October 24, 2011 - 'My Last Ride' - A Letter from Kendra Helfter


Dave Malmstead:

I am writing with gratitude for the several years you were able to keep my horse's, Jeremy, feet in racing condition and then later to manage chronic laminitis due to the development of Cushing's Syndrome.
I know it has been some time now but it seems like yesterday to me.  Training and racing Jeremy on the endurance circuit. Trucking him and my in-bed camper all over the Midwest to compete 50 mile races.  Then finally winning the Midwest championship.  You well know as I that we could not have done that without you.
Dave, you were able to be flexible to meet the horse's needs as a farrier.  As many horse owners, finding a good farrier is a mighty challenge.  Fortunately to Jeremy and I you proved to be an asset to our winning team. 
I know how to feed horses as an equine nutritionist but those four hooves were yours.  Jeremy held shoes, his angles provided ease in forward movement and balanced muscle development.  All of which are incredibly important for training and racing 50 miles across various terrain.  If something was not working for the horse you came to the barn with fresh ideas.  Trips you took to find supplies to fit your visions.  True inventions really!   I trusted you and thus did Jeremy. 
Your ideas became especially needed when his racing career ended with the development of a metabolic syndrome resulting in frequent and un-controllable laminitis.  With your skills to save his feet and mine to manage the nutritional changes of his body; I rode Jeremy to the ripe age of 22 years.  I'll never forget my last ride with him! 
Fitted with a new pair of shoes early in the week.  Astride Jer, we walked into the timber one cool autumn morning.  Tacked in his racing colors; the sun low and bright.  Jer fell into the rhythm of his effortless trot; down the hill then sweeping in through the trees, his body wrapping around each turn agile as if he were a young colt again, feet roaring through the fallen leaves.  Breath swirled from his nostrils within the crispness of the air.  We were trotting from one cloud to the next as if he wanted me to knowhow he was going to be on the other side; not here with me.  My heart pounded, my soul re-energized, my hands light on the reins.  Something told me to enjoy this moment to the fullest; and we did! 
Thank you for being there for us!  You're a true friend!

- Kendra Helfter