Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Remembering Legacy

with 48 comments

He was a consummate leader, our Legacy. He arrived to our care in September of 2013, master of this group of 3 chestnuts with which he had been matched. We quickly came to recognize his gracious control of the herd as their benevolent dictator.

In the last couple of months we noticed signs something might be up, hints that maybe he was aware the end was near.

Yesterday morning, Cyndie found him in very bad shape out in the pasture. He had been so uncomfortable he had wrangled out of his blanket, and thus ended up matted with balls of iced-up snow.

Whatever was causing him pain, it was now exacerbated by his nearly freezing in the overnight sub-zero cold. Cyndie was able to get him up and walking back into the paddock before coming to get me and contact our vet. Legacy was heroic about letting us attempt to get him warmed up and responding to some meds, but his age, and condition, and the cold all conspired to keep the interventions short of being able to extend his time.

After a couple of hours waiting to see if he would feel better, his behavior was very clear. The vet returned and gently guided us through the process of helping Legacy through this transition.

Before the vet arrived, we had walked Legacy out of the paddock to open space in front of the barn. He was pawing the ground in response to pain and so Cyndie walked him to pass the time. He did really well for a brief span, but then picked a perfect spot to stop and calmly lay down.

He curled his legs underneath him and sat quietly, no longer needing to paw in pain. He accepted our hugs and condolences and patiently awaited what was to come.

When the truck pulled up, Legacy laid his head down, as if fully aware of what came next.

His amazing spirit is threaded indelibly throughout every single aspect of Wintervale Ranch, right down to the outline of his face in our logo. There are so many amazing, beautiful memories we have and hold of his time with us. He is irreplaceable and we will be challenged to figure out how to manage the days ahead, guiding Dezirea, Cayenne, and Hunter through their grief, while struggling to cope with our own.

Thank you to all of you who are supporting us with your love and kind condolences. Send our horses love. They are visibly disturbed by his departure, yet they mustered strength to provide some loving equine understanding to Cyndie as the vet drove away.

Legacy, (7/18/1996-1/14/2018), we send you off with all the love you fostered here, and more. May your spirit soar!



Written by johnwhays

January 15, 2018 at 7:00 am

48 Responses

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  1. I’m so sorry 💜💜💜
    Sending heartfelt condolences, my friend. I will never forget when my horse passed…we got him when I was 5 (so was he) and lost him when I was 30…a very long time to share with an animal.
    I know he felt your love and friendship!


    February 16, 2018 at 10:43 pm

  2. Dear John and Cyndie – Elysa told me of your loss loss of your beautiful horse today and upon reading your blog John I feel the pain. What an amazing world the two of you have created and what wonderous creatures you have populated it with. Remembering when the farm was just a thought, an idea, a plan…you will get through it and Legacy will live on through you, the other horses and that glorious place. Sending warm thoughts your way with love. Xo

    Pam Knutson

    February 2, 2018 at 8:35 pm

    • Thank you so much, Pam, for your words. We are wrapping ourselves in these warm thoughts and love. I miss you!


      February 2, 2018 at 8:46 pm

      • The Himalayas seem a lifetime away but whenever I am in touch with you I know those adventures were very real. Let’s make an effort to meet up this spring or summer my friend. xo

        Pam Knutson

        February 2, 2018 at 10:04 pm

      • I will make that effort. It is my dear wish that you and John would be able to come visit, maybe making a stop if ever making a traverse to Chicago?
        By some interesting coincidence, yesterday I was exploring a backup drive and spent time looking at my trek photos again. It was powerful. I don’t know why I don’t do that more often.


        February 3, 2018 at 9:28 am

      • We would love to come out and see your place, we don’t need to be on the way to Chicago – we are very polite and always wait for an invite:-), but we have more time now that John is retired and Sam busy with his own life so invite us sometime in the spring – it would be great to see you. So interesting that you were looking at photos and I pop up on your blog – love when those things happen…meant to be. Xoxo

        Pam Knutson

        February 3, 2018 at 5:00 pm

      • Noted. We’ll make it a springtime date!


        February 3, 2018 at 11:55 pm

  3. So sorry for your loss of legacy


    January 19, 2018 at 10:50 pm

  4. The news certainly sent a shudder through me. It is strange how by an absence, a passing, that you suddenly become much more aware of a presence everywhere you look. You almost see the horse again in the spaces where he fitted in so perfectly. You feel that he is with you still. Legacy has truly lived up to his name. How heart wrenching, nevertheless… a hug to you both.

    Ian Rowcliffe

    January 18, 2018 at 3:57 am

    • Thank you, Ian. So true, …seeing him still in his spaces here.


      January 18, 2018 at 7:04 am

  5. John and Cyndie,

    What a beautiful tribute to Legacy. It defines his soul and purpose so clearly. I’m so sorry for your loss, and I wish I could have met him. Love and hugs to you and the rest of your animals.

    Jan Griesgraber(Balfanz)

    January 16, 2018 at 1:09 pm

    • Thank you, Jan. I wish you could have met him, too. It means a lot to me that you picked up on what a special horse he was for us. Thank you for writing.


      January 16, 2018 at 1:41 pm

  6. Words are totally inadequate: sending beams to wrap you all in warm light!

    Ward Bell

    January 15, 2018 at 9:43 pm

  7. Oh no! John, I’m so sorry for you and Cyndie. Sending love. 😁

    Julie Kuberski

    January 15, 2018 at 9:15 pm

    • Thank you, Julie. Receiving the love and letting it wash over us.


      January 15, 2018 at 9:20 pm

  8. I have no words…just a good cry, from Brainerdvale

    David R

    January 15, 2018 at 6:43 pm

    • Thank you, David. You made me laugh while I was crying, with your, Brainerdvale. Love that!


      January 15, 2018 at 7:22 pm

  9. I’m sure you are devastated today. I’m so sorry you are hurting and am touched by your tribute. Thinking of you!

    Paul Keiski

    January 15, 2018 at 2:55 pm

    • Thank you, Paul.
      Yes, devastated is a good word for how we are feeling.


      January 15, 2018 at 4:18 pm

  10. I am crying with you both at the loss of Legacy. We have had a few things to be sad over and this is just another very hard example of adjusting to such a special loss. I believe that Legacy was able to communicate to me also and I feel so sad for how you both feel.
    Mom Marie and Dad Fred


    January 15, 2018 at 2:02 pm

  11. What a wonderful horse, and what a huge loss for you all. My heart sank when I read your post, and Sarah will be heartbroken when she hears the news.
    Our condolences to you, Cyndie, and the remaining horses. We will be thinking of you in the days ahead. We love you, and hope you will find solace in the memories of the full life Legacy had, and in the gifts he gave to us all.


    January 15, 2018 at 12:27 pm

    • Thank you so much, Rich. It breaks our hearts so to think of all the kids who are learning this sad news today. There was always a special connection between Legacy and kids.


      January 15, 2018 at 12:31 pm

  12. May peace be with all of you. I am so saddened by your loss.

    Jim Parker (@drjparker)

    January 15, 2018 at 11:47 am

    • Thank you, Jim. We are definitely heartbroken over his departure.


      January 15, 2018 at 11:56 am

  13. A ‘peace’ of Legacy lives on in all of us who have shared his energy ❤️ Thank You for sharing him….
    Deepest condolences to all of Wintervale 😢


    January 15, 2018 at 11:29 am

    • Thank you, Judy. He touched countless lives in his brief time with us. So glad you had the opportunity to spend time with him.


      January 15, 2018 at 11:33 am

  14. So sorry to hear of the loss of one of your family at Wintervale.


    January 15, 2018 at 10:18 am

  15. So sorry to hear of the loss of one of your family at Wintervale.

    Steve & Chris Reynolds

    January 15, 2018 at 10:17 am

  16. Love to you all. ❤️😔


    January 15, 2018 at 8:53 am

  17. I am so sorry for all of you. That was a well written blog during such an overwhelming time. Love to all.


    January 15, 2018 at 8:24 am

  18. Peace to you. Remember the body is only a temporary vessel for a the soul, as souls never die, they are endless.

    George Walker

    January 15, 2018 at 8:01 am

    • Thank you, George. Legacy’s spirit will forever live on at Wintervale.


      January 15, 2018 at 8:19 am

  19. Oh, John and Cyndie, Dezirea, Cayenne, and Hunter, my heart goes out to you. Sending love.


    January 15, 2018 at 7:47 am

  20. I am so sorry for your loss of a good and faithful friend. I can only imagine the sorrow that you now feel.

    John Glowaski

    January 15, 2018 at 7:16 am

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