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Kharissma's Memorial
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A donation was made in Kharissma's memory by Doctors and Staff of the All West Veterinary Hospital. Her memorial was created on 12/4/2013.
Memorial information for Kharissma:

Dear Kharissma (May 11, 2002-September 8, 2013), my sweet little Trakehner mare,

While losing an animal has never been easy for me, I think your death has been especially hard for several reasons. First, it was so unexpected. You’d always been so healthy and such an easy keeper. For the first time in my life, I didn’t have to worry every single day about my horse. I knew that I could leave the country for a few weeks, and that you would probably be waiting for me, calm and happy, when I returned. So, the morning I received the call that something was wrong, I was really knocked off balance.

Related to the unexpectedness of it all, your loss has been difficult because we’d only been together for 5 years and you were only 11. We should have had another decade, or longer, to learn with and from each other. You were the best horse I’ve ever had—the most willing, the kindest, and the most forgiving. One of the best memories of our time together comes from the day of our last ride. I’d just gotten off, and I was scratching your withers and just enjoying standing there with you. You curled your neck around me and gummed my lower back, like a mare scratches her foal’s withers; that was the first time you’d ever done that. I think that was the first, and last, time I felt we were truly partners.

You taught me so many important lessons. For example, you taught me to be patient and to rein in my own enthusiasm. The only times in our 5-year partnership that I saw your confidence slip were when I started to lose sight of us and started to focus on training. Thank you for being patient with me, and for tolerating me. You reminded me that it’s more about the journey than the destination. Sometimes, we have to slow down to see the trees through the forest…

You also taught me to trust, to take risks, and to be surprised. You gave me the courage to try things I’d never tried before, such as riding bareback with just a halter and leadrope, hacking out alone out of sight of the barn, and trotting across tarps. I could tell when I was being unclear, because you would start getting worried—taking the confusion onto yourself instead of punishing me for my hazy or mixed signals. To escape that worry, you would often give me a glimpse of why I needed to be clear and patient. You would toss in a couple of strides of collected canter or propel yourself into a few steps of extended trot (I didn’t know you could elevate your forehand like that!). As a result, you showed me that I need to avoid assumptions about myself and about my horses.

You showed me that life shouldn’t be about “training” all the time. I’m so grateful for the last few months we spent together. Even though we weren’t doing much riding (and certainly no “training”), I know that we were—for the first time—understanding our goals. Spending time at the barn became more about getting to know you—finally—and figuring out who we were together. I love the idea of horses teaching people how to be human beings—creatures who can simply “be” in the moment. I’m so thankful for the late afternoons I spent in your stall as you munched on your hay, warm golden light spilling in through your stall door. Thank you for allowing me to just “be” in your space on those days.

This “being” is something I need to learn to do on my own and in all parts of my life. You helped me face the biggest challenges and adventures (they are, after all, one in the same) of my life—finishing my dissertation, getting married, embarking on an uncertain career, and landing my dream job. I know that I am now in a place where everything has aligned, and I am so fortunate to be in such a place. Thank you for helping me to get there, and for waiting until everything else was in order before leaving. Considering how hard the past few months have been, I’m not sure I would’ve persisted if you’d left in the midst of those challenges.

One of the reasons I’ve taken a while to write this letter is because it seemed like such a daunting task. How can I possibly write down everything you taught me, everything you meant to me, and everything I remember? Where would I even begin? Would I ever “finish” the letter, and—if not—how would I be able to move on? All of these questions really scared me.

This morning, I realized that the importance of not “finishing” the letter is yet another lesson you have taught me. Such a finish is not only impossible; it is also disrespectful of your complexity and our time together. Again, there is no destination, only the journey. I never expected you to live as long as I, but I hope you will continue to influence and teach me for the rest of my life.

I miss you, but even knowing how it would end, I wouldn’t trade a minute of our journey together for anything.

I will love you always,

Christine S.

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