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Equine Obituary -- Prairie Dancer

Prairie Dancer passed away May 14, the first night of Asheville Lions Club Charity Horse Show. The exact cause of death is still unknown, but he had been battling laminitis, kidney failure and colitis since the beginning of May.

Sired by CH War Whoop Two and out of Rhythm’s Fury, Prairie Dancer was foaled April 9, 1997, to breeders John and Dorothy Lenore of El Cajon, Calif. The beautiful chestnut gelding was shown successfully in fine harness and five-gaited competition from 1999 until his death this year. He was owned by the Lenores until 2002 when he was purchased by Kathy Berger of Monroe, N.C., for her son Ross.

Prairie Dancer’s most recent wins were at the 2003 J.D. Massey Classic in Clemson, S.C., where he took the first place win in the Five-Gaited Junior Exhibitor Stake and reserve in the Five-Gaited Mares and Geldings Junior Exhibitors class, for riders 17 and under, both with Ross Berger riding.

Under the Lenore family ownership, Prairie Dancer took reserve in the Two-Year-Old Fine Harness Stake at the 1999 All American Classic in Indianapolis, Ind., and at the 1999 ASHAV Horse Show in Lexington, Va. He was also awarded reserve honors in the UPHA Five-Gaited Classic Grand Championship at the American Royal Horse Show in Kansas City, Mo., in both the 2000 and 2001, and in the Five-Gaited Three-Year-Old Stake at the 2000 Lexington Junior League Horse Show.

Under the Berger family ownership, Prairie Dancer earned a third place finish in the Five-Gaited Amateur Stake at the 2002 Asheville Lions Club Charity Horse Show, a first place finish in the Five-Gaited Championship at the 2002 JD Massey Classic and the 2002 Roanoke Valley Horse Show. Prairie Dancer also won the Five-Gaited Junior Exhibitor Stake at the 2003 Raleigh Spring Premier under the Berger family ownership.

Prairie Dancer was a familiar face at the World’s Championship Horse Show in Louisville, Ky., as well. He was awarded with the reserve honors in the ASHA Kentucky Futurity Two-Year-Old Fine Harness Finals in 1999, in the ASHA National Three-Year-Old Futurity-Five-Gaited in 2000 and in the Five-Gaited Junior Championship in 2001 under the Lenore family ownership. He placed third in the Ladies Amateur Five-Gaited Championship in 2002 under the Berger family ownership.

Prairie Dancer was a fine competitor and was loved by everyone who knew him, especially his proud owner Kathy Berger and his trainer Paul Boone. “He was a special horse. He never had a problem and was probably the happiest living creature I’ve ever been around,” Paul Boone reflected. “He enjoyed life to its fullest and I don’t remember ever seeing him when he wasn’t happy, even just before he passed away.”

Editor's Note: Kathy Berger and her family would like to thank everyone for their kind expressions of sympathy over the loss of their beloved Prairie Dancer.

"God has blessed me with more wonderful horses over the years than I ever could have imagined or deserved. Incredibly, Prairie Dancer was evolving into the very best of too many. His ears said it all. They were always glued forward, and he was exactly the same at home in his stall. He loved every minute of every day and never had a bad moment, much less a bad thought. He was so powerful in the ring, yet so gentle and loving in his stall. But we didn't buy him for me, we bought him for our son Ross. Everything that was good about both of them just fit together. At JD Massey, which was to be his last ride, Ross was laughing during the last rack just because he and his horse were having such a wonderful time. We're so very proud of our son and the courage he has shown at a time when he has lost the center of his world. But we're also grateful that God allowed us to have our dream come true, if even for such a short time. We are also deeply devoted to Paul, Betsy and Nancy Boone, and to Mindy Partee, who poured their whole hearts into every day with our boy and his horse, and who continue to share and carry our loss. Finally, a huge thank you to every one of you who have called, written, sent e-mails, or even thought of or prayed for us. It means more than you will ever know."

-- Kathy Lyda Berger

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