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Willie Can Dance: March 8, 2001–July 3, 2007

willieGone to greener pastures

When Rick Klaus of Hastings, Minnesota purchased a bay yearling named Willie Can Dance from Victoria Ennis of Texoma Appaloosas, he couldn’t have known the blessings this horse would bring to him.

“It was an honor and privilege to train him,” Rick says. He broke “Willie” as a 2 year old. He and longtime client and friend Marcia Melde described Willie as “freaky flat” in his front end during movement.

Annalise Larson, one of Rick’s students, began riding Willie when she was 15, and the pair were successful at Appaloosa and open events across the country. Willie earned titles at the ApHC National Show, ApHC World Show, Reichert Celebration, Just For Pleasure, the Minnesota Corporate Challenge, with the NSBA and the ApPHA.

Annalise and Willie won the ApPHA 5 and under hunter under saddle youth/non-pro class for three consecutive years. She holds many fond memories of Willie, including his habit of sticking his tongue out of his mouth to play. Annalise took her high school senior pictures with him, and thought of him as her best friend.

Willie was also shown by Rick and other talented riders including Trish Yamber, Vicky Holt and Brian Isbell.

It was with great sadness that Willie Can Dance was put down shortly after colic surgery at the 2007 Youth World. He died as the reigning 2-time open World Champion junior hunter under saddle horse. It was Annalise and Willie’s last Youth World. It was indeed a great loss to the Larson and Klaus families, as well as the Appaloosa breed. Willie held a special place in Rick’s heart as a once-in-a-lifetime horse.

The Klaus and Larson families would like to thank the judges, trainers and spectators who recognized the abilities of this great animal and for all of the cards, gifts, and condolences. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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