Each night, when we close the barn doors and shut the lights, we commission our horses to God for safekeeping. While we slept last night, in the quiet dark of our barn, a champion went Home.
Sir Ringo Star was the name his breeder, actor William Shatner, gave him when he was born into his famed Belle Reve Farm herd. We called him Captain. He was the commander of our Saddleseat team, the keystone of our academy program.
Regal and wise, his presence commanded attention. In another lifetime, he surely was a king. In this lifetime, he certainly behaved as one. Our pampered prince. We knew our place as his servants. When Captain wanted to go play, we took him. Five minutes later, when Captain wanted back in his stall, we brought him to his stall, where he then expected and received a full grooming with the softest brushes and fluffy towels. He loved baby carrots, sliced apples, and anything his velvet nose could sneak from pockets.
The trailer didn't leave CLS bound for a horse show without him - in the big stall, of course, knee deep with extra shavings, his elegant legs wrapped just so.
He came to us through Steve and Julia Joyce, legendary trainers and our dear friends. William Shatner had placed Captain in their loving care. After falling in love with him, they suggested to the actor and avid horseman that he entrust this grand horse to us, for "Parker's babies" to adore and show.
Captain granted us greatness, from his back and in his presence. He gifted Cashlyn her first big wins as an instructor. From his back, our riders learned to soar in ways mere mortals rarely do.
Only Captain and God know how or why he passed so suddenly, so young. Only those of us who enter barns each morning, hoping to find what we left the night before, know the horror of finding something else.
That's why each night, after I shut the lights and as I leave my horses safely tucked in the dark quiet of this old barn, I say out loud, "I love you, my angels. God will keep you until I can see you again."
Captain, my pampered prince, God is keeping you until all who loved you can see you again.