When I found out that we lost Sarah Watson, I don’t think it really sank in for a few days. I seemed calm and almost, “Okay.” It wasn’t until I found myself driving the backwoods to do an article where I realized that I couldn’t stop crying. There was this heavy, unbearable sadness that had been falling on me, slowly drowning me drop by drop.

The unbearable sadness was like nothing I have ever experienced. Combine that with some troubles with my business, that honestly weren’t the end of the world but with the loss of Sarah, it felt like the end of the world. I honestly didn’t know how I was going to get through those days and I know now that the only reason that I DID get through those days is because I went to church. I called on God hard.

When I went to Sarah’s funeral services I found myself stopped in  my tracks at the sight of her coffin; It’s her. It almost broke me all over again but I knew that I had to stay strong. I am proud of myself that I held it together through the ceremony and it wasn’t until I saw a younger horse girl that I have known since I was ITTY BITTY (and her even smaller) crying as I gave her a supportive bear hug, that I lost it. We were all feeling the pain.

I feel some sort of way, some sort of guilt in admitting what I am about to say next: I felt something lacking in the service. I’m not sure why but everything seemed so disconnected, there didn’t seem to be much that I felt was PERSONAL to who Sarah was, to her impact on the community, the legacy that she had created at such a young age. I was very discouraged. The sadness weighed down more than anything.

I went to church the next day and felt much consolation from listening to one of my favorite preachers. I went again the week after. I spent days in my bible, trying to find solace, acceptance and forgiveness to God for taking her from us.

In true Sarah spirit, we hit the road on a beautiful Sunday in May for the Oregon Coast. When I had texted with Rylee, another dear horse friend that I reconnected with about two years ago, I had told her that anything and everything could happen! It seems to haunt me like a plague or maybe it’s the blogger curse? Great stories just seem to happen to me, great adventures that just fill the pages of my blog and entertain (I hope) my friends at the campfire.

And in true Katie Fashion, Rylee and I ended up being the first ones there and the first ones there by about half an hour. Which meant that we were left alone to fight off the beach combers who “just wanted to ride the horse.” There are guided services for that, trust me, you don’t want to ride my sister’s fast reacting cutting horse. She’d leave you in the sand faster than you can say, “Which trail should we take?”

As the trucks and trailers began to pull in to the south jetty, my heart was warmed from the frigid saltwater breeze as I saw familiar faces, faces from social media and new faces arriving to partake in Sarah’s Memorial Ride. And then, just like that, the look on Rylee’s face mirroring mine, we saw them. Sarah’s horses, loaded in her parents trailer hauling in to park. To see those horses faces, those horses we know SO WELL, and know that Sarah’s smiling face and charming charisma wasn’t going to be astride them made my heart fall through to the blustering waves below.

I was thankful for the beach goers who were there that we were explaining what we were all doing as they were probably the only reason that I washable to keep some sort of composure. Saddled up and ready to go, we headed off to the beach to enjoy the day. Getting to the beach was a meandering, up and down hilly trail with reeds growing everywhere, and then, the ocean. It will always and forever take my breath away.

img_6818.jpgI can’t help but always feel a sense of unease when it comes to the beach, because I feel like the saltwater, the footing, and the waves take the sensibility away from broke horses. We all stood for a group photo and then down the beach we went. I had expressed all of my concerns and rules for the beach to Rylee and was so thankful that she had complied with them because watching everyone else NOT comply with my unspoken rules freaked me out. So much so that I dedicated an entire blog to being safe on the beach to the best of my knowledge.

Very thankful to my older sister Nicole for letting me ride her mare Rosie (left) and that is Rylee and Drifter (first time on the beach!).

After a few runs on the beach, we headed back and were the first ones out. Since we were heading out while everyone was still playing in the waves and making sand castles, there was no BBQ BUT, there is a really awesome set up down on the bayfront under the bridge called the Deschutes Brewery. Rylee and I parked the horses on the curb opposite the bus stop and headed in where we had some phenomenal deep fried cheese curds with this DELICIOUS jalapeño jelly (I need to figure out how to make that!) and then soup and more grilled cheese.

img_6822As we went to head out, we saw sirens coming over the bridge heading our direction. That’s when we realized that the entire bridge was backed up! Uh oh, I was hoping that everyone was safe, that their hadn’t of been a fatal wreck ESPECIALLY with one of our friends that was there in memory of our friend that had died in an automobile wreck!

Surveying the situation, Rylee and I called our parents to get a game plan and instead of heading home the “normal way” we took off south heading towards Florence. From there we crossed over through Alsea and came in from the southwest end of Philomath. Such an adventure, a windy road and lots of good stories told on the road I was pleasantly surprised that it didn’t take any extra time!

I dropped Rylee off and got home to laugh because, in true Sarah form, we had a wonderful time, made the most of any situation and built new friendships and formed stronger bonds with old friends. Thank you for the smiles Sarah!



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