There is nothing like loss and the ensuing grief to test the fabric of a community. 2009 has revealed the tight knit Paradigm group to be a strong one, as we have endured a staggering number of losses.
Kalypso was euthanized after developing a rapidly progressing neurologic condition. His warmth and character, not to mention his incredible talent has left a monstrous hole that will be a daunting task for any horse to fill. His picture resides over the mantle in my home, and likely always will.
Penny has been as much, or more, of a part of Paradigm Sporthorse than anyone. Rare was a day when she was not trit-trotting around behind me. She was an endearing, bright little fur person with a huge soul who worked her way into the hearts and laps of everyone around her. A day doesn't go by without the thought of her.
Lusann Sedelmaier was a long time client of Paradigm Sporthorse. Her indominable spirit, bravery, and good nature during her brawl with ovarian cancer was an humbling inspiration to those around her. Her loss is devastating.
When Change died my mother said that I had lost the only being on the planet more devoted to my safety than she----the truth in her words still echoes in my mind. Change was a scrappy character, and I won't say he was easy on the world around him (although, like a fine wine he aged to perfection!) ---but he lived and breathed to be with me. He was distressed when I was sad, by my side in all situations, and well deserving of his nickname Goofy in happy times.....he was my most treasured companion. Sometimes I catch myself calling him to the car or the house---and sheepishly I hope that doesn't change!
If there was ever an animal that deserved a tribute, it is Goldy. He taught innumerable riders what it felt like to ride the FEI movements, and what it felt like to ride a horse that would have otherwise been out of reach. He was as generous and honest a schoolmaster that ever was.
When his owner, Lusann, was battling terminal cancer I can't say he was the bombproof saint I wanted him to be. But, everytime she was recovering from chemo he would trot softer, pirouette more easily---as if he were carrying a Faberge egg. He was a soft, kind, emotional spirit---a privilege to have in our lives.
Leo was, perhaps, one of the most beautiful horses I have ever known. He was tall and regal, and he exuded nobility. He is a horse that I instantly felt a soul connection to, and although I do not tend to be a sentimental person, I always felt that he was my dear friend Kalypso, come home to visit. Leo's life ended sadly and abruptly, and was a rip to the heart. I am comforted that Leo no longer lives in discomfort, but will always wonder what could have been. I hope he will come home to visit again....
Peabody.....................................there aren't words to describe how much I miss him, or what an absolute class act he was. When I find them, I will write them, but for now, I will think of him as he is in this picture........regal, noble, benevolent......all conveyed while doing something as mundane as taking a nap in the sun. That was the thing about him, it didn't matter that we never got the chance to set the competition arena on fire, because he was extraordinary ALL the time.
Rockhill was, unquestionably, the international quality horse I have looked for most of my life. To ride him, was to float just above the surface of the earth, barely tethered to the ground---he was incredible. He had accepted the challenge of filling the hole Peabody had left in my heart with a calm, elegant grace, and I think the universe short changed itself by taking him so young. I will always wonder what we could have become and I will miss his beautiful soul.
When Anne, often too loud and exuberant, said "You're the best!"....for a moment you could believe it. It didn't matter how 'not the best' you felt, if she could be so sure, maybe the idea had some merit. When she said she loved you, it meant something. When she hugged you, she held on. She adored her horses, and you could tell by the way they arched their necks when she gushed over them, they knew it. In the 15 years of me chiding her for wearing her damn flip flops around the barn---they never stepped on her perfectly painted toes---not once. Clearly, they returned her affection.
Anne was my second mom, she was my friend, and she was a constant reminder that if you live your life with exuberance and love, you can fight the march of time. You can pursue a passion, even if you start late in life. And, most importantly, you can be all sorts of wonderful, and still be human. She was, the best.
Eroica, and her sister by owner Missy, were my first horses in training when I started my business in 1998. Upon her retirement she moved to my house, where she caused mischief until her passing on New Year's Eve. When she came to me, she had been in a show barn, was a little flighty, and wouldn't deign to walk in mud. Over time she became a cow horse that would call the wildest steer to task, she was a great ride for a bareback swim in the river, and patiently taught timid students to ride. She was a mischievous character, most recently reknown in my neighborhood for undoing gate latches and making the news as she scampered down road---if she put her mind to it, there was no keeping her in! She had a nice long life and I'm so happy that a large part of it was shared with me.
Nespas was one of the fancy horses Sidley brought to town in 1990. He was the first 18h horse I ever rode, the first horse I taught the FEI movements to, the first horse to reenact the downhill scene from Man From Snowy River with me on him......repeatedly and to my horror, the first horse to go backwards through the entire Western Weekend Parade because he refused to go forward, the first horse that I jumped 4', the first horse that dismounted my friends by lying down when he was tired of carrying them around, but most importantly........the first horse that I have had in my life for 22 years. Nespas definitely tested my devotion to him and I was honored to see him through all the trials and tribulations.