In the spirit of gratitude, we say thank you for our many blessings.
This past month, we said goodbye to my father, John, and another member of our family- Angel, his horse. We are grateful that both my dad- and Angel experienced one of the most beautiful summers that Colorado has seen in recent years. The summer that officially broke our longstanding drought status. Angel enjoyed green grass with her last foal “Vida” by her side. John enjoyed the beauty of the high mountain San Luis Valley- the cutting and baling of hay from his front window- and a trip to the Great Sanddunes National Monument- with his “girls”. The water was flowing down from the 14,000 foot peaks above.
In remembering my dad, we remember that our Tennessee Walking Horses came to us through him- through the connection of his childhood friend. We started with the best- hand picked- straight off of The Double Diamond Ranch. True to their western story, Fashion and Star climbed high into the Colorado mountain ranges- and patiently taught children- as they ran under their bellies and climbed on their backs….
In remembering Angel, we remember our first official “therapy horse”. A volunteer in our local riding program, she helped children with Autism and family trauma. Always patient, always kind. She became disabled later in life- and continued to help humans from her home on our ranch. We chose to keep her alive rather than put her down even as she struggled some. Because we believe in the value of life. Even a disabled life. Visitors who gazed upon Angel saw her disability- and her will to live. They equated their struggles with hers- and some, disabled themselves, identified with her.
She served as a representation of the value that all have to offer to “the herd”, even if they show the battle scars- whether mental or physical- that this life sometimes leaves upon us. We remember her will to live- and her service- first to my father, a disabled combat veteran. Then, to our family- and community. Angel and my dad, although hundreds of miles apart, both died within hours of each other.
In gratitude, we continue on. Looking forward to developing “Vida” into a service horse, like her dam- and remembering my father, who brought the first Double-Diamond TWHs into our lives.
*Angel was sired by Slush Creeks Jubal S, the last stallion to come off of the Double- Diamond. My dad served as a Army Special Forces Combat Medic, a Green Beret.