This is not running related, but there is some similarity. A horse that my DD was involved with had a rough start. His name was Brave Heart. Turns out he was kept by people who thought that putting a horse in a fighting ring against cougars, bobcats and other fighting enemies was ok, there was money to be had. The ASPCA recued the horse and eventually it wound up at the barn where my DD does her riding.
On that day my DD saw something and convinced her boss to take the little guy (only 13.5 hands) on as a project, my DD would train him. Although he was just a little guy, he had such heart and drive that they couldn’t believe it. Not only was he a tough SOB, able to survive his early fate, he was really cute, handsome and pure white. He was a perfect little pure Arabian. Everyone loved him even though he had some interesting scars.
My DD brought his endurance training along slowly and he became a great little endurance horse, finishing every race he ever started. Can you imagine his feelings, after what he had been though finding a loving home where he was able to hang out in pastures with lots of other horses and had people feeding and caring for him every day. Plus he got to run the local trails and had a little girl who would come and take him out for rides on endless trails. Again, everybody just loved this “little horse with the past”, especially his number one fan, my DD.
He even had his own FB page as linked here: https://www.facebook.com/#!/barefootbraveheart
I think as trail runners we can relate to his joy and freedom of running the trails, his new-found love.
Last Friday (Dec 13, 2013) my DD was riding him in a 100 miler in Florida, not too fast near the back of the pack, when tragedy struck. Here is her FB Post:
Hi friends...I guess by now you've heard that we lost Brave last night. Words cannot express how much pain I am in. To have your best friend collapse under you is the worst fear of any equestrian, and I never thought I would lose Brave. On his last day, Brave Heart raced with me through beautiful trails, happy and with the people who loved him most in this world. He was 10 miles from the finish when he stopped. I thought that he had a severe cramp, or was tying up at first. But it soon became clear that something worse was happening. At first, I tried to keep him moving, but soon I just had to lay with him and keep him calm. Brave died from a series of seizures most likely caused by a blood clot, preventing oxygen from entering his brain. I am devastated to the core. But I know Brave, and I know that he was happy and had found new life in his endurance career. He loved the trails, loved me, and I loved him. I'm proud to have shared his final day with him, so happy and perfect.
Here are a few photos of my DD and Brave from last Friday, their last race together.
At mile 50.
At about mile 65.
During the race he passed 5 Vet checks, including one at mile 85, just 5 miles before the incident. These photos were taken during the rest periods associated with the Vet checks.
Grindstone 100 mile, Oct 7
Faster Than Your Couch!
So sorry to hear about this tragic loss, Sandy. It must be really hard on your DD. It is always hard having to accept that a loved animal has passed away and is not there any more.
But, as any trail runner would want it, he passed away doing what he loved to do, and he did not have to suffer. He died having the arms of the girl he loved and who loved him around him. I am sure your DD will treasure the memories of her rides and races with him.
Run for fun.
So sorry to hear about this tragic loss, Sandy. It must be really hard on your DD.
I should add another funny thing my DD told me about him. When they were racing and trying to catch up on riders in front of them, Brave Heart would whinny as if to say “hi guys, I’m here, gonna catch up in a minute”. My DD would laugh and whisper in his ear, “Brave, you need to be quiet we’re trying to sneak up on them”, but he was so social, he couldn’t help himself. She would come off loops laughing, they had a great time together.
Sue: Team Sweet 16
Man that's so sad Sandy...at least he had a great life in the end. I can't believe how cruel people can be to animals. How does anyone get any pleasure from watching anything suffer? I actually bawled reading this.
10/14/15/16 Grand Circle Trailfest
11/12/16 Vasa 25K
12/17/2016 Woodside Ramble 50K
+1 I'm reading this thread while watching football and my eyes are watering up. Glad no one is in the room. Sad but good story.
So sorry to hear this. Your DD and Brave Heart had a great bond, that will keep on giving.
Sandy, so sorry to hear about losing Brave Heart. Agree with Couch that at least your DD was there with him.
Was Brave her primary horse, or does she have others in the stable?
Dang it, Man!!! I am sorry to hear that. I was thinking about you and your daughter the other day when I was watching Hidalgo.
The more I think about this horse's origin the more mad I get. I can't imagine someone putting a horse, or any other animal, in some sort of enclosure to fight for its life in the name of entertainment/money. I am glad the horse was rescued and had a good life at the end. And, I really think one of the reasons I like the sport of trail running is that the people I meet restore my belief that we humans have some redeeming qualities, like compassion, kindness, honesty, and forgiveness.
Why anyone would want to watch animals fight is beyond me. That's so sad the horse died, but your daughter helped give him a happy life that started so bad.
Where is the tissue box? Your DD has a huge heart Sandy. How wonderful of her to see the heart in this poor beast and help him shine. I hope he didn't suffer much. I hope your DD is able to be strong through this. Sorry, words fail me.
Thanks for sharing, Sandy. I'm so sorry about Brave Heart. He was beautiful.
Huh, I have a blog?
Thanks everyone, my DD is still very sad. She chokes up just trying to talk about it, still too fresh. She hasn't wanted to ride, but I think her friends will get her out soon.
Thread killer ..
She will it just takes a bit , it's hard to start over with a new partner . Give her a hug for me .