I can still remember the day they came for him. He was loaded into a pony
trailer that was dwarfed by his now 15.2+ hand, 1,200 lbs. frame. I had lent
them a helmet to protect his poll from trauma as he willingly walked on the
trailer, stooped, and traveled home in that position. Only unshakable confidence
in his handler would allow him to enter such small confines and tolerate the
ride in such cramped quarters.
Six years later, another desperate call would come. This time, Flash's owner's personal situation had become precarious and she feared that Flash might possibly become a target of violence once again. An urgent plea was made for us to try and find someone to lease Flash until her life could return to some normality and she could be reunited with her best friend. After several phone calls and attempts to secure a lease, Tanya, our junior rider at the time, entered the picture.
It was a cold windy day in late fall when we first saw Flash grazing alone in a large open field with only sheep as his companions. It had been months since he had last been ridden, but the meeting went well and at the end of the visit, a signed lease was tucked safely in hand. The union between Flash and Tanya would become one of utter devotion. So once again, this time with caution and trepeditation for our own safety, Flash walked up the ramp and came home to the safe haven at Trillium.
Flash and Tanya would blossom not only physically, but in spirit, each giving one another a sense of worth; each learning that you can't always have your own way. In summer, they would travel the show circuit and tranquillity of the woodland trails. They were good for each other, inseparable - every day growing and learning about themselves. For a teenager going through the typical mayhem of youth, Flash had become an anchor, something solid and secure to hold on to. Something you could believe in and would keep you focused.
As the lease formally came to an end, and Flash was to return home, more than a few tears moistened the cheeks of those involved with this horse. When it was learned that he had found a new owner and home, Tanya felt it difficult to accept that her beloved Flash would no longer be a part of her life. It took great courage for her to watch Flash and his new owner parade the show ring. (I'm certain that Tanya rode every stride of the class from the rail.) But with maturity, Tanya soon accepted that Flash was loved too and being cared for as he should. Tanya can take pride in knowing that she in some small way contributed to his success.
Today, Flash is a star performer in the show arena competing at class "A" rated shows in the english and country pleasure divisions as well as saddle seat equitation. He has also shown in the hunter classes with much success. His future continues to look promising as he trots the tanbark, striding boldly and reaching longer with effortless ease.
So if by chance you wonder why all the hoopla and hollering that follows this majestic 15.3 hand horse down the rail, the tri-colour hanging from his headstall dancing in the breeze of a victory pass, just know that there is more behind the applause and cheers for a simple ribbon won. It's a celebration of struggle and accomplished that Flash has overcome and achieved. He has touched many lives as he trotted a true path over a trail of past illness, abuse, misfortune and lost love. The title of champion befits him, not only for his great ability as a Morgan horse, but also for his dauntless courage. If we had it to do over again that Friday afternoon in May, as we reflected upon our options over a cup of coffee, the decision would probably be the same - we would do it "for the love of Flash".