Laddie, a Bay Thoroughbred, lived two very distinct lifestyles in his lifetime. During his younger years, you could see him racing under his track name “Just Like Light” at Hastings Racecourse in Vancouver. In his retirement, he found a different kind of glory. He left behind the exhilaration of the track for the quiet comfort of the pasture. And it was there he found his home and his person, Emily.
Emily developed a love of horses from a very young age. She remembers how she and her sister convinced their mom to enroll them in horseback riding lessons at Jandana Ranch outside of Kamloops, where her family lived. Soon, horseback riding became an activity the three did together. “It was always something I wanted to do and so had my mom. Through her girls, she had the chance to learn to ride too,” says Emily.
It didn’t take long for the family to acquire their own Thoroughbred. At first, they boarded their horse at Jandana Ranch. Then, the family moved to a new home with five acres of land where they decided, it was time for another horse. That was when they learned about Laddie. Laddie’s previous owners had passed away, and his caretaker wanted to ensure the ex-racehorse found a loving and quiet home to enjoy his well-earned retirement. Emily’s mom bought him on the spot.
“He fit perfectly with our other Thoroughbred; they were inseparable,” says Emily. “My mom ended up getting an Arabian and my sister got a Quarter Horse, so we ended up with four horses total…We kind of got more than we bargained for.”
And so did Laddie. With his racing days behind him, he settled into his authentic personality, which turned out to be more chocolate lab-like than racehorse. “My mom called him a big dog, because that's honestly what he was,” says Emily.
Laddie was a constant throughout major milestones in Emily’s life; as Emily pursued her Registered Veterinary Technologist diploma, as she began working at Kamloops Veterinary Clinic, as she got married to her husband and became a mother to two sons. “(Laddie) kept me grounded... He was just something always stable in my life. My husband works out of town, basically half the year away. He's done that for almost 10 years now. Laddie was always there…When I would go out there, I could just brush him and he was always happy to see me,” she says.
Emily has countless memories of her time with Laddie. Her favourite? Finding a way to include him in her wedding celebrations. “I did a trash the dress session because I couldn't have him at my actual wedding. He accepted the dress and he stood for the photos. I didn't have my helmet on, I didn't have any shoes on—I was breaking all the safety rules. I knew that he would take care of me. He was just a good boy,” she says.
Emily also cherishes the time she spent with Laddie and her two young sons. “He was the first horse that both of my boys rode,” she says, “The kids would get him a bucket of grain and he’d be thrilled. We'd take him to eat some of the longer grass. We'd walk him down to the river. He really was a big dog.”
With Emily by his side, Laddie passed away peacefully just a few days after his 27th birthday. During his racing career he was called “Just Like Light” for his speed, but with Emily he was able to slow down and come into his own. Laddie will always be remembered as a light in Emily’s life—her stunning Thoroughbred, her one-of-a-kind big dog.
For Laddie’s impression, Emily chose a custom color match background with a natural clay white soft edge imprint. She intends to display it with Laddie’s signature blue halter.
Each clay disk is packaged in a protective container with a peel-away, airtight seal. This keeps the clay soft and lets you take an impression without directly handling the clay.