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Sarah Plummer Remembered, part II

Published: 5/29/2014
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Editor's Note:
What happens when a horse community loses a loved one?
What happens to the horse left behind? We're grateful to Leisha Johnson MacDougall for writing how one Maine group banded together after a tragedy.

By Leisha Johnson MacDougall

Read Part I

I can still hear Sarah clanging into my private road to pick us up.  A bright red Ford chased by a royal blue trailer, it was an unmistakable pair that you could identify anywhere. A silhouette sticker of a paint in the back window, a NickerNews logo on the trailer and white shovel handle peering out from the bed of the truck.  We’d load my gear and my horse and rush off to another great adventure with our friends.

Rocky Coast Riders were stunned by our loss. Our thoughts turned to her family, a devoted husband, two teenage boys, parents and in-laws all still hurting just as we were….no, more. 

And Sandman, oh Sandman, he had no idea what had happened. No one could explain to him that she was gone. As we met to discuss our mutual grief, it was decided that we must “do something”, something for Sarah, for Sandman. A ride, yes, a ride, that would be what she would have wanted.
Her family was keeping the horse. Sarah’s husband said, “This is his home, it’s where he belongs.” They are more than capable of his needs and we wanted to be part of his care. We began visiting and exercising Sandman, always aware that he was a difficult horse. But we found that he was calm and eager to be taken out. Perhaps his demeanor spoke to his own grief after all, he and Sarah and been together for years.    

The morning of May 3rd, a flurry of trailers began to arrive at Camden Hills National park. Sunshine darted in and out, promising the riders a beautiful day ahead. Before long, the parking area was flooded with a sea lavender t-shirts bearing the insignia of Sarah’s Memorial Ride. She loved lavender. Horses trumped off ramps anxious for the 6-mile ride ahead. Riders checked in at the registration table and a feeling of gladness spread.
At 10 AM, riders and hikers gathered to share a word about our friend. Tears flowed as I spoke of my dear herd mate. We had stood quiet in remembrance of another in the same spot not just two seasons ago. Watching her friends ache from their loss, we gathered in her honor and support of her son.
Sarah was a giving person. We often supported good causes that we had no direct connection to, but did so because it felt right. This day, Sarah’s day, was the same.

Riders from near and far came out to participate, some of whom had never met her. My heart was overwhelmed with joy to see the outpouring of love and the support of people who contributed to her family and her horse; total strangers, park visitors and hikers all donating to the fund. Moms with small children approached the trailers with smiling curiosity, asking if they could perhaps pat a horse. 
Sarah's was a simple personality. A no-frills kind of girl. She appreciated a great pair of muck boots, a water bucket that didn’t freeze and a horse that behaves on the trail. We could think of no better way to honor her than in the saddle at this beautiful place we had so often shared together.
Rocky Coast Riders wanted to help her family as well as provide local riders the closure they longed for. This ride was a perfect opportunity to do just that. At the end of the day, many generous gifts created a beneficial sum of money to be used towards the care and expenses of Sandman. Sarah’s husband and family were honored and pleased.

Although I will continue to miss my dear friend, I know we have done her justice by looking out for what mattered in her life; her family, her friends and her horse. 

Read Part I

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5/30/2014 Molly Stark
I still cry...I still forget she is gone some mornings - especially when the sun is out and the day is open. You see, Leisha is right - Sarah was always there for us - I'd send a text out to my buddies - "Jus sos u know, I'm goin ridin" - ALWAYS I's get back the the first text from Sarah "O you think you can get away with that - be over in a few"-Thank you Leisha for helping me through the grief...though I am still crying the pain is less.

"An owner of a Tennessee Walking Horse once said that his horse reminded him of a lightning rod, for, as he rode, all the sorrows of his heart flowed down through the splendid muscles of his horse and were grounded in the earth." - Marguerite Henry