first time I saw him along with two billion other viewers was
through the magnifying glass of a television screen broadcasting
the opening ceremonies of the XV Olympic Winter Games.
He thundered onto the snow crusted field of the stadium
followed by the charge of the painted ponies ridden by the
aboriginal people of Alberta. Sixty thousand visitors and
athletes representing fifty-seven nations applauded his
confidence, grace, and agility. The Jamaican bobsledders,
highlighted in their canary yellow parkas, cheered as he stormed
past their seats.
At twenty-five, he truly reflected Darwin's law of survival of
His lineage would never allow anything but the spirit of a
warrior. He commanded the lead of the pecking order in any
pasture or paddock. He would not agree to only form part
of a pack. His grace and speed allow you the vision of his
ancestors swimming ashore from a shipwrecked Spanish
Engulfed in the sounds from the crowds, the bands, and the
flags; nothing altered his regard for crossing the field ahead of
all others; he danced with his head held high, ears and tail
raised flowing in the wind. His shadow crossed over the snowy
field for all to see.
Breed from European descent his eyes wide and ears pricked, he
was born to run; and at the call of an eagle's cry under
the bright blue sky that afternoon, he turned the herd as one
about and galloped off the field. The rise of the competition
has led to the refinement of his ancestors.
He proved an invaluable warrior that demanded your respect
on a Polo field; he did not shy from the charge of the other
competitors or from the aggressive mallets as they passed by his
head. His strength and agility, his power and grace made him a
perfect competitor. The playing field was his backstage.
His loyalty and respect were unquestionable. Strangers were well
advised not to take advantage of his good grace and ride him as
mounting their own; he reserved reciprocation until he had his
audience on the field. It was quick and masterful as the warrior
would eliminate, at his will, unwelcomed followers.
He refused to accept age and when retirement was upon him he
He knew not leisure and reminded everyone of his power and
Yet, after time, he did not object, he enjoyed his days,
accepting his new role as Lord of the Manor. His pasture
was lush; he shared his stable with few. A creature of habit, he
scoffed when asked to be a trail pony. He would continue to lead
the pack in his pasture.
He taught wisdom and built character within the young of
the pack. When asked to consider a child's saddle he was
hesitant, but showed his loyalty and trust and stood tall. As he
walked inside a paddock supporting a young child, he knew the
care that had been entrusted to him.
Each time the pack looked on in silence, respecting the
lesson that was being taught.
Each day he returned to the paddock where he would be blanketed,
saddled, and await the excitement of his young riders. With wide
eyes and ears pricked he shouldered them with grace and elegance,
quickly to correct their errors. His reward was their
affectionate tiny arms around his neck.
His heart only grew with devotion. How fiercely loyal he
Many years thereafter while waiting for his Doctor to arrive he
said goodbye. The pack surrounded him until they knew he was safe
The warrior as always had completed his last post on his terms;
when the Doctor arrived, his attention was spent on the young
riders, who did not understand what they had witnessed.
The Doctor, a young man, with great wisdom, took the time
and sat with the youngsters calming them with stories of their
pony's happiness in the days before and that he is in heaven in a
place that he will run and play.
Within a few days a card of sympathy was sent to all the young
riders from this young man quoting Stanley Harrison -
Somewhere in time's own space
there must be some sweet pastured place
where creeks sing on and tall trees grow
some paradise where horses go,
for by the love that guides my pen
I know great horses live again.
Always the warrior, he shall not be replaced, only remember in