A poem was handed out at Dave’s funeral called “The Horseman’s Prayer. I would like to share it with you. It is pretty special.

Dearest God in Heaven,
Give me the strength to guide my horse.
Make my hands soft and my head clear. 
Let my horse understand me, and I him.
My heart You have blessed with a special love of these animals,
Let me never lose sight of it.
My soul You have gifted with a deep need for them.
Let that need never lessen.
Always let my breath catch as the sun gleams on an elegant head.
Always may my throat tighten at the sound of a gentle nicker.
Let the scent of fresh hay and a new bag of grain always be sweet to me.
Let the warm touch of a warm nose on my hand always bring a smile.
I adore the joy of a warm day on the farm.
The grace and splendor of a running horse,
The thunder of its hooves makes my eyes burn and my heart soar.
Let it always be so.

Dearest God, grant me patience,
For horses are harnessed wind and wind can be flighty.
Let me not frighten or harm them.
Instead show me ways to understand.
Above all, Dear God, fill my life with them.
I am not whole without them.
When I pass from this world, send my soul to no Heaven without them.
For this love You have given me graces my existence.
I shall cherish it and praise You for it for all time.

Author unknown

As I get older and experience more and more loss, I find I am asking myself how I will ever get through another goodbye. It’s been a tough go this last while, having to lay to rest some very dear senior dogs and horses.

Most recently, I had to make the heartbreaking and painful, though deeply compassionate, decision to euthanize one of our foundation mares, Roxie. She was becoming quite senior and dealing with significant arthritis and foot pain, a heart condition, and another long winter ahead.

Although not a big horse, she was most definitely bigger than life through her beautiful presence, absolute kindness, and outstanding progeny to share with us all. Roxie represented much more to me than what most people know about. She was a wonderful broodmare, producing 6 outstanding foals, and she was also a symbol of life, loss, love, and incredible inspiration to me.

When I was 16, shortly after losing my brother, I met David and Annette Pascoe at a farm where I was boarding. These two remarkable horsemen were a huge influence on me as a teenager, opening my eyes to the whole next level of training and connection we can have with horses.

After a relatively traditional start in a riding school as a kid, I understood and had a good skill set in the basics of ‘riding.’ Dave and Annette opened my eyes to the whole other world of ‘training.’ I remember watching Dave long-lining a young horse of theirs, and I was in awe! I wanted to learn it all! I was in such a vulnerable time in my life, struggling with the grief of losing my brother and desperately trying to survive and find my way. Dave’s quiet confidence and soft way with horses was magical to me – he understood them, and they understood him. This was a massive part of the inspiration to choose the path in life that I did. Dave and Annette became wonderful friends, supporters, and teachers to me over the years.

Fast forward to 2013, and devastation hit again as David lost his life to cancer at just 52. Annette’s world was turned upside down, and she had to find homes for their horses. Roxie was one of their homebreds, a beautiful mare sired by Rotspon and out of their beautiful Thoroughbred mare, Runaway Nurse. Annette knew I had been building a breeding program for several years. She offered Roxie to me in exchange for starting the mare’s first foal under saddle. I excitedly agreed and welcomed Roxie to our new farm in Oro Medonte.

For 10 years, I have been honoured to be Roxie’s guardian. She gave us 5 stunning foals, one of which will also stay with us for her lifetime, Braecrest Katniss. Katniss is now producing her own offspring, and this year, she gave us Braecrest Finnick, who was Grand Champion Canadian Sport horse, at the 2023 Royal Horse Show in Toronto!

Roxie was the mare we would always trust to be kind and gentle with anyone beginning to learn the ropes of horse handling. She was a true testament to Dave and Annette’s kindness and skill set in raising her. She will live on through her beautiful offspring and will be lovingly remembered for the rest of my days.

It was an honour to be her guardian and caregiver through her time with me. It was also an honour to lay her to rest, knowing that it was the last kind thing I could do for her.