Everything sublime is as difficult as it is rare. Baruch Spinoza

Friday, November 27, 2009


DLKS Korithian
1988 - 2009

My heart is broken. My bad, wonderful, willful, arrogant, amazing Shaka has died.

He suffered a colic yesterday. Shaka never coliced, but the one he had was one he couldn't overcome. So last evening we put him to peace.

He was the one. A difficult, HOT, smart and extremely talented horse who could buzz-saw his way through trainers. When we finally found the right one, he showed how much it was worth, tolerating that so difficult personality. He proved a horse did not need to be 18 hands to move like the warmbloods.

When I first saw him something clicked. He immediately dumped me, hard. I wrote a check and I wrote many, many checks for years after. My husband would ask me "Isn't that horse trained yet?" Not when he had the sky's the limit talent. His last trainer wanted to take him to Florida with him over the winter to finish him at Grand Prix, but I wouldn't let him go. I was his guardian, the wall between people who could get so frustrated with him there was a real risk for abuse. So he never quite finished the quest, but not because he couldn't. He retired the following year because of arthritis in a knee.

He never actually retired though. Not in his mind. He maintained his position of honor in the barn as well as the pasture. He was the one and he knew it. Bossy, nosey, loved.

I can't believe I won't see those small, alert ears perked forward as he hears the cellophane wrapper coming off his peppermint candy. He was a junkie for peppermint. His deep-throated uh uh as he anticipates something. He came like a dog when called, so I could always count on him to bring the herd up by calling "Shaka!"

Funny that a horse so many people did not like, I loved fiercely. He was my boy. My bad boy. All those years ago when I hit the ground and bought the horse neither one of us knew the adventure we would embark on. We didn't know at the time that I was the person he needed to have, the person who let it roll, no matter what. A perfect team. Now my heart breaks.

Shaka will lay in the pasture next to my other beloved, LF Diamond Rose.


  1. Oh Sandra, I am so very sorry. I can only try and imagine how you feel. Sounds like you two had an amazing bond and he was very lucky to have you to stand between him and the world who might not understand nor appreciate him.

    Thank you for sharing so many photos of him. He was a beauty.

    I remember wailing and wailing over the unexpected death of our golden retreiver - the grief could not be contained. I hope your DH supports you through your grief at this time. Take tender care of yourself.

  2. Sandra, I just read the news and I am in shock. He was too young, but perhaps becoming increasingly lame was not something that his spirit would have been able to tolerate. He was meant to be yours. Through everything, I believe it was the mutual respect you two had for each other that made it work. As I said on FB, I believe that World's End would not have come to be as it is now, but not for SHAKA. My heart breaks with yours.

  3. Bonnie, he was meant to be with me. I was a fierce advocate for him. In the end, I was right. Mark is as sad as I am about the death of Shaka. He's been in out lives a long time. Some holes are larger than others and the loss of this horse is a big hole in my heart.

    Jean, you are right. He started the ball rolling in the direction I took. He was complicated, but I always thought he hung the moon. He did me a final favor. I knew he was not going to make it through the winter, but the thought of putting a bright-eyed horse down because his leg didn't work anymore was gut-wrenching for me. I believe you are right, the independent and strong Shaka took his own way out.

    He is being buried as I type.

  4. My heart breaks for you...It sounds like he had the life he was suppose to and perhaps how it ended was his way as well.
    I will be thinking of you as you grieve over the loss of your boy.

  5. I just saw the news on facebook so I knew I should check in over here. He was beautiful! Sienna said he looked like her dream horse. What a beauty and I am sure it is hurting so much now. Just stopped in to say I am sorry and send you hugs. Ash

  6. Sandra, my deepest condolences for you and your loss. You have some beautiful photographs of your horse friend. I am so glad you shared them with us. I pray for ministering angels to attend your broken heart today. Blessings

  7. Sandra: He was beautiful ~ & as lucky to have you as you were to have him. The animals that leave the biggest holes in our hearts have the biggest personalities but, oh, they are worth it!♥hugs♥

  8. so sorry to hear that...i had two horses like that. ones that i love fiercely and no one else understood, but they loved me back.

    at least you have some completely spectacular pictures of him!

    thinking of you...


  9. I'm so sorry Sandra, he was beautiful and he was YOUR horse. We only get so many of those special ones in a lifetime.

  10. I read the news on facebook too, and came here to read more.
    I am so sorry Sandra, and thank you for sharing your story and photos.

  11. Oh man. I am so sorry. Losing an animal in our life is truly like losing a family member. There is a period of mourning that follows. I wish you the best during this process

  12. Judy, I can't be sad about Shaka's life. He was the Prince and lived a very good life. He knew he was special.

    Ashley, many people would have said he was a nightmare, but I agree with sienna. He was my dream horse. I hope she finds hers.

    Debra, it's a good thing I showed him in the main ring before he became a dressage horse exclusively. I would not have any show photos had I not. They are old and grainy though.

    Ganeida, he had a personality alright! They are so large when alive that they can't help but leave a large empty space when they die.

    julochka, you are lucky to have had horses like that. Shaka loved me as much as I loved him. Otherwise I would never have been able to ride him. He was very particular.

    J, thanks, he was my horse.

    Jean, thank you.

    Jules, you are so right. I spend more time with my animals then I do my human family. The grief is as intense no matter if the one dying has two legs or four. With the animals, at least in my case, I am directly involved in the dying. It becomes very personal.

    I want to thank everyone for the kindness you have shown me. I really appreciate it.

  13. Such sad news! This is always so hard as they are part of our family. What a wonderful thing that he found someone like you with understanding of his unique blend of talent and individuality! He ended up having a great life with you. Imagine what it could have been like in unsympathetic hands.

  14. Thank you dressage rider. I knew what his life would have been in the wrong hands. He taught me a lot, most important of which was patience and tolerance. I lacked in both before I met him. I called him the love of my life and Mark accepted it. He accepted it because he knew what Shaka did for me as a person who was searching. Shaka and I were simpatico.

    Although losing him is a very hard thing, I was going to need to make the decision soon anyway. He had terrible arthritis in his left knee and it was reaching a point of an awful decision. He was dying when we found him in his stall. Although it was bad and I knew he was dying, the really bad part came right before the vet came out. So the horrible part of this was short. I've dealt with a lot of colic, I have some frequent tummy aches, but I've had two die from torsion in five months. It's enough to give me gray hair, but I already have gray hair.

  15. So sorry to hear about your dear horse. The willful ones are the most loved.

    I came over to thank you for visiting my blog. The pie was wonderfully good but so rich the smallest slice was almost too much.

  16. Ellen, thanks for looking in and for your comment about Shaka.

    The pie looked wonderful.

    Hillsidefarm, Thank you. It's a tough one.

  17. Oh, Sandra, my heart breaks for you. To loose one that is so much a part of you is unbearable. I am thinking of you... Loosing not only one, but two to colic in such a short time is devastating. The ones that trust us and that we understand are the hardest to loose.

  18. I am so sorry to hear of your loss of your beloved Shaka!! He was beautiful and your gave him a home with so much love.
    I know I could never sell Brandy, I know most people could not deal with her "issues", and would worry about where she might end up. You did a wonderful thing, taking him in and giving him the best life.
    You will be in my thoughts!!

  19. Alicia, It's a surprise when you realize you won't be able to pull them through it. I've brought horses through so many colic events it was shocking when I couldn't. Thank you for your kindness.

    Paint Girl, when you have a special needs horse you know the responsibility that comes with it. Also the rewards. Thank you for commenting on Shaka. He would be so pleased so many people have acknowledged him.

  20. Oh Sandra, I don't know how I missed this post... I am so sorry for your loss. I read this the other day somewhere, liked it and saved it...it must have been for you.

    "Grieve not,
    nor speak of me with tears,
    but laugh and talk of me
    as if I were beside you
    I loved you so
    'twas Heaven here with you."

    Isla Paschal Richardson

    I am guessing there a thousands of stories of Shaka. I am sure his memory will fill your belly with laghter and your eyes with tears, for years to come.

    I hope, too, that you know you will see him on the other side.

    And finally, colic sucks! It just sucks!!!

  21. gsc, how lovely that is. Thank you. I certainly have been spooked by colic.


I really appreciate the concept and sentiment behind awards, but I cannot participate in them anymore. I have too may and I have not got the time to devote to participating properly. To all who have honored me, I am grateful but I don't have seven more things to tell anyone about myself! And I'm a terrible passer-oner.