When Jessica Stewart lost her dad, it felt like the whole world was caving in around her. She tells the story of how a special horse keeps his memory alive.
Growing up I always wanted a horse. Every little girl’s dream, right? My parents couldn’t afford to keep a horse so I got a dirt bike. Me and my dad rode hours together. It was amazing! I was an only child and daddy’s little girl. He would take me everywhere to ride dirt bikes with him. Loved every minute. Growing up I was so close to my dad, as was my daughter when I had her. He would call and have her come every weekend from the day she was about 6 months old. He only got to see her on weekends being we lived an hour apart but they were two peas in a pod — just like me and him.
Three years ago he, my mom, and my daughter (she was 10) went to the mountains for a quick weekend trip before school started back. He went into cardiac arrest in the restaurant they were at and passed in front of my daughter. They brought him back and my husband and I got to the hospital as fast as we could. He was there for a week but there was nothing they could do for him. He passed away and I never got to say goodbye. My daughter had to see the most favorite person in her life pass in front of her eyes. It was horrible! I cry still as I type this. He was only 50.
In comes my horse. I had to retire my show horse and had searched for a year. I found this guy and knew he was the one. I had owned Sandman for about 3 months before my dad passed. I was nervous to ride him before even though he never put a foot wrong, just from a previous bad experience. I came home and cried to that horse. After a week I was on him and just rode. He made me smile. He made me forget my worries, my problems, and my sadness for that hour and a half I would spend with him tacking up and riding. He brought a peace to my heart. Like my dad was saying he’s OK and have fun.
I still cry to this day with this horse. I have to be strong for my daughter so our secret is in the barn. No one knows but me and him (until now). He has brought my strength and trust back. He has taught me to smile again and has shown me that he will watch over me just as my father did. We are a team and I can’t help but think my dad has something to do with that from above. He has guided me in this venture with my new horse. In our first two shows he won all blues and high scoring horse champion for the show series. My dad’s hand is in this, I know. I miss him but it’s nice to feel him in the freedom and happiness I get through Sandman.
Go Back on Track, and Go Riding!