Memorial to a Treasured Family Member

Memorial to Banana

We lost a treasured family member last week and she will be greatly missed.  She taught my family so many things but the most important one was life-long dedication to those we love.  She loved us, and saved my Dad’s life.  She deserves a memorial.

Even before Banana saved Dad she was a treasured family member.    I was telling Mika a day or two after she passed how when she came to us, she was a bit fractious, but once she bonded with us, “she would walked through fire for us and killed a mountain lion on the way.”

She had the biggest, kindest eye and when she saw you coming she would meet you at the gate and follow you wherever you went.  She couldn’t say a word but you knew she loved you.  The look in her eye, the tilt of her head, the way she worked her ears to hear your every word, the way she would walk up to you and wrap herself around you.   You knew she loved you.

She came to my family as a show horse, but became a member of the family by lucky default and I will be forever thankful.    She was incredible.  One of those once in a lifetime horses that changes every one fortunate enough to have known her.

Her outstanding athletic ability showed every time we did something with her.  Her back that was too long for a great athlete, but she didn’t know that.  When she was young she was incredibly physical.  She could stop like crazy, spin till she made you dizzy, and she was beautiful and such a great mover you couldn’t help but watch her.


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Banana in one of her normal stops in Las Vegas at the Silver Dollar QH Show many years ago


She had amazing intelligence and could out smart any cow.  But her most endearing feature was the love that emanated from her.  You knew “Nana-Ba” loved you and she knew you loved her.  There was never a question.  It was just felt.

She was one horse you could always trust.  She went down the horse-show road with my ex-husband and I and had tremendous success.  After the divorce she stayed with Mika and me and was retired to the pasture.  But she was the horse you pulled out when you needed one you could count on.

When Mika outgrew her first barrel horse, I had Banana ready to take Mika to the next level in competition and Nana loved it!  But a couple weeks before they were able to go to their first barrel race stray dogs ran Banana through a fence.  Even after the wounds were healed she was still slightly lame so she was re-retired to the pasture.

A few years later when Mika hit high school she wanted to learn how to cut so Nana came back in from the pasture and taught Mika the basics.


memorial, family member, love, cattle, cowgirl, cowboy, cutting horse, Colorado, mountains, high school rodeo, family member

Nana teaching Mika how to cut


Soon her old soreness showed up again so back to the pasture she went and this time  she raised us an adorable little filly, Reva.  Who is now Hardy’s number one mount and also “eats cattle”.


Memorial, family member, love, Colorado, mountains, Dad, Mika, foal, colt, filly, best friend, great horse, Banana, treasure,  kindness,

Banana, baby Reva, Mika, and my Dad


Notice her eyes?  She never missed anything and would look right at you like she understood every word you said to her. It was as though she looked right into your soul.  And the love and caring she showed to every person involved with her taught us all so much.  Her dedication to us was incredible.  She would put herself between you and a dangerous cow, or a fractious colt.  She used her own body as a shield to protect you from any danger.

I mentioned earlier she saved my Dad’s life.  She did.  When Dad was getting up there in years he still thought he should take the colts to the mountain.  The last time he did he had yearlings and was going to ride Banana and lead the colts up the mountain.  He had saddled Nana at home and when he got to the mountain, at 75 or 80 years old he forgot to tighten his cinch before getting on.  He stepped on, tied a colt off hard and fast to the saddle horn, and started up the dirt road to the top of our summer mountain ground.  Not far up the trail the colt decided it didn’t want to lead and pulled back.  The loose cinch allowed the saddle to slip and in a flash turn completely under Banana’s belly with Dad hung up in the stirrup.  My Step Mom watched in horror as Banana spread all four legs out and straddled Dad.  Kay said she stood rock solid against the thrashing, fighting, frightened colt and protected Dad as he extracted himself from the stirrups, dropped to the ground, and finally crawled out from under her without a scratch.

We had always loved her but from that day on she was treasured for the unique individual she was.  She was amazing.  Not only did she protect Dad, but she protected the other horses in the field with her as well.  She was the official coyote chaser.  Any coyote that came in the pasture learned very quickly they were not welcome and would not be tolerated.  I never saw her kill one, but they certainly didn’t hang around long when she took out after them with her head low to the ground, ears pinned back tight, nostrils flared, eyes squinted, and running straight at them.

Just thinking about her makes me smile and sigh an incredibly peaceful sigh.  She had so much wisdom and talent but was so gentle and kind.

As she grew older she didn’t handle the cold well.  So a couple of years ago we let her go to Hardy and Mika’s little nephew, Kelby, and live in a warm canyon south of Cortez.


memorial, family member, love,horse, cowboy, cowgirl, Colorado, mountains, Mesa Verde, Indian

Nana and Kelby


I traveled down the canyon to be with Hardy’s family last Christmas.   I stepped out of the truck and hollered, “Nana-Ba,” and she threw up her head, eyes bright and eager, and ears turned right to me, as she loudly nickered her greeting!  If anyone ever tells you animals don’t have emotion, don’t believe them.  She was as thrilled to see me as I was to see her.  That life long love was still as strong as ever.

I’m glad she had a little boy who loved her the last months she was here on earth, but I certainly missed seeing her sweetness everyday.  And now my heart will never be whole again.  She took a little piece of it with her in her passing.  Those of us fortunate enough to have known her, loved her, and she loved us in return, deeply.

I hope I have learned your greatest lesson and gift, Nana.  To love, and remember, to the very end.

Good bye Nana.  You are still loved, and greatly missed by many.

Go with God and I’ll see you on the other side!

Do you have, or did you have an animal that touched your life?   If so, I encourage you to give them their memorial in the Comments section below.


Copyright © 2013 Kristi Ross, All rights reserved.











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  1. Trish December 19, 2013 #

    What a beautiful tribute to an amazing animal. I was awe-struck to read about the incident with your Dad. She honestly knew exactly what needed to be done to keep your Dad from being terrible injured or killed. I think this is one of my favorite posts, Kristi. Very touching and moving.

    • Kristi Ross December 19, 2013 #

      Thank you Trish! I”m thrilled you enjoyed the post. She was a great mare and literally put her own life on the line to save Dad. But that was just her nature. Such a great mare. Thank you for your condolences and kind comments. Thanks Trish!

  2. Trish December 19, 2013 #

    P.S. I’m sorry for your loss of this beloved horse.

    • Kristi December 20, 2013 #

      Thank you Trish.

  3. aliesha December 19, 2013 #

    what a beautiful family member and tribute you shared, thank you!! my Sammy touched my life as well as my diva and we will never be the same for having them in our lives:)

    • Kristi Ross December 19, 2013 #

      Hi Aliesha, Thank you so much for your sweet comments. And for sharing about your Sammy and Diva. The love of our animals defiantly change us forever. Thank you so much for sharing.

  4. lou December 19, 2013 #

    You knocked it out of the park with this one! I never cry and I can’t see the keys right now. What a wonderful tribute to a great horse! I agree with Trish, this one may be my new favorite. I am honored to have met Banana via your memorial. Thank you for sharing such a personal story. God bless Nana & God bless you!
    I had a pony when I was little that loved me like this. His name was Morty. I cried for weeks when he died. He deserves a tribute too. So here’s to Morty.! I still love you little man!
    Thank you Kristi.

    • Kristi Ross December 19, 2013 #

      Hi Lou, thank you for your kind comments. I’m glad the post touched you so deeply. And what a great tribute to your own wonderful Morty. I’m honored to told us about him here. Thank you.

  5. Mika December 19, 2013 #

    Thank u mom for posting this tribute. All our horses are a part of the family and when we loose one we loose a part of the family. And perticilarly her. She knew who loved her n she loved them right back. But through this blog people can experience that love and connection, and for that I am thankful for your writings.

    • Kristi Ross December 19, 2013 #

      Thank you Mika. I couldn’t have done it without you and your support. And yes, they are our family, especially Nana. She defiantly knew who loved her and she loved us right back for sure. It is wonderful that others can get to know her and the great life lessons she taught us.

  6. kathy December 19, 2013 #

    It is sad to see those we love leave..and yes, you will meet on the other side. Thank you for this beautiful story, Kristi, I am touched.
    My pup, Rosco, a border collie/foxhound, is so intelligent and sweet. It was the first time I ever felt “whose little spirit are you”. She has been with a loving family along with her buddy, Piggy, a little Shitzu mix when I had to give them away. We now are a larger family..
    Also, when I was outside Carson City, Nevada about 3 years ago, we went after the wild mustang. Two completely black mares came up to me and I was able to touch them. The second one had such a gentle look in her eyes..I know she would love to be with us. I backed off when the stallion, with his head low, walked toward us completely silent. The mares complied and walked away from me; I will hold these horses dear in my heart.
    Thank you for giving me this opportunity. God bless you. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

    • Kristi Ross December 19, 2013 #

      Thank you for sharing that great story of your sweet dogs. So sorry you had to give them away, but sure glad they have a good home. Those wild mares coming up to you is amazing! What an incredible experience! Thank you for sharing. And thank you, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you too my friend.

  7. Kim Halsey December 19, 2013 #

    That was a very beautiful tribute to Banana. I remember getting hugs from her all the time.

    • Kristi Ross December 19, 2013 #

      Thank you Kim. Yes, she was a special mare wasn’t she. So loving and gentle. She will be missed.

  8. edina December 20, 2013 #

    WOW!!! What an amazing story! Thank you so much for sharing this one,
    and my heart is with you for the loss of this beautiful old soul.

    So much going on in your life right now, …

    Banana sounds like a Medicine Horse. Listen in the wind, and she will visit,
    even from the Spirit world.

    great beauty and grace to you, my friend

    • Kristi Ross December 20, 2013 #

      Thank you Edina. She was an amazing horse. Please explain what you mean about her being a Medicine Horse. She did have special talents and protected us so that makes sense. I can’t wait to talk to you about her.
      Thank you, and the same wishes back to you my friend.

  9. Trish December 20, 2013 #

    Oops, forgot to post about my beloved dog, Whiskers. We called her Whisk. I got her when I was about 11 years old from the shelter in Grand Junction. She was so pitiful looking…her sad eyes melted my heart and I think she remained grateful the rest of her life to us for taking her home and making her a part of our family. She was a sweet, loving, wonderful little dog and I was blessed to have her for 15 years.

    • Kristi Ross December 20, 2013 #

      Oh Trish I’m so glad you put this on here about your sweet little dog! I’m trying to remember her. Was she like a wirey haired terrier? I’m glad you had her and shared about her. Thank you!

  10. Willa December 20, 2013 #

    Brought tears to my eyes as I thought about my own father and his best friends, the horses he loved and depended on since a boy. There were many but each one special. Thank you for sharing, Kristi. And I’m sorry for your loss.

    • Kristi Ross December 20, 2013 #

      Hi Willa, I hope it was good memories this brought back. Thank you for appreciating it and thank you for your condolences. My horses are family and this one was very special so it was very difficult.

  11. kathy December 20, 2013 #

    Trish, that is such a sweet story about Whisk. It is amazing how loving they are and they do know we save them. My two dogs are from the SPCA.. and I knew how grateful they are, too.
    God bless you and I feel the loss, just as we do with Kristi.

    and Willa, it’s so wonderful your dad lived with horses. My dream but i grew up in a city. What precious memories.

    Mika.. you are a really special daughter..just like Mom.. so nice to be part of your lives and we can thank your Mama…. Merry Christmas & a blessed New Year to everyone

  12. Bobbye J Smith December 21, 2013 #

    Kristi – what a beautiful tribute to Banana – (Nana-Ba)

    I read the full memorial. It is beautiful. Dogs are my passion and through our mutual love of animals I could see and understand the love you had/have for Banana. There’s a riding stable across the lane from me. The instructor teaches for show and she also teaches children with mental or learning disabilities. I watch the horses with the children and the horses know they are carrying special children – there’s a bond the horse forms with the children. A few of the horses even recognize some of the kids and prance and dance when they arrive. Good Bless you too Kristi. Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year.

    • Kristi December 22, 2013 #

      Thank you Bobbye! What an amazing tribute to the love the therapy horses! Thank you for sharing! God bless you!

  13. Wanda December 26, 2013 #


    So sorry for your loss…I know you horses and dogs are part of your family as they are ours and their passing does take a part of your heart with them…..we always have them in our memories tho and we will see them again, I so believe that.

    Thank you for the beautiful tribute to Nana-Ba…..she was special….sometimes these special animals are sent to bless our lives…and I am glad they do.

    We have had several special dogs and horses through the years that have a special place in our hearts as well. Rusty our Boxer, Jack our Rat Terrier, and my horses Red and Cobre….I miss them still.

    Hope you and your family had a blessed Christmas!

    Love you all!

    • Kristi Ross December 27, 2013 #

      Hi Wanda, thank you for your touching comment to Nana-Ba’s tribute! Yes, our families both treasure those sweet souls of our incredible animals. I’m glad you enjoyed my post. And thank you for honoring the horses and dogs of yours that touched your life. They will live on your hearts.

      Wishing you and your family a wonderful Christmas and incredible New Year!

      Love you too! Kristi

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