Arlene Lamar, 89, in hospice care in Kansas City, Missouri had a final wish to attend the American Royal’s United Professional Horseman’s Association National Saddlebred Championship this past weekend. Friends and family got together and made it happen for Arlene, including a front row VIP seat.

A lifelong equestrian, Arlene began riding when she was 5 years old. She quit school before 8th grade because she already knew what she wanted to be, a trick rider. Arlene went to every rodeo she could get to and studied other riders’ techniques. Her career took its first step when she answered an ad from The Western Horseman magazine and became a “girl rider” for the Stoddards western show in Nampa, Idaho. Stoddards was sold and a new show created, The Valkyries and Their Flying White Horses of which Arlene was a performer. The act featured Roman style riding with three women and six white horses. In 1950, they performed at the Los Angeles Coliseum before 100,000 people. It was at this venue that Arlene first met Roy Rogers who was the Grand Marshall. Arlene later rode stunts in several Roy Roger’s movies.

Our childhood dreams of horses continue throughout our lifetime. There simply is no end, no “I’m too old”, no walking away from the smells, sounds and sweet breath of the horses we love.