June 20, 2019
The riding partner I’ve shared trails with for more than 2 decades lost his life to colic last week at age 25. He was a special horse. Here’s a little bit about what he was like.
We first came together totally by chance shortly after his 3- year-old season racing at area tracks, mostly Portland Meadows. His official name was Yammadammado, but he was known around his barn as Stilts (for obvious reasons when you look at him), so that name stuck for him with me, too.
Stilts hadn’t done much at the track, and I never raced him. Instead he became my lifelong companion, both on and off his back. Starting out, I didn’t have much experience riding a really good horse, especially one like him – young, fit, energetic, strong, and bred and trained to run, mostly to the left and always wanting to go faster. But over time and with lots of help, I got better and we became inseparable, and we started piling up what became a lifetime of shared experiences.
Not only was Stilts an exhilarating horse to ride, but he was a magnet to people who admire the natural beauty of horses. There aren’t many horses as downright handsome as he was, and I got the benefit of it. First, just being up on him made you feel like a bigshot. Plus, I’ve met many nice people and made several good friends through the years while riding him, simply because folks would stop and want to ask about him. He was the best conversation starter I’ve ever been around. Stilts liked the attention, too. He was a truly happy horse with a great attitude. He was gentle to be around and was especially kind and careful with children – no nipped little arms or stepped on toes from him, just lots of nuzzling and warm breaths.
In general, throughout his life Stilts was healthy. When he did need veterinary care, he received the best around. Thank you doctors Jennifer Saunders and Joe Teshera and the other caregivers at Willamette Valley Equine who kept him strong for so many miles and so many years. Thanks, too, to our wonderful neighbors Kathy and Bob Johnson for always giving their time and expertise on all things horsey, and to our neighbors who let me ride him on their properties.
Lastly, I want to let all the surgical and other staff at OSU who had a hand in caring for Stilts there know how much I appreciate their skill and professionalism, concern for him, and compassion for the whole situation.
They are all so kind.
R.I.P. Stilts. You were the best!
A donation was made in Stilts's memory and the memorial was created on July 17, 2019.