Sherre told me a few years back that she had cancer. I knew immediately and without doubt it would kill her. Not nice words or thoughts, for sure. Sherre even got a couple of reprieves, after all, she was a fighter. But this last time cancer came for her, I knew her time was running out.
Am I telling you how wonderful I am because I know that cancer can and will take whatever life it can? No. I have worked with oncology patients and most recently radiation oncology patients, plus my family is riddled with cancer. I know by now there is almost a direct correlation to how nice, thoughtful, kind you are and how fast the cancer takes you down.
In my experience, cancer kills the very best, before their time, before it is just. Maybe it is a way to get the rest of us from being so complacent. If cancer kills the finest of us, shouldn’t the rest of us get on the band wagon and find a way to beat this monster down?
Lauren and I met Sherre one day at a horse show. We had our Corgi, Sneaky, for about a year and were looking to breed her to a fine male and have at least one litter of puppies. We spotted a beautiful Corgi at the show and we walked over to introduce ourselves to Sherre. She told us all about her Corgi, Nordic. He was destined to be neutered but Sherre said she would consider letting him sire one litter before that took place. We agreed we would call Sherre when Sneaky was ready.
Lauren and I walked away from the elaborate stall drapes and high dollar horses that Sherre worked with back to where we were still showing Mickey in hunters. We did not know much about this new “A” show world but we had just made friends with someone who was certainly at home in this environment.
Time came for Sneaky to be bred and off to Sherre’s we went. First, to her beautiful home where she made us all feel comfortable ( as Nordic chased Sneaky around in vain) to the barn where she worked which was built with standards much higher than those used to build my home. But never once did Sherre make us feel uneasy or unwelcome. We told her our dreams of getting Mickey solid at the 3’6″ jumps and she encouraged us. She talked with Lauren and give her tips. In the end, Nordic and Sneaky never consummated their love affair but Sherre was to be our friend forever.
I talked Sherre into doing a clinic at the barn Lauren rode at in those days. It was so well attended it took us all day for her to coach almost 60 riders through their paces. Lauren and Caitlyn Epperson attended. It was a day about getting back to riding fundamentals. Sherre taught traditional riding and it worked.
When Lauren wanted to attend the USEF Emerging Athlete Program, Sherre wrote a recommendation letter for Lauren. It meant a tremendous amount to us.
And through the years, no matter how busy Sherre was with her own riding and her own students, she always took time to visit with Lauren. Sherre would spot Lauren in the warm up ring and I would see them deep in conversation. She would encourage Lauren during her Mickey days and applaud her progress as Feather moved up through the ranks. She was the best possible mentor Lauren could have.
I was always so thrilled to see her white blonde hair blowing in the wind as she took a moment to bolster my daughter’s confidence just by her few simple words.
Then came Bruno Sims into our life. Bruno, a huge OTTB, came into our life from Sherre via our trainer Dev. He had hoof problems I thought we could heal. Sherre and I had long conversations about the choice I was making to send him to Texas A&M for surgery. In the end, he did not live to grow old. But he fought and we fought to keep him alive and sound. I suspect that Sherre was concerned about this free horse that in the end cost us so much. But she gave us a tremendous gift with Bruno. He was one of kind. We loved this giant horse like no other.
When the cancer took hold, it didn’t change Sherre except maybe to make her kinder and more patient. She held on to her internal and external beauty as the disease ravaged her core.
Sherre was an avid reader of my blog. I did not know that until Feather’s first horse show at the GSWEC. Lauren was taking Feather in to do the baby greens in the East Arena, Cookie was talking to judge. Feather caught their movements out of the corner of her eye and shied away from the judge’s stand. It was then I recognized Sherre as the judge as she said “Easy, Feather! It is okay, Feather”. Apparently, Sherre had been reading along in the blog and knew that the horse announced as Flagmount’s Irish Freedom was my Feather making her debut in the ring.
Sherre’s passing has brought a fountain of sorrow to this horse world and this horsewoman. Yesterday, the activity ceased at the Great Southwest as the trainers learned of her passing. Nothing seemed to move, time stood still. She was the best of them in many ways.
But Sherre has left us a fountain of life as well. A simple daily challenge I will try to meet to be more kind, patient, caring, and full of life. Each day we are given opportunities to help someone brighten their day. Simple opportunities to share the fountain of life.
I am so happy that Nordic brought us to Sherre and Sherre brought life and color into our world. I will be forever grateful.
Fountain of Sorrow, Fountain of Life- Sherre Sims
When we met Sherre I felt she looked familiar. She was the quintessential equestrian, classic in her look and clothing, but it was more than that. When I saw her truck, I remembered. Did you ever see this?
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I remember Lauren being a teenager when this came out. We were even inspired by this ad. To be professional horsewoman (and a beautiful one too!) and trailer your horses to shows-to be able to really live the life-that what this ad meant to Lauren and I. We never dreamed the beautiful lady from the ad would end up our friend.
What a lovely tribute to your friend.