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Windt im Wald
A Wind in the Woods
Geauga County, Northeast Ohio
since 1995



A Tribute to Hallelujah (May 21, 1985 - May 17, 1999)

"Fight, Halle," I urged the heaving pinto mare with two tiny baby hoofs protruding under her tail. She was a mass of sweat and straw, and something was very wrong as she tried to deliver the precious foal we had awaited since June 10. We frantically phoned all the vets we knew at 4 A.M. in the morning.Mi Hallelujah

We reached Richard Novak, who came out and fought valiantly with us to save our Hallelujah and the baby we had already named Key's Hurrah. The little one had Key Largo as its grandfather on both the top and the bottom.

Tom and I will remember 1999 for the remainder of our lives. Not only did we lose Bedford Belle's March filly by Tennessee Walking Horse stallion Pride of Fashion, but we tragically lost our Buckeye Classic halter champion Hallelujah the morning of May 17, 1999. Lost with her was her foal by Key Sera Sera, like Halle herself, one of a handful of Key Largo's get because Key Largo died tragically young. Key Largo, a liver chestnut and white American Saddlebred stallion, was chosen by Gene LaCroix to be the foundation sire of the National Show Horse breed, a combination of Arabian and Saddlebred blood bred primarily for the show ring.

We were fortunate enough to be Halle's humans, but for such a short period of time, in the great scheme of her life and times. Hallelujah was bred by Scott and Linda Ragsdale in Scottsdale, Arizona, and arrived in this world in 1985, a knockout lady with a refined Saddlebred face, an unforgettable eye, and a snaky neck that put her above the competition. She soon came under the guidance of Wendy Grusckiewicz of Mithra Stables and thereafter Randall Toscano, who owned her for seven years.

Mi HallelujahWhen we first met Hallelujah in 1997 she took our breath away. She was ethereally beautiful and elegant. We bought her and brought her home to our other horses, who took merciless advantage of her show ring upbringing and roughed her up repeatedly until she learned to defend herself against their aggression. Finally after several weeks of taking the attacks from all comers, she became one of the group. She even learned to abandon the show ring glistening white coat by rolling in the dust like everyone else. Hallelujah was at last a country girl with long hours of grazing on green grass in pastures with lots of trees and split rail fences.

Sometimes we rode her. We marveled at her willingness to perform on verbal commands alone and to break at the poll with that marvelous arched neck. When we put her at the end of a lead rope, she pointed that elegant muzzle skyward and her top-line became level enough to serve dinner for six. She knew her job. Her ears forward, her eyes intent, her sparkling silver tail arched in the sun, she stood without moving a muscle We, who had never known the privilege of showing any horse in a show ring, let alone a champion, could only imagine the accolades Hallelujah had enjoyed.

She was our Champion, and somehow we hoped that her fame would spread to us. Her previous owner had bestowed upon us the myriad of blue ribbons that marked her presence among Half-Arabian National Show Horse greats. We displayed those ribbons proudly in our new arena, along with the ultrasound that showed the new baby she would deliver in May 1999. We found and ordered archival videos of her show ring performances. We published birth announcements in the Corral, a horsy publication distributed in Ohio and Pennsylvania. She was a proud member of our family, just another one of our children. Everyone who knew us at our jobs knew how famous we were because of Hallelujah. They indulged us our fancies, listened politely to our stories, and looked at our weekly horse photos. If they thought we were crazy or just a little eccentric, they never ever let on. And we, we were in our glory.

The months went by. Motherhood was imminent for Hallelujah. The fiery eye became soft and deep and luminescent, and her distending belly became her most prominent feature. She became patient and understanding, as though the show ring had been another lifetime. All was well. Soon there would be a tangible record of Hallelujah's existence-a live foal.

As she lumbered slowly in her stall in the darkness of May 16, motherhood was only a few hours away. At 3 A.M. when we checked on her, we knew it was time. By 3:30, with foal legs protruding from her rectum, we knew down deep it was past time. As Dr. Dick Novak struggled to right the foal and to save our Hallelujah, as we dragged her into the trailer and sped to the equine hospital, the entire episode seemed surreal.

At 5 A.M. came the pronouncement to put Hallelujah down. Her foal long dead, we were about to lose her, too. I threw my arms around her now disheveled neck and thick, dingy mane. "I love you, Halle," I sobbed, but I could not look into those deep eyes and reveal my own despair. I did not want her to know what would come next. We accepted the white forelock and the red halter, the last tangible evidence that Hallelujah ever owned us. Hallelujah was undoubtedly the most spectacular horse ever to have owned us.