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Tiko loved kids, little kids. He would be so good about taking care of them, never going faster than they could handle, no matter how much they wanted him to, and stopping if he felt them falling to one side or the other. With older kids he would adjust to their skill and be more of a challenge. He loved playing tricks and would often do little things to catch older riders off guard. But this made them better riders for it. For all this he was the best 4-H pony for teaching all the kids how to ride.

My sister used Tiko for her 4-H troupe for several years. The kids would take him in speed games and he would run all day long. At age 42 he won State Gymkhana Pony because of all the points he racked up being ridden by so many kids all year long. He was still fast and agile at 42, and loved what he did.

Below is a blog entry that I copied from my Sister's blog about Tiko. I love the way she writes. She is so talented and expressive. She wrote in a sort of stream of thoughts and did not edit her spelling or grammar. I decided not to change anything she wrote even in spelling. Here are her thoughts about Tiko.

Last night was my first Gymkhana/playday/speed event since Tiko passed away. I am usually very excited about them. I love speed events. This week I found myself dreading it and to be honest almost did not go. THankfully I had offered to take a friends and that helped me feel comitted to going. I felt like it would be wrong not to go and wrong to go at the same time.

Speed events were what Tiko and I did. So many years of running on his wings of fire. To run on him was like power into my own legs. I merely thought it and he did it...not even that...many times we were just in the moment so much in unison we simply felt each moment. It was in those moments that I truly felt like a horse. As we entered we felt adrinaline come alive in antisipation of what we loved best.  We would prepare ourselves then turn as the take off empowered my heart and soul as we lunged forward. My heard would point with each stride feeling the wind in my face as we surged forward, turing in our zone and the glorious feel of the run home. I simply words, no worries, simple pure joy and pride.

Our very favorite was Pole Bending. They play of the flying lead changes as we weaved in and out, never felt like I had to turn him or push him for more...we were just there- together.

Diva and I have a wonderful bond and have come a long way but it could never be like the bond that comes from literally growing up on a hoses back. There are moments diva and I feel together but it is not every moment....yet

This has always been ok with me. But to know I will NEVER (not on earth anyway) get to run like that on Tiko again...just crushes me.

It took my desire for the chase against the clock away. I dreaded running knowing it will never feel the same…I began feeling sick to my stomach over it before I even got ready to leave for the show. I spent time with Diva and prayed a lot. As a friend pointed out to me…Tiko would not want me to feel like that and he would want me to keep running. I decided that no matter how hard it was going to be I had to do it for him.

As we were getting ready Tehya talked about remembering running on Tiko and doing speed events on him as well. For the first time the reality of Tiko's passing began to sink into her. She talked to me about how she never felt scared on Tiko like she does on other horses. He was smaller and she always knew he would take care of her. Tiko was like magic that way. With small children he had a way of inspiring a confidence and the dreams that followed. With older kids he challenged them and brought them to bigger heights in more ways than one.

I told Tehya my plan that this night we would ride for Tiko in honor of his memory. She decided that she would do the same.

During the warm up I noticed Diva was feeling a bit stiff in the hind end as she had been for the last 5 days. I am still not sure why and that concerns me some. She also seemed to be a bit blah feeling but that really mirrored how I felt myself.

The first event of the night as fate would have it (and usually is at the 79 club) was poles. Tehya ran first. She wasn't reallly ready for a lot of trotting but did a little. Next was Kayleb who isn't scared to bounce out of the saddle and kept telling me run mom run! Then Joannah rode Diva also lead by her dad Josh. All the kids did great and I felt proud of them and Diva.

Tehya got a little medal which she brought over to me and showed me proudly around her neck and with tears in her eyes she said "look mama, I won this for was all for Tiko."

As it came closer to the adults division I began to feel sick, my heart pounding with a steady ache and I felt shakey and weak and overwhelmed with grief. It was in a way saying goodbye to the unforgetable runs Tiko and I had together. Our turn came up and I felt like bailing. But with tears streaming down my face I turned Diva to the arena and said to Diva, myself, and Tiko… "Let's do this for Tiko" and as I felt her stride surge forward I said "this is for you Tiko" and we ran down the line of poles. I simply let the wind pass over my face and dry the tears. Still a bit out of it we came to the end of the line of poles before I realized it. She actually started to turn on her own before I conciously  noticed. So that first turn was a little wide but not too bad. She weaved those poles beautifully and for a moment I felt as if Tiko was righ there with us. I know in spirit he was. A little in lala land over the fact we took the ned pole wider than Siva and I usually do but again nothing too bad and we weaved back up again. Diva missed her zone in her first 2 turns (my fault) but as we weaved back up we found ourselves together again and we came to that last turn and did it beautifully headed back home with Tiko in our hearts.

Her time was 29. somethin. Nothing spectacular and a second slower than our run last month but it did help heal my heart in a way. As I rode her out I was still shaking emensly.

I did it...Diva did it...we did it together. For Tiko.

I still had struggles with my heart throughout the night remembering different moments with my dear Tiko. And Tehya did to. I think being around the atmosphere that reminded us so much of him had the thick heavy reality of his passing settling around us. It was both depressing and therapuetic at the same time…kinda like writing this.

I am thankful to Diva as well as the rest of my family and friends for helping me through this time. Maybe someday Diva and I will run consistantly with the feeling of togetherness I felt with Tiko even if it is never "the same" and EVERY time I turn a barrel or pole I know Tiko is still running with me - in spirit.

I love you.

Click here to read more about Tiko, the trickster and the hero.