One of the most awesome people in this world has died. Mike Trader, our horse trainer. He died suddenly from a heart attack.

He was more than our horse trainer. He was our friend. He made us his friends, not his clients, by his embracing personality, welcoming us with his warmth and personality, willing to offer a beer or a hug or a conversation just as much as a ride and instruction.

He was a talker! HUGE talker! You could hardly get him to stop long enough for you to leave, and it is almost impossible to imagine that he is not still talking. He was so much fun to be around.

He taught me to ride when I couldn’t even put a halter on a horse, when I was scared of horses. He taught Morgan to ride again after Patriot bucked her.

He taught me everything I know about horses, and he tried to teach me so much more than I could absorb.

He helped me overcome my fears and become a horse owner. I can’t imagine having taken on horses without his guidance and his mentorship and his friendship. When we had to make the hardest decision of all about Patriot, he was the one we turned to.

He loved people as much as he loved horses, and his advice came from the heart he had for both.

Mike, shooting off Zip’s back when she was at his farm. (Real bullets are not involved in this type of exercise. It’s intended as a test/demonstration of a horse’s training under saddle.)

I was so lucky to get to see Mike a few weeks ago when I was in his neighborhood to see the knives I was getting for the boys. I got to hug him one last time and see the new horse he was excited about. How he loved Rocky Mountain horses.
He was only 52. I know he’s left a big hole in the world for his wife and his children–and it’s a testament to what a great man he was that he will leave a hole for a lot of other people, too. He was so good with people, especially children and teens. Morgan just adored him. She was in tears last night. Me, too. We’ll miss you, Mike.


  1. guernsey_girl says:

    My deepest sympathy goes out to you Suzanne, Morgan, to everyone who knew Mike, but especially to his family. Mike was so young, what a shock. I feel fortunate to have gotten to know a little about Mike, I’m sure he will be greatly missed by so many. God bless you all at this very sad time.

  2. SarahGrace says:

    How very, very sad. Many prayers for his family and friends at this time.

  3. Gardengirl1 says:

    Oh Suzanne, I am so so sorry for the loss of your friend. My condolences go out to you, Morgan and all of his family and friends. He sounds like a really wonderful person. It is so sad when one who is so talented and so caring, leaves this life. Sending up prayers of strength and comfort for all of you.

  4. copgrrl says:

    I am so sorry to hear about Mike’s passing. I feel that through your words I was able to know a great human being. In the grand chain of humanity this is a horrible loss. I will send healing white light to you and his family.

  5. wildcat says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about Mike’s passing. He sounds like a wonderful man who will be missed by so many. 😥

  6. rurification says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about this. My dad died similarly. The shock is almost overwhelming. You and his family are in our prayers.

  7. langela says:

    Only knowing of him briefly through your words and pictures, I was brought to tears this morning.It’s so hard when the world loses a wonderful person. I can tell just by how you speak of him, that he was adored by those who knew him. I’m so sorry for you, Morgan, and Mike’s family in the loss of a special man.

  8. doodlebugroad says:

    My condolences – I know the heartfelt pain is overwhelming. Cherished memories with such a great man in your lives will be a great legacy.

  9. maryellen51 says:

    I am so sorry, Suzanne and Morgan. I am in tears as I read this. I feel as if I lost a friend,too. I wiil be thinking of you and yours and his family.

  10. ibpallets (Sharon B.) says:

    I am so sorry for your loss- May God give his family and friends His peace and comfort.

  11. amyg says:

    Oh Suzanne,
    I’m so very sorry. Mike’s loss was a big one, for you and Morgan, for his family and friends and for your community. Please know that you are in my heart and have my deepest condolences. If you can, please express my condolences to Mike’s family too. Thank you for letting us get to know him.
    Love, Amy Goldshine

  12. The High Altitude Tea Duchess says:

    He has left behind such a great legacy of people whose lives are forever changed because they knew him. Would that we should all be so influential in our small spheres of family and community. My prayers go out to his wife and children and the rest of his family. What a great post you did for him, Suzanne.

  13. Leaves of the fall says:

    Nice memorial post, Suzanne. At the mention of age 52, I can’t help but go back to my own situation… my dad died when he was 52. Funny when you’re younger how 52 seems so much older. Now that I’m knocking on 52’s door, I can’t begin to tell my kids how I only feel 17 (at least in my head).
    My dad was another who left a huge void in the world…
    Peace and comfort to Mike’s family and friends.

  14. hepkitten says:

    Mike’s friends (including you and Morgan) and family will be in my thoughts – so sad. Thank you for “introducing” us to Mike – it sounds like he was a wonderful man who will be greatly missed.

  15. lesliedgray says:

    Oh! I am SO sorry to hear this! I know how much you enjoyed and admired him.. In a small crazy way, I feel as if I knew him too, from your postings. I actually felt tears come into my eyes as I read this latest post. What a great loss. My sincere condolences and prayers go out to his friends and family..

  16. lifeisgood/ Melinda says:

    I am so sorry for the loss of your friend and mentor. My prayers are with his family and friends. I believe in heaven and I am sure your friend is riding a beautiful horse across perfect green pastures that never die. I hope you all find peace and comfort in the joy and love he left in your hearts.

  17. steakandeggs says:

    My first thought was Oh No! So sorry for the lost of your dear friend. Condolences to you; his family and friends.

  18. lattelady says:

    I am so very sorry to hear this. He was a treasure many were allowed to see and meet. Pass my condolences on to his family.

  19. fowlers says:

    My condolences to all; that is such a shame.Hugs!

  20. amateisgal says:

    So very sorry, Suzanne. I’m so glad you were able to know him. He sounded like a true treasure.

  21. BrownsFan says:

    My sincere condolences to you and Morgan for the loss of your friend, and to Mike’s family for their tremendous loss. I know he will be missed. I hope Mike’s family gets a chance to see this post today and all these comments from those of us who didn’t know Mike, but feel like we do.

  22. whaledancer says:

    My condolences to you and Morgan on the loss of your friend. I’m glad that we got to know Mike a little through your words and pictures. His warmth and his gift of communicating with horses shone through. I know his death will leave an empty space in your lives and in your hearts, and that you will think of him whenever you ride or train your horses.

  23. doubletroublegen says:

    Thank you Suzanne for writing such a nice memorial to a man bigger than life. He truly was a gentleman in every aspect of his life- for a man to deal with horses and gain their respect says so much about his heart! Having talked with him on several occasions I came away from our conversation with the feeling he cared about life in such a genuine way, he had a gift for talking that is for certain. Soft spoken, very sincere and full of vitality. I just cannot imagine the grief of his family and close friends. Heaven truly must have needed a great horse trainer. Our local horse and farm community lost one of the best. Deepest sympathy to his family, friends, and your family. :hug:

  24. beforethedawn says:

    I am so sorry to hear of Mike’s passing. My thoughts and prayers are with Mike’s wife and family. Praying for you and Morgan and his friends as well. How shocking, and I didn’t even get to meet him, thank you for sharing him with us!

  25. SpinnersEndFarm says:

    Suzanne, I’m so sorry for you and Morgan to have lost such a good person in your life. I’m glad you have so many wonderful memories of Mike.

  26. jessigooch says:

    I am so sorry for your loss of your friend. I strongly belive that you were meant to be in that area to see your friend. My god bless you and your family and Mikes family too

  27. cabynfevr says:

    I am so sorry. It’s always especially sad when someone so full of life passes way too early. My condolences Suzanne.

  28. razzintaz says:

    Our hearts and prayers go to Mike’s family. I am sure God had a wild stallion he needed help with and so called Mike home. It’s hard when you can’t talk with your friend here in earth, but you will see him again.

  29. MMHoney says:

    True friends are few and far between.
    They are to be treasured like precious jewels.

  30. jeandf says:

    Big huge squishy, loving hugs. I am sorry to hear of your loss. Hope you find peace in his passing.

  31. knititblack says:

    I’m so very sorry to hear about this. Condolences and prayers to you and Morgan, and to Mike’s family as well.

  32. Rose H says:

    What a wonderful tribute for Mike. I send my since condolences to his family and yours too. He must have been a VERY special person and will leave his special mark on your hearts.

  33. silentgoddess says:

    I didn’t even have to read the story to know what happened the moment I saw the post title/picture. My heart sunk when I saw it.
    I, of course, read the story. I am so very sorry, Suzanne. Sorry for everyone who knew and loved him. Sorry for the animals he won’t get to train and grow to love. What a tragedy. And only 52 years old. I got tired of using the term “when it is your time, it is your time” years ago when people far too young to die, died anyway. It just doesn’t seem fair, does it?

    Embrace the great memories you have of Mike. He did great work while here.

  34. wanda1950 says:

    Suzanne & Morgan I am so sorry. May God bless you and all Mike’s family & friends with comfort. He left you all with some wonderful memories–what Mama said was the best thing anyone could leave behind.

  35. MousE says:

    Oh I am so very sorry!

    Words fail. What a loss. My condolences to you all.

  36. angiemay says:

    Oh Suzanne and Morgan, I am so very, very sorry to hear about Mike. He was such a wonderful friend and help to you two. Such a sad time. So glad you had just gotten to see him. Hugs to you both.

  37. Sue, a Florida Farm Girl says:

    Oh, I’m so sorry you’ve lost your friend. It is never easy and its particularly jarring when they go so suddenly and at such a young age. His passing has indeed left a huge hole that will never be filled. You just learn how to move forward around it. Hugs to you and to Morgan.

  38. Dumbcatluvr says:

    Words are inadequate. 😥

  39. GrammieEarth says:

    I am so sorry. Our Earth has lost yet another wonderful person, clear and apparent from every word you have ever written about Mike. Fifty two is so very young. I am always ‘glad’ when one leaves without having to withstand a long illness, yet the shock is overwhelming to those left behind. Whenever you ride your horses or wonder about something concerning them, think WWMD (what would Mike do), and when you can, smile, knowing you were lucky to have him in your lives. Healing thoughts are being sent to his loved ones and his friends.
    Hugs :heart:

  40. Flowerpower says:

    He was much too young to leave this earth. Made me wanna cry and I
    don’t even know Mike. How very sad for his family and yours. Rest in peace Mike.

  41. boulderneigh says:

    Ouch, this hits way too close to home. Not only have your posts about Mike made me appreciate this man I’ve never met, but my husband is 51 and had a ‘minor’ heart attack 2 1/2 years ago. I was already wondering if the other shoe might drop; this post wrapped icy fingers around my heart! Prayers for his family….

  42. yvonnem says:

    My heart sank when I saw the title of this post, I knew it was probably bad news. I’m so sorry to hear this. I remember Mike from high school. Blessings to his family and friends. :heart:

  43. Mandys says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with you and all his family and friends. It seems life is giving me a good dose of reality and showing me how quickly things can end, just 2 days ago at work someone collapsed on the workshop floor and died right there 🙁

  44. Stick Horse Cowgirls says:

    So sorry Suzanne and Morgan! Horse people are special! I know his friends and family will truly appreciate your heartfelt tribute!

  45. cinderbama says:

    What a tragedy. I am sorry you and Morgan are hurting, but happy that you had the opportunity to learn so much from him.

  46. Jane L says:

    I am so sorry for the loss of Mike. I loved hearing about him and his horses – he was so patient and talented and I was so awed by his abilities (not least of all making a horsewoman out of you Suzanne in such a short time). My heart goes out to his family and friends, and I am so sorry for the pain you’re going through.

  47. liz2 says:

    I’m so deeply sorry that Mike is gone. I knew him only through your blog but came to greatly admire his talents with horses & riders. Your posts about Mike were my favorites. My heartfelt condolences to Mike’s family, Morgan & you.

  48. pugwaggin says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. Mike’s family will appreciate what you have so beautifuly written about him. I will be keeping you andMorgan and Mike’s family in my prayers.

  49. Heidi533 says:

    I’m so sorry Suzanne. My thoughts are with all of you and Mike’s family. He will live on in love of those who were privileged enough to know him.

  50. Jersey Lady says:

    We send our sympathy on the passing of your friend, Mike. What a treasure of info and memories you have from your time with him!

  51. willsahna says:

    I’m so sorry. My heartfelt sympathy is with you and Morgan and Mike’s family. So sad.

  52. DebbieInMemphis says:

    I’m so very sorry for your loss. I’ll be keeping his family and friends in my thoughts and prayers.

  53. holstein woman says:

    Morgan and Suzanne, you have gone through so many tragedies in the last couple of years, I’m so sorry this had to happen also. My prayers are with you both.

  54. rhubarbrose says:

    So sad to hear about this tragic loss. What a shock to lose someone so very young and special to you and Morgan. You have written such a nice tribute to your friend!

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