The bond between a human and a horse is oftentimes too difficult to put into words.
Glenda Travis gets choked up when she talks about one of her special horses but she could talk about him all day.
You might see Glenda at Ajax Downs on race days, equipped with her camera and cheering loudly for the Quarter Horses of her close friends Greg and Sue Watson. She has been a big fan of the sport for over 10 years.
Born in Glasgow, Scotland, Glenda's parents immigrated to Canada in 1957 and she lived in Quebec and Ontario before settling in Whitby.
In 1983, she purchased a 15-year-old off-the-track Thoroughbred for her daughter, Lesley, a gelding who was born in the same month, April, and year, 1978, as her only child.
"Ritzi" had been owned by her daughter's riding coaches Kelly Plitz and Ian Roberts of Dreamcrest Equestrian centre.
"I bought him to be her partner in eventing," said Glenda, who has had a professional photography business, specializing in portraits and weddings, for 13 years. "He had been competing at the Young Rider Level at Intermediate but it was time for him to step back and teach another young person. So he came into our lives and partnered with my daughter for the next five years."
At the time, coach Roberts had joked with Glenda that when the horse eventually retired from shows it would be her who would inherit the horse.
"I just laughed and said "you wouldn't get me on that horse's back for anything'. I was terrified of him; he was a high strung Thoroughbred with what appeared to me only two speeds...fast and faster. And oh could he jump. He was not a really big horse, just about 16hh, but he could jump anything you put in front of him."
Ritzi (his show name was St. Moritz) retired from events when he was 20 and Glenda gathered up the courage to start riding him. They competed in low level events and went on hacks through the woods on Roberts farm.
"He was so patient with me, he gave me strength and dourage I didn't know I had," said Glenda. "The memories I have of those rides in the woods will be with me forever."
Glenda and Ritzi also competed in smaller hunter shows and while her daughter warned her that he was 'not a hunter' and that she may not be able to control the brazen fellow around the course, instead, said Glenda, "He didn't going screaming around, he popped over each little fence with such grace and we won a first-place ribbon; such a gentleman."
Ritzi lived out his later years with a horsey friend, Tex, at a friend's farm until the age of 27.
"He was so loved this horse and gave so much back," said Glenda. "He will live on in my heart forever, there will never be another like him for me unfortunately. He's been gone for over 10 years now but when I close my eyes I can still feel him beneath me."
Since she has discovered the exciting world of Quarter Horse racing, Glenda also has fond memories of Cruwsyn Down Home.
"I photographed him taking his first breath in 2010 and then photographed his racing career for the next five years. He was a son of Down Home Dash from Sun's Elegant Lady, bred by Greg and Susan's Full Circle Racing. He had a huge heart, huge personality and always made me laugh. I pretended for five years that he was mine. He's gone on to a new career in barrel racing now."
Ritzi and 'Cruwsy' enriched the life of Glenda Travis but to be sure, their lives were better for knowing such a passionate person.
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