A few years back, a fellow competitor said to me that if they had as much bad luck as me they would quit.
At the time, I’m not exactly sure what I thought of that comment. I think I might have been a little pissed actually.
Now I think about that comment and laugh, because I’ve had some bad luck, but I’ve had some great luck too.
I've received a lot of emails and letters about Cooper (thank you so much), and I am shocked at the support. But the one thing these messages have made me realize is how incredibly lucky I was to have the honor of riding a horse that was as talented and gifted as Cooper. I owe a lot of my life right now to that horse, and the opportunities he gave me are endless.
To say that this week was hard is an understatement…a lot of people know this feeling.
The day after, I walked into the barn and had a really hard time not seeing his face. He had a great face. I cleaned out his stall, which had to be stripped because he was on shavings to make it easier for him. And when I was done I sat down and cried. I wanted to do it myself for some reason. I don’t want to ever forget what he made me feel like, and every tear I shed for Cooper makes me feel closer to him somehow, and I almost welcome them.
I remember when I lost Henry to colic, my young rider coordinator told me that I was really lucky to have a horse like that. Sometimes people only get one horse like that in a lifetime.
Then I had Kozmo, who had more heart than any horse I have ridden since. Then came Cooper who, without saying, made dreams happen.
Becky Holder sent me a message saying, "You are a talent, and Cooper led you to center stage. Carry on knowing that he showed you what you are capable of."
This was a wonderful thing to say, and I will carry on because I owe that to Cooper and myself. I love this sport whether times are good or bad. I will mourn Cooper, I will miss him, I will break down and cry at random moments for a long long time, but this will make me stronger, it will make me better, and it will remind me of every opportunity I have been blessed to have because of him.
If you have a favorite photo that you've taken of Cooper, and you'd like to include it in the photo gallery, email the photo to firstname.lastname@example.org. It has to be a photo you've taken, not one you've bought from a professional. Include your name, where the photo was taken, and why Cooper was special to you.