Blaze of Glory

Blaze of Glory. That's the name I gave him when I saw him in the field. He was an older horse, with a little sway in his back from years of barrel racing. I knew very little of riding horses, only having standardbred horses in the past. He would be the first horse that was all mine for me to love. Still I wasn't sure, being such an amateur in the "riding" department. My husband made the decision for me, saying this is the horse for me. He couldn't have called that one any closer to the truth.

Blaze and I bonded like we were meant to always be together. Over the years that I had the pleasure of him, he was always my rock, always there, always forgiving, always happy to see me. He taught me to ride. Whatever type of riding I wanted to do, Blaze was there to show me how. Years of trail riding gave me the courage to try competing in game shows. As soon as Blaze saw those barrels in the arena, he once again became the teacher, leading me through the pattern with such ease. I learned over the months to let him take the lead and we'd be okay.

He gave me two wonderful years and loads of memories competing and having fun at local shows. He became quite popular with the other riders, mainly because of his personality and of course because of his experience. I do want to mention here that when we started running barrels, I was 43 and Blaze was 27! Here we are competing against girls that are 19 riding horses that are 5, and we are still keeping up with them. This past summer I made the decision to retire Blaze from riding, but he was still so willing to let my little grandson trot around on him in the backyard.

He touched so many lives, everyone he came in contact with loved Blaze. This past week Blaze's heart started to tire out. My husband and I had the hardest decision we ever had to make. We loved him so much, and knew we owed it to him to give him the dignity to rest without suffering. Blaze was too weak to make the trip to the vet, so we had the vet come to us. I had the privilege of being there, holding him, loving him to the end. My heart was breaking in half, but I didn't want a stranger with him when he left here.

Blaze was 30 years old when he left us to run in open fields in heaven. I pray that I can love another horse, but know not to set such a high standard for my next horse. A love like that only comes around once and I know can't be repeated.

Blaze left my life March 24, 2008 at the age of 30. I had 12 of the best years of my life with him and hope he remains in everyones' hearts that he met like he will in mine.

Carol Strejcek

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