I knew such a horse. His name was Clyde. Those of you who read the article on the USTA website know that Clyde was euthanized on March 2, unable to continue his fight against Melanoma at the age of 29. Everything that article talked about was true, but I would like to share my story.
In 2009, years of illness and injury finally took its toll and I was confined to a wheelchair whenever I went outside for any length of time. Needless to say, it was a tough situation to handle; it still is. However, I love racing at Historic Track so my wife Sheri made a point of making sure I would get to go to Goshen that year, requesting handicapped seats so I could watch the races.
I believe it was July3, 2009 when Clyde was having his retirement ceremony from outriding at Goshen. Jodi Riedel, Clyde's owner of many years (and standardbred trainer) had decided it was time for Clyde to enjoy life as a pensioner; no more chasing loose horses for him. After the retirement ceremony, it was announced that Clyde would be available for pictures at the end of the day's races. So the last race concluded and we were on our way out the exit. Sheri asked me if I wanted to meet Clyde and realizing a bunch of kids were having their pictures taken with him, I said "No, it is for kids", but that was not going to stop Sheri. So Sheri walked over to Jody and asked her I could meet Clyde even if I was in a wheelchair. Jodi said, "Of course" so Sheri pushed me over to meet Clyde.
So Clyde and I met, and without any prompting or treats, Clyde came over to me and we literally were face to face; his face touching mine. For a brief moment, all was right in the world. Clyde and I made a connection and the rest of the world was shut out. What wheelchair? It was as if I was healed for a brief moment. So we left the races that day and went home, I was thrilled I got to meet Clyde, such a majestic animal.
Admittedly, after a few days, the aura of meeting Clyde faded and things went back into the typical routine. Then came the December 2009, edition of Hoof Beats along with the annual feature known as the Golden Hoof Awards. I was reading that particular section and lo and behold I came upon this picture.
|Clyde and me sharing a moment. Photo by Ellen Harvey, Harness Racing Communications. Used with the permission of the USTA|