Saturday, August 26, 2017

Snap Dancer ~ May 23, 2000 - August 25, 2017

"You were a great champion. When you ran, the ground shook, the sky opened, and mere mortals parted. Parted the way to victory, where you'll meet me in the winner's circle, where I'll put a blanket of flowers on your back."


A recipe for happiness and heartache: Take one cranky, plain brown mare who needs a new career and putter around with her, teach her dressage basics and how to jump, stay calm despite her occasional FREQUENT hissy fits and tantrums.  Bond with her and watch her sweet personality blossom as she accepts her new career, set a few goals for her first year of showing in 2016, and then easily meet those goals.  Continue to work hard and set a new goal of qualifying for Area 1 Schooling Championships in 2017.  Qualify handily by winning five straight events (we only needed to win one!), compete in the championships, and conquer the day!

Sadly, there can also be intense heartache with horses.  As I wrote about here, Area I Championships was Snap Dancer’s final event, as she was no longer sound enough for more jumping and riding.   She was "ok" for the day at Championships, but I could tell by the end that she was sore. Her hocks, stifles, and pelvis joints were worn out, perhaps from her many years of racing (160 starts and 38 wins!), but also because her hind end conformation exacerbated the issue.  


In the end, no amount of supplements, injections, or chiropractic work helped enough, though I really thought we could get her comfortable to just retire as a pasture pet. It's been a super rough week after championships, yet she was incredibly stoic and sweet. I could see on Friday morning it was time to let her go. Her body was failing despite large amounts of medication (bute, banamine, previcox....amounts that were NOT sustainable long term and were not showing any impact on her pain level at all). :-(

All I can think about is I never got a chance to fox hunt her, I never got a chance to do a Training level or higher dressage test, I never got a chance to gallop a BN level cross country course, I never took her to an overnight show, I never this, I never that.  She’s only seventeen years old and she’s not supposed to be gone yet!

But that is selfish of me.  She’s already given me so much!  She got a chance to have a soft place to land when she needed it years ago.  She allowed me to teach her how to go under saddle, and she helped me earn my USTA Racing Under Saddle license and we even won our first race.  She was able to shine in a new career (although briefly) and was a safe and reliable mount for me.  She gave me two fun filled summers of low level eventing/dressage memories, ribbons, and championships.  I'd like to think I gave her a good last five years of her life while I owned her and let her go gently when she told me it was time.  She was one of the most generous horses I have ever met, so full of try and she gave me what she could.  

This mare could do no wrong in my eyes and will forever have a special place in my heart for coming into my life when she did in 2012, becoming mine a few months later, and teaching me many things throughout our time together. She may not have been the best racehorse or show horse of all time, but she had the most heart and she was the best in my mind (and to many others who loved her before I did).  I loved this mare fiercely while she was in my care and always will. My heart is shattered and that empty stall is almost too much to bear.


"A very sad merit badge earned by a true horsewoman is the one where she puts the horse before herself.  The most gracious final reward any horse can hope for, and lucky are those horses who receive it."

"To place your horse's need to leave her failing body above your need to keep her with you, that is the greatest and purest love."  - C.Garrett


I am just going to add all of my most favorite photos of my girl. I know many have already been posted on this blog, but I can't help it. I just keep looking at them all, missing her so much. Go hug your horse(s). They give us so much and take a huge piece of our hearts when they leave.

Our 2017 ribbons - her last photo :-(

Winning at Green Acres 2017

Stadium at Esprit Equestrian Center 2-phase 2016

That time we were famous hahaha!

Summer 2016

RUS race 2013 - second place
RUS race 2012 - winning!


Back to the Track at Scarborough Downs 2013

She was the BEST horse to drive!  This was the summer of 2013 and that is my grandfather with us

Summer 2013

Riding on Old Orchard Beach 2013 or 2014?

Snappy in her heyday as a racehorse with her trainer

Practicing a training mile at Cumberland Fairground in 2012

The first time I ever met Snappy and sat on her back 2012

RUS race 2012


Summer 2014 
Our first dressage show and first dressage ribbon 2016


Winning our first 2-phase at Green Acres 2016
Summer 2016

11 comments:

  1. i'm so sorry for your loss - what a special, talented and incredible mare. those pictures are all so wonderful, she will be missed!

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  2. Awww heck Liz, I am so so sorry to hear this :( It was so much fun to read about your adventures with Snappy and I am so sorry you had to let her go so soon. It sounds like you gave her everything she could have wanted in the time you had her and I'm sure she loved her life with you. Hugs from Duke and I 💕💕

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  3. I'm so sorry to hear this. She sure was a pretty thing!

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  4. She was such a lovely mare and I'm going to miss following along with all the incredible things you got to do with her. <3

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  5. She was a legend in my eyes. I'm so sorry you weren't able to get her comfortable enough to live out her retirement :(

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  6. Rest east Snap Dancer. All our horses are waiting for you to take a victory gallop. <3 <3

    Thank you for loving her enough to let her go. (((Hugs))))

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  7. Oh, I am so very sorry. I so loved learning about racing under saddle and following the work you did with her! What a special mare. Standardbreds have the absolute best hearts. <3

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  8. Hey there. Just came over from Emma's blog...I'm so sorry about Snappy. Really glad you got the years you did with her, and that she helped you grow as an equestrian. All the best to your future :)

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  9. I am so sorry for your loss. I cannot even imagine how hard it was to know it was time to let her go. I am really happy you got to go a last hurrah and do championships with her at least. I know you have a lot of things you wanted to do, but at least you did do a lot with the time you had her. The pictures were amazing, I am really happy you shared them with us. My heart goes out to you ((HUGS))

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  10. Oh no :( I am so sorry to hear this. She was very lucky to have you as her person <3

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  11. I'm so so sorry. Looking through the pictures in this post, you guys clearly had a lot of fun. What a good girl.

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