Date of Death: April 16, 2007

Taco, it is with a heavy heart I write this well-deserved memorial tribute to you. I knew the day would eventually come where you'd be with me only in spirit, although I never wanted to believe it really would. The six years I stood by your side contain the most precious times and happiest moments of my life. Although the pain of losing you is something I'll carry with me forever, I realize that I am so lucky and blessed to ever even have had a friend like you.

God had a plan for Taco and I. Stroking his dirt-laden, fuzzy old-man coat of hair on my 11th birthday was just the start of the incredible journey I'd find myself embarking on for six years with none other than a 35 year-old equine partner. He was my horse, I was his girl. As every horseman and woman knows, the horse world is filled with twists, turns, and changes, like an untraveled bridle path, so horses often quickly come and go. Miraculously, through the several trials and tribulations we were put up against in our time together, things worked out just so that Taco and I were able to be together until the very end of his life.

That was a promise I secretly made to him, and it is a comfort to know that I was able to keep it. For years, I spent my weekends fussing over him on the crossties, and I couldn't have been happier doing it. It didn't matter if it was boiling hot or brutally cold outside; I'd do anything in my power to make sure I was there beside my friend. And in return, he was there beside me. Any time I needed someone to hug, someone to talk to, or someone to simply sit in a 12' x 12' stall with, I knew I could depend on Taco.

If only I could have it all back. I miss the times when he'd gallop after the birds in an effort to rid his pen of them, or when he'd get scared of the big bad monster known to us as a camera. I miss pulling out the loads and loads of hair that would come with every shedding season, only to pull out loads and loads more in a seemingly never-ending process. I miss the way he'd snort and groan after taking a refreshing roll in the dirt, and I miss watching patiently (and anxiously!) as he finally got back to his feet. I miss watching him knock his senior pellets out of the bucket and onto the floor, as if they somehow tasted better that way. I miss sitting with him on the mounting block, forgetting about anything and everything else going on to focus on only one thing - the everlasting bond I have with my horse.

So, Taco, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for how much joy you have brought to my life. Thanks for the years, thanks for the memories, and most of all, thank you for being my friend. I'm sorry you had to suffer in the end. For as long as I live, I am sure there will never be another one quite like you. You will be with me for the rest of my life. I'll never forget how much you meant and will always mean to me.

One thing's for sure - if I make it to heaven, the first place I'm going is the barn.

I love ya, buddy.


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