To all Horse Boyers,
At 12 noon Wednesday May 13, 2015 Betsy, the horse that started all things Horse Boy passed away peacefully in her home pasture, age 30.
She had been in retirement for a year but in the last months began having difficulty digesting her food and this gradually worsened until she passed away of old age as all horses should.
For those who knew her you will be reassured to know she remained the herd boss until the final day, able to bully the younger horses and put them in their place as an alpha mare should even in her twilight years.
As she lay on her final morning, unable to rise but peaceful her boyfriend/companion horse Eckie stood with her, as did we until the end.
It was gracious of her to give us this chance to say goodbye over a couple of hours so that everyone in the family could come caress her, hold her, kiss her and be with her until the light faded. Would that we could all die this way, on our home turf, on our own terms, with dignity surrounded by those we love.
For those of you who know the story you will understand what Betsy meant not just to us but to people all over the world – and will continue to mean.
In 2012 she was inducted into the USEF Horse Star Hall of Fame as a recognition of what she meant as a beacon of healing in the lives of all families facing the challenge of special needs. For those less familiar with the story suffice to say here that it was the relationship that Betsy and my son Rowan forged by themselves which led first to Rowan’s being able to speak while on her back, after his speech therapists had given up on him and it was Betsy who showed us the way of working with autistic children and horses that became systemized as Horse Boy Method which is now practiced in 11 countries, and which also sporned the non-horse kinetic learning programs (Horse Boy Learning and Movement Method) which have similarly taken off internationally and help an uncounted number of children around the world on a daily basis. The full story of course is told in The Horse Boy and The Long Ride Home which is about to be published in the USA and is already out in the UK and Europe.
It was all thanks to her!
Above all Betsy showed us that the important thing is to follow what works, to take the adventure that is in front of you, to put aside theories, philosophies, and prejudices, and go forward into the adventure with an open heart (even if like Betsy you reserve the right to be a bit grumpy about it sometimes).
Betsy was buried this morning on the exact spot where she and Rowan first met back in April 2004.
For those were lucky enough to meet and interact with this extraordinary living being, we have a request: we would like to create a memorial book in Betsy’s honor. If you have pictures of her, of your children working with her or even if you want to just send us an email with your personal memory of her, please post it in the comments below as this website is permanent and will stand as an memorial, as will the books.
Betsy, you showed us how to live free and ride free. We are forever in you debt.