Breezing Cowboy 

June 19, 1991 - May 26, 2010

I am making myself write this because I feel such loss without our Cowboy.  I am torn because a little over a month ago we lost our Thoroughbred Handy also. My heartbreak began Monday night, just the day before we had had a magnificent ride. I celebrate your life with every breath I take. I began my journey one hoofbeat at a time with Cowboy. Memories are flooding me of our life together. His life and his death seem very surreal to me - it's almost dreamlike. Some of my favorite memories are of us riding together through moments deeply seated in trust. We took care of him and he took care of my family, all my students who rode upon his back and me. It's these memories I cling to as I face the days without him. I remember trail rides and trailer trips and lazy days and untangling his beautiful mane. Although he had severe arthritis, to me he was characterized by strength and power.

Losing Cowboy was like losing a very good friend. We spent so much time together. Every child has a dream, some little girl’s dream of being princesses, but not mine. In fact, I was lucky enough to have my very first dream come true thanks to my parents when I was a little girl. This dream continues even now that I am 40 years old; horses are still a big part of my life. I have loved horses ever since I can remember. To me they have all been a constant in my life for so long, a constant listener, a constant friend, and a constant reminder of how lucky I am to have had them in my life.

Cowboy came to me in my adult life and his heart and spirit is permanently intertwined with mine. "If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever." I think he will because I wasn't the only one whose life he changed; he will live within all who knew him. Cowboy lived the life of luxury teaching kids how to ride and enjoying our local trails. He was an amazing teacher, friend, and secret keeper. He was so faithful, dependable, amazing, BEAUTIFUL, and proud. He was a huge confidence booster and I will never forget that. He was very kind and playful in the pasture with General Lee and Kodiac. Those are the great memories I have of his legacy. His mannerisms are all with me today and forever. 

Loss really doesn't even begin to describe the hole in my life.  I can't believe I won’t see his beautiful face, or tack him up ever again.   I remember leaning upon his body and gasping for air as I cry.  That is when I knew my life would never be the same. A huge part of me was gone.  How was I or our herd going to go on without him? He insisted on being the fastest walker in our herd and he was supremely good at that and I know that he walks ahead of Handy and Bandit in heaven as he did here on Earth. That is what gives me peace.

He was a faithful horse, intelligent, companionable. That’s how Cowboy took possession of my heart. He taught me about sportsmanship, about myself, and about love. I celebrate his life and mourn his death. Cowboy, you filled a space in my heart with big energy and so will your grief. You gave a gift with your presence and your friendship in my life. I honor your presence and your spirit by living my life as you taught me life can be lived.

Losing a close friend leaves a large, gaping HOLE in your soul - we love our animals so much, and it's so hard to let them go. The loss of any beloved pet has a drastic impact on our lives and is equal to or worse than that of losing a human family member. Losing you I feel anguish and sorrow. I realize that this is a natural reaction when you lose a loved one, whether human or animal; and the stages of mourning are the same. As a griever I feel the identical shock: denial, anger and guilt, sorrow and depression. I truly believe there are horses in heaven; I believe this horse is in heaven, that there is no more pain. Scripture tells us that Jesus will ride back on a white horse, so [horses] must be there if he's going to come back on one. Do they have a soul like we do? I don't know, but I know they are living, breathing animals, and they bring us pleasure. And I believe heaven is a beautiful place, and there are plenty of pastures with horses in heaven. There's nothing easy about saying goodbye to a loved one, and the loss is no less real or less painful when the loved one is a horse, not a human. After all, I think of my horses as members of my family, a best friend and a partner in achieving our dreams because Cowboy and all the horses in my life have given me this pleasure. Please God, tell me: Why must all good things have to end - so Majestic and with a Heart of Gold? Life is short; we have small opportunities to see life through others' eyes. Cowboy and my other horses gave me the opportunity to see the world through their eyes…I gave them love, they gave me confidence, I gave them treats, they gave me trust, I gave them exercise, they made me strong. No one can ever ask for anything better than that in life – nothing but more time.

I know that Bandit and Handy were waiting for Cowboy as he crossed the bridge – and that I have no doubt. I hope that he is comfortable in those great fields up there in the sky, playing with all his best friends that have gone before him. I know they were as happy to see him. I can imagine all of them galloping through the clouds as they do their signature bucks and twists. I am comforted in knowing Cowboy is with so many others who have crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. I can still picture you with my eyes and feel you with my hands. Although the look, feel and smell of normal life will be altered forever. My life is forever changed by my Cowboy, he will be remembered always and as he took a piece of my heart with him when he passed. Happy trails to you in heaven, and know I will someday see you again. Farewell, dear friend...

The barn is so quiet without you. There will not be a day that goes by that we don't think of you and smile. He is, and will forever be, my legend!

"No heaven can heaven be, if my horse isn't there to welcome me."
Author Unknown

All my love and thanks to you. You helped bring life to my dreams. Journey on! Miss your kisses, hugs, and nuzzles along with your beautiful mane and tail.

Drea, Joe and kids,
Kodiac, General Lee and all the students who once rode upon your back!!!

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