Blondie's Memorial Page

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My Buddy, by Sara Kingrey
With a heart so big, no wonder she could fly so fast.

I believe I entered Blondie’s life at a time in which she was having an epiphany with herself.  She started to resent her age, and wanted to be young again.  And being young is exactly what she did.  I think if Blondie had been able to pick a song for her death, she would have chosen the Billy Joel song, “Only the Good Die Young.”

Blondie could really run with the best of them.  It baffled some people to imagine this little old mare being able to compete and win in all different classes.  She took ribbons in virtually anything she entered, including barrels, poles, keyhole, jumping figure 8, speed dash, pennant, rescue race, ribbon race, 4-in-a-line, egg and spoon, western pleasure, trail, english, jumping, and fun shows.  Thanks to Blondie, I have never left a show empty handed.  Last year, I usually ended up taking home about 4 or 5 ribbons every show.  Together, we even managed to place in Camas Prairie at the State Fair one year.  She was also the champion trail and egg & spoon horse at the 4-H shows at the Washington County Fair.  Blondie and I had a perfect score in the trail class, only achieved, to date, by 2 other horse and rider pairs.  Blondie could go from the slightest jog to a full out gallop with slightest cue.  She would turn with only the shift of my weight, and stop from the smallest indication.  Up until the end, she would basically know what I was asking for, before I asked.  She was also a reliable mount for such things as drill team, JETs, trail rides, camping trips, overnighters, and carrying me wherever I desired.

There was no need in trying to train Blondie.  If you put something completely new in front of her, she would perform it as though she had done it a million times.  Blondie would always do what was asked.  Even if it was questionable, she would comply without resistance and perform to the best of her ability.  She always gave everything her all.  She spoiled me.

Though she may not seem like it to most people, Blondie was one of the most affectionate horses I know.  She would come galloping from across from the far end of the feedlot (alright, her entrance wasn’t always quite that dramatic), would follow me anywhere, nicker when I called her name, and stand calmly next to me for hours on end.  I can’t put into words the amount of joy and happiness she brought into my life.  The thought of trying to do so overwhelms me.  I would spend endless hours at the ranch with Blondie.  Some remarked on how we even started to look a like.  She was also one of the smartest horses, and Blondie always knew that if she gave me a kiss, she would get a treat in return.

Blondie may have been rather short in stature, long in the back, pigeon toed, had one massive knee, and ate my food when given a chance.  But to me, she was perfect.  Losing Blondie isn’t only losing my horse, it’s losing my best friend.  I can’t say she’ll always be in my memory, for though she will, she’s more than just a memory.  My life as I’ve known it for the last 6 years will be dramatically different without her in it, but I don’t feel as though she has really left me.  Blondie was apart of who I was, who I’ve become, and who I will continue to be.  She’ll forever be galloping through my mind, leaving hoof prints in my heart.

The only thing that is getting me by is that fact in knowing that Blondie didn’t suffer long.  It appears that she died peacefully in her sleep, which is what I would have wanted for her.  She truly was one in a million, and she will always be my buddy.

Saint Blondie, by Betty Van Tassel

It was the summer of 1994 when I first started riding Blondie for Drill Team.  I was leasing Lee at the time but she was fast becoming chronically lame.  My first couple of rides on Blondie were a bit frustrating and my thoughts were “I’m glad I am not leasing this horse”.  After Lee’s spirited nature, Blondie was quite a change; however, after a few more rides, I quickly sensed that she was a wonderful horse. She was calm, sure footed, obedient, and completely trust worthy.  She could move out when asked but not get excited or out of control.

 

I started leasing Blondie and fell in love.  She quickly became “Saint Blondie” to me as I realized that she could do no wrong.    She was the best Drill Team horse ever.  She learned the pattern much more quickly than I did and was better at it, too.  She never forgot her moves.   In fact, if there was a change in the pattern, Saint Blondie would need a firm hand to convince her that the old way was not always the best way.  She was as steady in the State Fair Coliseum as she was at practice in the outdoor arena.  Like a good saint, she forgave all of my faults and inadequacies, never got nervous, and always took good care of me.  I felt safe with her.  What more can a mere mortal ask of an equine friend. 

 

Blondie took care of me for five years before going lame – there were lessons, Drill Team, trail rides, fun shows, and camping trips.  We did it all.  I thought we would ride off into the sunset together, but that was not to be.  Again, I had to reluctantly switch my lease.  It took Blondie a couple of years to mend well enough to take on another leasee.  These last few years, she and Sara Kingrey became a Dynamic Duo.  They were quite a pair.  They both looked like they were enjoying themselves and Blondie became young again. 

 

We all have our favorite memories and Blondie will live on in mine.    Even now as I am brushing away tears, I am smiling, thinking of our many greats rides.  Now she really is Saint Blondie in horsy heaven.  That might sound anthropomorphic, but it makes perfect sense to me!

The Perfect Match, by Heather Nierengarten
Having ridden with Sara and Blondie at least 3 times a week for the last few years, I had a chance to witness one of the closest bonds between a horse and rider that I have ever seen. Out in the pasture, Blondie did not appear to have a strong personality, but when Sara would call her name, she became a different horse. Blondie would do anything for Sara. Anything, that is, except stand still while DMSO was applied to her leg. Little Blondie, who never seemed to react strongly (or at all, for that matter) to anything, came running (yes, running) out of the barn straight at Sage and me, who were hooked up to the bathing stall, when Sara attempted to squirt DMSO onto a growth on her leg last summer. I heard Sara say, "Wait, Blondie!!....well, there goes my horse," and I turned around just in time to see her charge out of the barn. I was startled and extremely amused to see the steadfast Blondie so thoroughly disgruntled. Sara later informed me that according to the whirls on Blondie’s forehead, she had an over reactive personality…something that I never would have believed had I not witnessed her grand escape.

Sara and Blondie were a perfect match. They each brought out the best in each other, and I had never seen Blondie so happy as when she was spending time with Sara and receiving (large amounts) of treats before, during, and after each ride. After her down time for a few years with arthritis, Blondie appeared older than she was, but with Sara she was young again. I will miss her “over reactive” personality, and the joy and happiness that she brought to my friend.

Blondie Girl, by Christy Cotroneo
I remember the day I showed up to my Saturday afternoon riding lesson and found out that Mark was going to buy Blondie. I had long admired her in the feedlot; I had never ridden her, but just had this feeling that she would be perfect. I was right. I leased Blondie along with Betty in 1994 and learned so much. I joined Jet’s and had my first ride in the coliseum; rode bareback for the first time, bought my first piece of tack, and had my first horse crush. Blondie was fantastic. So smooth, willing, trustworthy, and sweet. Blondie taught me a lot about loving horses. It was the relationship I shared with her that helped to remind me how much I loved horseback riding. Blondie helped to bring me back to the ranch. I will be forever grateful to her for that.

I am so happy for Blondie that over the last few years she had Sarah, who she loved. She performed for Sara like no other, she seemed so truly happy. Blondie gave so much to so many others and me, it is comforting to know that she had her partner, the one who made her happy, with her up until the end. We love you Blondie, you will never be forgotten, thank you for all you have given to so many.

 

Blondie Poem, by Miranda Bieniek
I loved Blondie she was a dream to ride it was like riding in the heavens on clouds. I loved Blondie I will miss her so much!

The Wonder Horse, by Samantha Edholm
Blondie the wonder horse, that’s how I how always saw her. She could go to an all-day game show, gallop around like she was five years old, and then come back the next day to gingerly jog around with her young, novice mounts. There were so many good times. I remember last year at horse camp, were waiting in line for the trail class when Blondie sneezed the biggest bugger I have ever seen right on to Filly. Nicole was quite grossed out, but the rest of us had a good laugh. Those are the times I try and remember when I think about what a devastating loss this has been to everyone who loved her, but especially to Sara. Those two were an amazing pair. I forget who said that every person is allotted one perfect horse in their life--some famous guy--but I think Blondie was Sara’s. Blondie the wonder horse, she was the pride of many first-time riders, a loyal partner, and the joy of her dear friend. There will never be another like her. Good bye, wonder horse.

 

My First Horse, by Victoria Ford

I was ten years old the night I first saw Blondie, and after years of bouncing around on horses and ponies belonging to my grandmother, my parents had finally agreed to buy a horse just for me. We found her in the classifieds in the paper: a four year old palomino quarter horse, cheap. I called the number in the ad and asked the questions my parents and I had written down. By the end of the call I was wriggling with excitement, and five minutes after hanging up the phone we called again to ask if we could come see her right then, that night. They agreed, and we all bundled up – my parents, my sister, my grandmother and me – and I fell in love the moment I saw her. She came home to Windy Ridge a few weeks later.

 I remember taking Blondie as a volunteer to the Special Olympics World Summer Games that were held the Twin Cities in 1991; she had never gone in a snaffle bit before, so she was quickly ejected from the English events. I remember one fun show when Blondie and I rode in a western pleasure class; I don’t remember whether we won a ribbon, but I was proud that the judge’s notes said that she was impressed by the strong relationship between horse and rider. I remember riding into the Coliseum the first time we competed with Drill Team, and being unable to contain an out-loud YAHOOOO! as we broke into a lope for the figure 8 (and immediately starting to worry that I’d ruined our chances). I remember a dressage class, six horses and riders cantering in a circle, looking across and feeling giddy with the sight of us moving in time like a carousel.  And I remember one perfect day, riding in a line of horses in a jumping class. Mark asked us for an extended trot, and I asked Blondie, and she dropped her nose and rounded her neck and it felt like we were floating.

I can’t really think how to finish, except to say this: Blondie was a great horse, and the only consolation for the sadness of giving her up all those years ago, and losing her now, is hearing the stories of all the other people who loved her. Thank you!

Memories of Blondie, by Julie Finch

I never intended to love Blondie.  For that matter, I never intended to like any horse.  But my family took up riding and there I was, standing next to Blondie.  I was horrified to learn that not only would I have to ride this animal, but that I’d have to find, groom, and tack her has well.  It was a year before I stopped bringing in the wrong horse, and then only when Mark politely explained that there were only two Palominos.  And my daughter, between fits of laughter, pointed out that of those two, only Blondie was a mare.   Needless to say, I am not a “natural” when it comes to equine anything.  But through it all, Blondie was patient, gentle and so very forgiving.   She taught me so much about horses, not the least of which is to how to relax and enjoy their company.   It always suprised me just a bit how fast Blondie would run when Sarah rode her.  (I was always grateful that Blondie was smart enough, and kind enough, to understand that I didn't want to go that fast.)  I'll miss her big heart and gentle spirit.  

 



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