Friday, January 30, 2009

In Memory

I didn’t even suspect that Tevis 2007 would be my next to last completion with Sinatra. We had been battling squamous cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer, on Sinatra’s left upper lip/nose area for the past few years. That summer, the cancer was very much in remission and was nearly gone entirely. Unfortunately, in the Fall it came back with a vengeance. After numerous trips to several local vet clinics, and a trip down to UC Davis for a consult with the equine oncologist, the very hard decision to retire Sinatra to a life of leisure, food and fun out to pasture with a herd of other horses was made. Sinatra enjoyed 4 months of living in horsey paradise before having to be euthanized due to his cancer in December 2008.

I find it fitting that our very last ride together, was also our very first - The Rides of March here in Reno, Nevada. Also, they have now moved to a new ridecamp location, and Sinatra's ashes are scattered among the hills overlooking the new trail. From our very first 30-mile limited distance ride in March 2003, to our last 50-mile completion in March 2008, Sinatra was my partner and friend. He could be a total pain in the butt (heck, be bucked me off on BOTH of those rides), but he could also be my steady-eddy trustworthy trail partner. I'm very blessed with some of the precious memories he left me with:
  • The faces he would make when I would scratch in all the right spots. I think he could stick his upper lip out 4" and roll his eyes clear back in his head. How I couldn't ever clean his corral without him "accidentally" backing up and WHOOPS! putting his butt right in my way to be scratched.
  • An early morning start at the Tour de Washoo ride, where a coyote stood on a rock at eye-level with me not 50 feet from the trail and watched us trot by.
  • Power trotting the California Loop at Tevis after 80 hard miles - so strong and sure in the lead, his dark coat gleaming in the moonlight.
  • The time he went down on his knees unexpectedly, with me mounted, to get a drink out of a puddle that was in a deep depression, and forgot to LIFT his head to compensate and scuba dived clear up to his eye balls in mud. He blew mud balls out his nose for hours! I laughed so hard I nearly fell off.
  • Having to stand in my stirrups to slow him down coming into camp on our first 100, I was so awed by him that day/night.
  • Being asked to have Sinatra sponsor other horse's through a ride, many times! He had "steady chug" down to a science.
  • Winning the Hairiest Horse Award at our Spring local schooling show... by a LONG shot!
  • How he would go off the trail and plow over the top of taller bushes to scratch his belly and legs when he was sweaty. And how at Sunriver he did it with a small pine TREE and was grunting and groaning with pleasure while rocking back and forth, branches sticking out every which way, me on top. All 3 of us girls riding were laughing so hard, I was in tears.
  • Our quiet moments together in the evenings
  • His expectant face - waiting for something to eat - everytime I got in my trailer at a ridecamp, and how he wasn't often disappointed.
Good bye my buddy – on your back was accomplished the dream of a lifetime. You will always be in my heart. I miss you... so much!


txtrigger said...

What a wondeful horse and friend. You have memories that will be with you, in your heart forever.

"Ice Pony Girl" said...

Forever a spot in your heart will belong to Sinatra. {{{HUGS}}}

Reiki sent for his last journey.

Horseshooter said...

What a character! I'm sorry I never got to meet him personally. Let me know if there's a Tevis photo of him you want.

Ann said...

Oh Crysta, what a lovely tribute to beautiful Sinatra.


Merri said...

Oh man, I have tears in my eyes. I'm so glad I met both of you, I think it was that "Moderate My Ass!" NASTR ride in Nevada where you and Gretchen and I were all overtime. Hugs to you and Sinatra. I know he had a great life with you, and now he's now getting to meet and romp with some of my old friends in the great beyond : )

Lynda said...

As your Mom, I had a love hate relationship with Sinatra. How I hated how many times he had bucked you or dumped you off. How many times I prayed to God you were never seriously hurt. How many times I asked you to sell him because of it. You believed in him, and near the end I too loved him. He even learned to love his "Grandma" almost as much as he loved his "Mom". I will never forget crewing for you at Sunriver. He insisted on walking between us. I treasure being able to crew for you at Tevis. I will never forget the feeling we all had as you both crossed over the finish line! Me and Joe spent many happy times riding behind your "Cho Cho Train", as I use to call him. I know he was loved and will be missed. Especially the quiet times you shared just between you and him. I love you. Mom

Kim Mileo said...

Crysta, I am so sorry for your loss. Nothing can replace Sinatra but I now you have your great memories. I remember riding with you and Sinatra at one of the Washoe rides along with Leslie Spitzer on Eagle. We had such a good time that day. You and Sinatra are in my thoughts and prayers.
Kim Mileo

Kim Mileo said...

Crysta, I am so sorry for your loss. Nothing can replace Sinatra but I now you have your great memories. I remember riding with you and Sinatra at one of the Washoe rides along with Leslie Spitzer on Eagle. We had such a good time that day. You and Sinatra are in my thoughts and prayers.
Kim Mileo

DarcyLynne said...

Although, Sinatra's passing is steaped in sadness, it gives one pause to know how much of a delight Sinatra dispensed. There is something very rewarding to look back on one's time with their equine companion and know the memories, no matter how good or bad, are etched positively in one's mind.

You are fortunate to have had an equine, in Sinatra that was not only your companion, he was part of your heart and your soul!

Rest in peace dear Sinatra. May your ashes forever be the stimulous to motivate other horse and riders along the trail.

elsietee said...

Sinatra was Roo's best trail buddy - not because they liked each other (Sinatra seemed to tolerate him like a younger brother), but because he didn't make Roo crazy. Unfortunately, the same can't exactly be said for Roo's effect on Sinatra - he was partly responsible for Crysta's unexpected last dismount at Rides of March last snowy spring.

But through Sinatra's lens, I could see Roo's worker-bee attitude blossom. When he grew up, he was going to be just like Sinatra (although perhaps without the detours into the undergrowth to relieve those annoying itchies).

We were lucky enough to ride with Crysta and Sinatra on numerous occasions and, despite looking nothing like your "conventional endurance horse", he never failed to impress me with his square attitude to his job. He was a joy to watch in motion - a compact bundle of glossy muscle trotting up those long Nevada grades.

We were glad to know him and even gladder that we got the chance to tag behind in his dust.

Cynthia LeDoux-Bloom said...

Crysta & Sinatra,

I am so very sorry to hear about Sinatra. Kosmos and I have shared many, many trails miles with you both. We will never forget hooking up with you the last few miles of Tevis, you waiting up for us to finish the Patriot 100... Meeting you both made Kos and I better partners!

We are blessed my grey guy and old blues eyes were so well matched. I am thankful that you put up with me singing old Sinatra tunes as we trotted along-

You both will be in our hearts always!

Love & Happy Trails,

Cynthia & SJ Kerensky (Kosmos)

erbjorum said...

Isaw you on Sinatra one day at a ride. You were sitting, waiting patiently for him to finish scratching his tummy on a big ol sagebrush. Very nice tribute you wrote...made me tear up.

Dawn Simas said...

I am so saddened to hear about your loss. I lost my dearest dog to this same cancer. I remember Sinatra's nose back when I first met you, but didn't know that was what it turned out to be. I found this poem when my dearest horse was put down, I hope it is as comforting to you as it was me:

Somewhere...somewhere in time's own space
There must be some sweet pastured place
Where creeks sing on and tall trees grow
Some Paradise where horses go,
For by the love that guides my pen
I know Great Horses live again.

--Stanley Harrison

Anonymous said...

our equine soulmates touch your head, hand and heart.

blessings and prayers
gp in montana

Dawn said...

Crysta, I'm so sorry to hear of Sinatra's passing. You and he were such a wonderful team. I have no doubt that he loved every moment the two of you shared together. Your tribute to him brought tears to my eyes...I'm glad that you have so many wonderful memories of him to help you through the sadness.

Dawn Carrie

~Endurance Granny said...

Wow. I'm just finding this in 2012. What an incredible ride ~C. I smiled, and I'm pretty teary too. What a blessing these incredible horses can be, especially when you nail a partnership like that. I'm years too late telling you. But gentle hug, 'cause he sounds like your heart horse.

I had no idea of these other blogs, your ride history, any of that. Thank you so much for linking it up, it is like breathing new air.

Dom said...

Re-read this since we spent so much time talking about him last night. Bawled my eyes out.