Friday, July 13, 2012

Farewell, Friend

The last few days have been tough ones. There have been several tragic events in the Chronicle family that, even though I am a very new member of the group, have hit me hard. It has been a sad reminder that life is fragile and things, unfortunately, sometimes happen over which we have very little control. Those events have certainly made my own problems and sadnesses seem pretty inconsequential in comparison.

Though it has not been the biggest tragedy in gross terms, the one that has hit the closest to home for me was the news that came yesterday that my most wonderful friend in the Stanford school horse program, Stanley, had passed away very suddenly due to colic.

As I've written about before, Stanley has always held a very special place in my heart. There has rarely been a horse that I've loved more, including all the horses I've been lucky enough to call my own over the years. There was just something unbelievably special about him. He also typified Stanford to me, and was probably the (non-human) thing that I loved about the school more than any other. To lose him is to lose a crucial part of what made my undergraduate years so special.

(Me and Stan this winter)

He was such a kind and gentle horse, and (though I am biased) I believe he had no faults. In all the years I rode him, I literally cannot think of a single time where he was deliberately naughty or misbehaved. He sometimes couldn't do the things I asked of him, but he never said 'I don't want to,' ever. He had a heart of pure gold.

In his time at Stanford, he came to us as an ex-Grand Prix show jumper and high power show horse, who transitioned first into an open-level mount for the team and then eventually became a walk-trot, PE, and dressage stalwart. He was unbelievably versatile and filled an incredible number of roles with his characteristic aplomb. He was patient, kind, and unbelievably generous. He was one of those rare horses that could give as much to more experienced riders like me as he did to riders like my friend, Clare, who were just starting out.

One of my favorite memories of Stanley was when my mom got a chance to ride him this spring. She had heard my many stories of admiration over the years and had met him and grown to love him herself. When she finally got to ride him, it was so wonderful: they were both so happy. Mom was thrilled to finally ride The Legend that was Stanley, and Stan in return was proud, as always, to please his rider.

(Mom and Stan - the image of happiness)

I'm planning on returning to Stanford this fall and seeing Stanley again was the top item on my list of to-dos. He was the last horse I said goodbye to and the only one I really wanted to ride one last time. I never got a final photo with him and had been hoping to get another this September. It's really, really hard to realize that that will never happen now.

(How could you not look forward to that face?)

I'm very sad about his passing, and more than a few tears have been shed in the past few days, but I'm comforted in knowing what a wonderful positive experience he had on my life, and on the lives of so many others. I'm so thankful to have gotten to know him, and have been touched by his wonderful presence.

From those of us who are left behind: you will be remembered, you were the one I needed, I loved you in my dreams.
-Bret Easton Ellis

Farewell, friend. I miss you.


Dom said...

I am so very sorry :(

Jessica said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, Stanley sounds like such a special horse.

Suzanne said...


The Fullers said...

oh wow i am so sorry :( sounds like he was an amazing horse and one that left something special to a lot of people!

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