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his perfection intact with a simple operation the vets said they did successfully three times a week? The operation apparently went well and Pyt came home. The next day he was “off his feed” and back at the hospital—for more than four months and more than $20,000 in vet bills. He had an infected joint that developed into laminitis and further weakened Pyt. Then he foundered. Finally the great seventeen-hand, 1700-pound gentle giant that was so perfect developed pneumonia and then colicked. His gut actually exploded and Pyt died. A lesser champion would have never lasted so long. Pippa was pregnant with her first child, Austin, when she saw Pyt for the last time. At the time of his demise, Pyt was valued at $750,000. His passing became a double disaster as it created another death. Pippa’s desire to train, to show, her very spirit of “horse,” her passion died with Pyt. Pippa, whose life had been spent with horses, now lived on the ranch but had no interest in being with any of their fifty equines. Her focus went to her child and the three others that followed. Simply put, Pippa was broken in heart and spirit, with no desire to ever compete again. She still mourns Pyt to this day and tears come to her eyes when she speaks softly of her “boy.” Her husband Ray knew that although

he was clearly the man in Pippa’s life, Pyt occupied a place he could never go, never interrupt, never compete with— and at times he was jealous. But more than that, he so admired the human- horse connection of Pippa and Pyt that he, an equestrian extraordinaire, envied, even treasured Pyt and Pippa’s relationship. Now that Pippa had lost Pyt she was changed. Still the loving, deeply feeling, caring wonder he had fallen in love with but there was something missing. The passion for horses that dissolved with Pyt’s death left a hole in Pippa’s soul that Ray knew would never be filled by anything other than another horse.

FINDING THE NEW PYT

Ray wanted Pippa to compete again, to become once more the old Pippa he had fallen in love with, that “horse- crazy” girl. So Ray bought horses—Friesians mainly—and more horses and yet more horses. Although wonderful creatures all, none got completely past the door to Pippa’s heart. What is it, Ray wondered, about these magnificent creatures that transports us to somewhere inside of ourselves we can’t go by ourselves? Someplace

better than where we are? A “someplace” where integrity, honesty, purity and trust are not just commonplace but all there is? It’s just there, in the heart of a horse. The horse has served man for thousands of years, plowing our fields and pulling our water, and often been poorly rewarded, even mistreated or sacrificed in battle, and still they love us, still retain the special… sweetness we wish we had ourselves. It is that “absolute-ness”, that perfection which pulls us inexorably toward them like an irresistible magnet. Ray calls these horses “SWAP” —Sweet, Willing And Predictable. And why is there always that one horse, above all others that becomes so special to each of us that love horses? Forward seven years later to when the very last one of

Somewhere

in time’s own space, there must be some sweet pastured place,

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where creeks sing and tall trees grow, some paradise where the horses go.

For, by the love that guides my pen, I know great horses live again.

Stanley Harrison

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the many colts sired by Pyt came into Pippa’s life through some unique events (but that is another story). Not quite as big as Pyt, Hans stands 16.3 hands and weighs in at about 1,600 pounds. Pippa claims she could see Pyt in Hans’ eyes and hear Pyt in her dreams telling her this horse could be a new Pyt, a champion. But to her the pain was so great. What if it all happened again? She couldn’t bear it. Finally Pippa decided that if Hans

was to be the new Pyt something special had to happen. An undeniable sign to tell her this was the one. She decided if Hans approached her and touched his nose to hers without any encouragement, it would be a “message from God” that this was that special horse. Pippa says she stood quietly looking at Hans across his corral and made no overt moves, no cues, no enticements. She swears that after a few moments Hans raised his big head, looked at her then walked directly to her. He stared at her for what seemed like eternity, then ever so

gently, touched her nose with his. It was an unforgettable moment. Pippa then knew for sure. She wanted to compete again, to allow her prized stallion to ride again through Hans. So she began training again, squeezing in time between raising a family and running a business.

MORE TOUGH TIMES

Hans had colic when he was eighteen months old, a bad colic. Surgery was successful but in a short time, Hans foundered and had to be stall-bound for two years. His muscles atrophied. Hans, a Hercules, became weak and sickly. Years past by and with no exercise and no training, he was not even close to being a show quality

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