At bedtime when she’s here or I’m at her house, I often lie down for a snuggle with B. She invariably asks me for a Little Peach story, an impromptu feat of imagination I no longer carry off as well as I did for her mom, so I’ve started to ask her if she’d rather hear a story about when her mother was a little girl.

One of her favorites is a story about H at a horseshow. Like a lot of little girls, H was passionate about horses. She had lessons, eventually a pony of her own, and when she was bigger, a wonderful jumper and event horse named Panache, who, early in the relationship, frankly scared the sweet bejeezus out of her mother and me. But H had an excellent teacher, learned how to control all that power, and the two of them had great fun together.
One Saturday, the two of them went off to a show jumping competition in which one of H’s earlier teachers, who had done a great job teaching her the basics and a good bit more, would be riding a favorite. Panache was in his prime, H was riding joyfully, and they rode absolutely clear rounds to win. B, who has visited Panache in his Vermont retirement, loves my (much-embellished) version of this story.

Sadly Panache, died last night. He’d been a sweet, easy-going boy—except in competition, when all he wanted was to go fast and jump high, and when he demonstrated he was a terrific athlete. He’d had a very comfortable retirement. And he was a very, very old man. He was also, of course, much loved by us all.

I’ve just discovered that all our pictures of P and H flying over things are those antique paper things. But here are a few shots digitized:

A little snuggle, I think the fall H went off to college.

Early retirement in Vermont, spring 2003.

And the B has a go in 2011.


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