By Dr. Gary Hanes, a resident of Woodside and a local equine veterinarian who has practiced on the Peninsula since 1989. He owns Briarwood Equine Clinic, with an office in Portola Valley.
On the night of Sept. 15, Woodside lost another older member of the local equestrian community. As a veterinarian of more than 20 years, I put to sleep Henry, or as his former owner used to refer to him, "Alpo," under the light of a nearly full moon.
Henry was born Feb. 12, 1980, making him 36 years old and perhaps one of the oldest equine residents of the area. For comparison's sake, that made Henry more than 100 years old in human years.
His health had rapidly declined in the past few weeks and his owners Don and Pam Robertson finally faced the difficult decision that it was Henry's time to go.
Henry became a local celebrity for the many years he was ridden by his owner, Dave Burlingame, an active member of the Mounted Patrol.
Dave frequently rode Henry through town trails, to Shack events, and to dozens of rides at the Mounted Patrol Grounds.
People in town began to recognize the pair everywhere they were seen and appreciate the kind and outgoing personality Henry possessed as a horse.
Henry also served as Dave's mount for countless rides in Mounted Search and Rescue events and the Fall Ride, usually held in a remote part of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Even with arthritis coming on, Henry was always willing to give his best and take Dave the places he wanted to go.
Upon Dave's death, Woodside residents Pam and Don Robertson on Canada Road adopted Henry and provided for his every need through the rest of his life.
No horse could want for better care, and Henry continued to be recognized whenever he was seen on town trails, even when just out for a walk and a bit of grass.
On the night of his passing, Don recalled several memorable stories about Henry.
A lifelong resident of the area, Don still lamented the fact that some people in town knew Henry but didn't know Don. Pam recalled a riding incident in which she ended up dismounted and flat on the ground while Henry stood looking down in complete disbelief.
Many believe that Henry and Dave are once again riding those celestial trails.