KUSA - Anyone who has lost someone faces this dilemma: what of "theirs" do you hold close and what do you let go?
For the family of Claire Davis, who passed away in December after the shooting at Arapahoe High School, the biggest unknown concern is her horse, Graphite.
It was a heartbreaking and unforgettable moment during the service celebrating the life of Claire. Graphite was led into the National Western Complex wearing Claire's saddle for the final time.
Graphite was Claire's baby.
"She loved him with all her heart. She talked about the confidence he gave her," Trainer and owner of In Stride Rebecca Johnson said.
Her family struggled with what to do with Graphite. They didn't want to sell him. He likes to compete but lost his rider. Months later, the decision came to them.
Erica Blair met Claire when she moved from the Chicago area. On the first day of school Claire had lunch with her and they became fast friends. It didn't take long for both of them to discover their love of horses. Erica has her horse at a different barn and Claire often told her she wished they had their horses together.
On graduation day Erica and another friend were asked to accept Claire's diploma, something she considered a huge honor. Later that night, Erica got some bad news. Her horse was sick and needed surgery. She didn't have a horse to ride all summer. She called In Stride and Claire's mom to get some advice.
"It felt so perfect. It finally felt right, what do with him," Claire's mother Desiree Davis said. "Claire's best friend could come and take over the ride."
At first, Graphite was a little standoffish. He needed time. Erica understood.
"He lost his rider; the person who took care of him. He lost his mom," Erica said.
Erica and Graphite have developed their relationship. Together they've been quite successful in shows this summer. Mostly, they have found a way to connect through Claire.
"I feel her most when I'm at the barn, because he meant so much to her," Erica said.
Friends, family and community members are honoring Claire's life with Clarity Commons, a special reflection area on the campus of Arapahoe High School. Future students and visitors can leave a personalized message on one of three pavers to be installed at the site. To learn more about how you can be involved go to http://www.rmahf.org/rmahf/claritycommons/.
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