"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
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|
|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|
|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|
|Our first dressage show and first dressage ribbon 2016|
|Winning our first 2-phase at Green Acres 2016|