Dudley [War Navigator] was a great horse. He was twenty-one years
old, a big bay Thoroughbred. Donna and Dudley were the perfect pair.
When Annie and I first came to Maple Row they opened their arms and
welcomed us into the family. It was almost too much but I learned that
Donna's generosity is genuine and real. She and Dudley were our most
frequent riding buddies.
Donna loved Dudley with maternal pride and devotion. She was the 'Felix' I had in mind in my grooming post.
She rode Dudley with
love and intelligence and he responded.
Who knew that Tuesday was
our last ride together? The four of us rode indoors. Donna and Dudley
trotting haunches in was such a beautiful sight, I had to say out loud,
"He looks so handsome!"
The next day he was found lying down in
his stall, unable to get up. The vet was called. Before the day was
done Donna said goodbye to her friend.
I stood in front of his empty, cleaned-out stall and cried. Other
boarders speculated about what caused Dudley's sudden undoing. That's
what we do when we try to distance ourselves from the fear it could
happen to us. Really it doesn't matter. What matters is we will never
again share in the grace that was Donna and Dudley. A sad loss to us; a
brutal loss for Donna.
Many of us have known great horses who
have passed on. We know the team we were with a particular partner can
never be duplicated. Pressing my face against Annie's warm, fuzzy neck,
I thanked God for this gift and for the time I have with her.