October 23, 2011

Endeavor "Dev" January 9, 1985 - October 9, 2011

When I arrived home at 2pm from the clinic with Bent Jensen on Sunday, October 9th, I found my old horse Dev down in the field. I knew immediately that something was wrong. I got him up and walked him for about an hour until Dr. Walrond arrived. He seemed completely normal and fine when I left that morning at 10:30am, so the decline happened rapidly. Dr. Walrond tried everything he could to make Dev comfortable but his heart rate remained elevated.

Dev had surgery eight years ago, almost to the day, and a lipoma was removed from his intestine. We think that the lipoma most likely returned and was the cause of the problem, the symptoms were identical. We made the decision to euthanize him early that evening. At 26 he was too old for surgery and there was nothing more that could be done from home to alleviate the pain. I was with him until the very end and he was buried at home. It was poignant that it was just the three of us again. Dr. Walrond was the veterinarian that did Dev's pre-purchase exam and I was his trusty assistant; a little kid doing the jogging for the flexion's. And here we were, twenty years later.

Dev was my first horse and he taught me so much. I was eight and he was six when my parents bought him for me on April 12, 1991, the day before my Dad's birthday. He was a registered Thoroughbred named Tunderin Devil but we showed him under the name Endeavor and called him Dev. It's hard to summarize 20 years with a horse that literally taught me how to ride. He went from being 5th in the country at Training Level to passing Michael Matz as we entered the jumper ring at Hartwood Acres to galloping cross-country in the fields at the Rose Farm. Dev could do it all and he did.

My mom's horse Buster was like a brother to Dev. Together with my mom, the four of us spent countless hours trail riding all over Sewickley. Those two horses adored each other and were pretty much attached at the hip from the first day they met. I will never forget the day that my collar bone was broken in the top field at the neighboring Rose property. Buster spooked at a pile of brush and reared to the right, running into Dev who jumped sideways to get out of the way, thus throwing me over his left shoulder. I bounced off of Busters rump and fell to the ground, breaking my collar bone. The grass was tall then and I remember lying on my back, buried in the dense green grass and looking up at the blue sky, delirious from the pain. It was a classic mom and daughter day, only daughter ended up with a broken bone!

Dev defined my childhood and I will forever be grateful to him for that. I was a lucky girl to have him.

My very first horse show with Dev at the Sewickley Hunt Horse Show, shown here with Anna Miller and Star. We bought Dev from Anna's sister and Star was his girlfriend.
We were Grand Champion in the Walk-Trot over Cross Rails Division (May 1991)

At Mrs. Pivar's barn

Short Stirrup Sewickley Hunt Horse Show

CBLM Championship, Lexington, VA (1996)
Sewickley Hunt Horse Show Schooling Jumpers


  1. What a lovely and touching remembrance to your dear Dev, Emily. When we lose that special horse, it's sometimes hard to go forward without a little sputter in our hearts. To think that great horses will follow in years to come soothes the loss, alas, only temporarily.
    your devoted student,
    Caroline G.

  2. Thank you for the thoughtful and kind words, Caroline.