Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sad News

Its with a very heavy heart that I write that today, my beloved pony Jacob passed away. Jacob was over 40 years old (we don't know for sure) and lived an incredibly full life, but that doesn't make saying goodbye any more difficult. It was especially upsetting for me, as I was scheduled to come home last weekend and then had to cancel, meaning that I lost my last opportunity to tell the little guy how much I love him.

I first met Jacob in summer of 1999 at my first year at Camp Catherine Capers in Wells, VT, where Jacob was a camp pony. His nickname at camp was "Monster," was famous for breaking a girl's back, was impossible to catch, difficult to ride, and was instantly my obsession! I took over daily care of Jacob that summer and convinced my parents to let me lease him from the camp for the winter. We built a strong bond during that time, exploring every inch of Great Brook together with Louise Bruce, Staci Bortz, and my brother David. Jacob also helped me greatly on the way to overcoming my fear of jumping, and took me around several little three phases that fall, conquering each with his characteristic aplomb (including mastering the "pumpkin bombs" at Pipestave!). The most important thing he taught me, however, was patience: he would evade capture for hours at a time and trailer loading would be at times an all-afternoon (or, at the end of a long rally, all-evening) affair. With every horse I've dealt with since my time with Jacob I've been grateful for those lessons that he taught me. By the end of the next spring, it was obvious that I was fast outgrowing him (if only he could be bigger than 12.2!) and that I wouldn't be able to ride him much longer. We brought Jacob back to camp in the summer of 2000 with very heavy hearts, thinking that he would be leaving Black Brook for good, as I could no longer ride him. Much to my shock and delight, however, at the end of the year the owners of the camp decided to retire Jacob and asked if we would consider letting him live out his days with us. Fortunately my parents agreed and that fall Jacob joined us permanently.

Over the next few years Jacob was ridden by numerous young girls, including Corinne Ashton's young daughter Marissa, before going into complete retirement in 2003. Most recently, he won over the heart of my childhood nanny's young daughter, Reilly, and even came briefly out of retirement to give her her first pony ride last winter.

Jacob touched the lives of everyone he came into contact with. I certainly know that I never would be the horsewoman I am today without the extraordinary gift that he bestowed me with his unending kindness, exuberance, and zest for life. He'll be very deeply missed.

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