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In Memory of Shadowfax

News from Bree

Apr 6 2014, 9:10pm

Post #1 of 21 (374 views)
In Memory of Shadowfax Can't Post

We've just heard the sad news that Blanco, the beautiful horse that played Shadowfax in the Lord of the Rings films, has died. We knew that he'd been ill and that his owner and friend, Cynthia Royal, was desperately trying to save him, sadly the decision was made to end his suffering. Cynthia announced this to his fans and followers in an open letter on their website. Our condolences and love go out to Cynthia and all her family. RIP Blanco, running free in the Undying Lands.

Dear Family, Friends, Fans and Followers,

Over the past few months, my equine friend, partner, teacher and guide 'Blanco' - known around the world for his starring role as Shadowfax in the Lord of The Rings movies - suddenly and without warning fell critically ill. During this time, he required an array of urgent medical care and a lengthy stay in a horse hospital.

A battery of tests were performed which pointed to inconclusive, but none-the-less extremely serious issues with his intestinal tract and liver. To my dismay, this left the exact nature of his illness, as well as the best method of treatment, an illusive guess at best. As a result, a host of supportive therapies - from conventional to alternative - were provided, in addition, to an outpouring of healing energy, prayers and blessings that came in from his fans and supporters all over the world.

While Blanco was in the hospital, my family and I visited him daily, so he would continue to know that he was loved and supported even though he was away from home. Some days, he was distant - a physical shell devoid of the opinionated Blanco I've known so well. Other days he would rally as soon as he heard my whistle from afar. On those days we'd go on short walks together, allowing for scratches, hugs and a few nibbles of the green grass on the hospital's lawn.

One day in particular toward the end of his hospital stay, Blanco returned to his old enthusiastic self, demonstrated by an alert 'head's up' and a loud and joyful whinny to see me. After the hospital staff disconnected him from the IV, he snacked on carrots I'd brought him from home and we went for a long walk around the hospital grounds, even doing a little trotting in unison. When we arrived back at his stall, I told him if he continued to feel better, that we planned to bring him home the following day to continue his rehabilitation there.

Early the next morning, I received a call from one of the many vets overseeing Blanco's case, informing me that he had taken a turn for the worse overnight and that I should come to the hospital right away. When I approached Blanco's stall, he was in an obvious state of shut-down and distress - a situation I know well from recent experience with my own life-threatening illness. So, after stepping into his stall, I laid my head on his back and placed my hand over his heart for a few moments of meditative connection. Then, while kneeling down by his side, I asked Blanco if it was his "time". Without a second of hesitation, he turned his head to me, looked me straight in the eye and at that moment, I knew he was ready.

While the decision was made to help Blanco transition, due to safety concerns the hospital had a strict policy of not allowing non-staff to be present during euthanasia. This was something I was simply unwilling to accept, as I knew my duty to to Blanco and our extraordinary relationship would not be complete without being able to be present to support him during this final leg of his earthly journey.

Instead of allowing him to be taken away to an isolated room to die with strangers, they agreed to euthanize him in his stall and allow me to be by his side - as long as I could persuade him to lay down on his own. Although it took several tries and lots of encouragement due to his severely weakened state, Blanco gave me the gift by laying down for me one last time in response to my gentle request. Although my heart was breaking, as my final gift to him, I stayed strong, balanced and focused, gently repeating, "Relax Blanco. Let go. Walk into the light. Relax and let go" as the Blanco I've known so well and loved so deeply slipped away.

While this leg of Blanco's journey has passed and my heart still aches, I will live in peace knowing we gave our all to aid in his recovery. We spared no effort nor expense, even though doing so in conjunction with the on-going expenses of my own health challenges has placed an additional financial burden on my family.

So, if seeing Blanco in the movies or in one of our many videos, clinics or appearances has touched your heart or inspired you in any way, I invite you to make a donation in memory of Blanco that will help us pay for his extensive medical care. In doing so, your show of support will mean Blanco's message that we have love and compassion not only toward our horses, but with each other, will truly come full circle.

In gratitude ~ Cynthia Royal and family

(This post was edited by Silverlode on Apr 7 2014, 6:38am)

Superuser / Moderator

Apr 7 2014, 3:04am

Post #2 of 21 (257 views)
Sad news. [In reply to] Can't Post

What a beautiful horse he was.

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauron’s master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded beggar with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.

Ataahua's stories

Superuser / Moderator

Apr 7 2014, 3:15am

Post #3 of 21 (255 views)
R.I.P., dear Blanco [In reply to] Can't Post

What a heartbreaking, but inspirational message. Tears are running from my eyes.

The most difficult experience an animal companion will ever know is letting their friend go. The second most difficult thing is knowing when. It sounds like Blanco was ready to go, and his owner had both the right connection with him to recognize that the time had come, and the right amount of courage to do what was best for Blanco.

Blanco was a magnificent animal who will be remembered in his prime by millions of people. That, and this beautiful message by his owner, is just about the best legacy any sweet animal can hope for. Smile

Koru: Maori symbol representing a fern frond as it opens. The koru reaches towards the light, striving for perfection, encouraging new, positive beginnings.

"Life can't be all work and no TORn" -- jflower

"I take a moment to fervently hope that the camaradarie and just plain old fun I found at TORn will never end" -- LOTR_nutcase

(This post was edited by Altaira on Apr 7 2014, 3:17am)


Apr 7 2014, 3:59am

Post #4 of 21 (263 views)
Oh my, that's too bad... [In reply to] Can't Post

he was a magnificent steed, and I shall remember him always. Surely he was one of the Mearas.


Apr 7 2014, 5:06am

Post #5 of 21 (260 views)
I just received this message from Cynthia, Blancos friend and owner [In reply to] Can't Post

Which I've added to our Frontpage post

We just received this message from Cynthia to everyone,

Thanks you again – each comment of condolences helps ease the crack in my heart left by the departure of my truest friend.
Here is the link to watch the tribute video: http://www.gofundme.com/7yljv4.
Thank you all for the outpouring of love and support during this time of incredible loss and grief.
~ Cynthia Royal

Our thoughts and love are with you during this time, in the words of Gandalf “I will not say do not weep for not all tears are an evil”. *hugs & love* Kelvarhin

Bag ENZ Home of the Hobbit *with thanks to cameragod ;D*

One by one they faded, and fell into shadow...

One book to rule them all
One book to find them
One book to bring them all
And in TORn bind them
In the land of TORnadoes...where the brilliant play

(This post was edited by Kelvarhin on Apr 7 2014, 5:07am)


Apr 7 2014, 5:15am

Post #6 of 21 (250 views)
RIP [In reply to] Can't Post

That's awful. I love horses so dearly and he was very beautiful. Now both the Shadowfax horses, Domero and Blanco is gone Unsure
RIP. At least he had a good life and owners that loved him. Heart


Apr 7 2014, 9:02am

Post #7 of 21 (242 views)
*tears* oh my... [In reply to] Can't Post

Cynthia's love for Blanco is palpable... and she's suffering from illness herself. This has been a hard-fought battle to save this wonderful soul. My prayers and thoughts go to Cynthia and Blanco's friends.

6th draft of TH:AUJ Geeky Observation List - November 28, 2013
3rd draft of TH:DOS Geeky Observation List - January 2, 2014


"There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West."

I'm SO HAPPY these new films take me back to that magical world!!

TIME Google Calendar
TORn's Geeky Observations Lists (updated soon)

Registered User

Apr 7 2014, 12:11pm

Post #8 of 21 (234 views)
Sad news indeed [In reply to] Can't Post

Without a doubt one of the most beautiful horses I've ever seen-though I'm sure that watching him onscreen could not even compare to seeing his magnificence for real. Nevertheless, he will live on through his portrayal of Shadowfax in the LotR films-Rest in peace Blanco.

The storyteller, who seemed not to have a proper name as other men do, was a thoroughly disreputable old man. The knees of his hose were patched and his mismatched shoes were out at the toes. His long-sleeved woolen tunic was belted about the waist with a piece of rope, and his hood, a curious garment not normally worn in that part of Sendaria and one which Garion thought quite fine with its loosely fitting yoke covering shoulders, back and chest, was spotted and soiled with spilled food and drink. Only his full cloak seemed relatively new. The old storyteller's white hair was cropped quite close, as was his beard. His face was strong, with a kind of angularity to it, and his features provided no clue to his background. He did not resemble Arend, Cherek, Algar, Drasnian, Rivan or Tolnedran, but seemed rather to derive from some racial stock long since forgotten. His eyes were a deep and merry blue, forever young and forever full of mischief.

The Grey Elf
Grey Havens

Apr 7 2014, 2:16pm

Post #9 of 21 (221 views)
I am grateful [In reply to] Can't Post

that Cynthia was able to stay with her beloved Blanco to the end. What a brave and loving woman. What a special horse.


You are what you read.


Apr 7 2014, 3:01pm

Post #10 of 21 (218 views)
I am heartened by the love between you two. [In reply to] Can't Post

It is lifting to me, as I am sure it is for all. I wish you all peace, for he lived well, and in the end, was loved by so many.
As we send him off with our love, may he as we speak, be running free across wild grasslands as far as he can see, with the wind rushing through his mane upon a beautiful morning :).

" 'Fair lady Goldberry!' said Frodo at last, feeling his heart move with a joy that he did not understand. He stood as he had at times stood enchanted by fair elven-voices; but the spell that was now laid upon him was different: less keen and lofty was the delight, but deeper and nearer to mortal heart; marvellous and yet not strange."

Chapter VII: In the House of Tom Bombadil; FOTR's

Faerie contains many things besides elves and fays and besides dwarfs, witches, trolls, giants or dragons; it holds the seas, the sun, the moon, the sky; and the earth, and all things that are one in it: tree and bird, water and stone, wine and bread, and ourselves, mortal men, when we are enchanted."
— J.R.R. Tolkien


Apr 7 2014, 3:59pm

Post #11 of 21 (209 views)
Very sad news [In reply to] Can't Post

I had the privilege of seeing Blanco in person, when Cynthia was doing a tour and stopped in my home province of Nova Scotia, in Canada. I took my wife and (then) 2 kids at the time, and we really enjoyed seeing him.

It's obvious that Cynthia took care of him as well as any horse owner could, and for that I'm grateful.

I will have to break the bad news to my kids today. We'll go back and look at our photos to remember him.

RIP Blanco.

Dame Ioreth
Tol Eressea

Apr 7 2014, 5:26pm

Post #12 of 21 (207 views)
I wonder if Sir Ian knows [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't know if it was great acting on the part of both of them but to me there looked to be a real connection between them. This was one of the most beautiful scenes of the LOTR trilogy. Gandalf the White reunited with Shadowfax

Rest easy, Blanco.

Where there's life there's hope, and need of vittles.
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings


Apr 7 2014, 5:36pm

Post #13 of 21 (201 views)
RIP Blanco... [In reply to] Can't Post


he was a magnificent steed, and I shall remember him always. Surely he was one of the Mearas.

Yes, he certainly was one of the Mearas. Tyler in his Companion says that he was “chief of the Mearas, Prince of Horses..”. And Foster in his Guide says that he “. . .was the greatest horse of Rohan at the time of the WR.”
Certainly Mandos has a special place for the animals of LOTR where they can run free and unbounded.

The tears fall freely at the loss of a pet as like to a family member. Condolences.

Contact Messrs. Grubb, Grubb, and Burrowes.
Hole #14, Bywater Pool Road

(This post was edited by Bracegirdle on Apr 7 2014, 5:38pm)


Apr 7 2014, 7:21pm

Post #14 of 21 (193 views)
Very sad to hear... [In reply to] Can't Post

The bond between Blanco and Cynthia is incredibly uplifting. My thoughts go out to the family, trainers and everyone else who had the pleasure of interacting with him. I'll be thinking of him, roaming the plains of Rohan and elsewhere. The image of Shadowfax riding to Gandalf has, and will stick with me for a long, long time.

Rest in peace, Blanco.


Apr 7 2014, 8:00pm

Post #15 of 21 (191 views)
Also come to think of Domero [In reply to] Can't Post

Now both Shadowfaxes are gone. Domero passed away in 2003/2004 didn't he? I was sure the horse running up to Gandalf when he whistled wasn't Blanco, but Domero (because of the blackness on the front. I don't know this for sure though, but I thought I read it somewhere?). Either way they were both stunning animals.

Blanco is after all the horse running up those streets of Minas Tirith in that amazing scene. Heart

(This post was edited by CathrineB on Apr 7 2014, 8:01pm)


Apr 8 2014, 3:45pm

Post #16 of 21 (148 views)
So sad. But forever on film../ [In reply to] Can't Post


Permanent address: Into the West


Apr 8 2014, 10:44pm

Post #17 of 21 (135 views)
I saw this on Facebook Sunday night [In reply to] Can't Post

and spent the rest of the evening in tears. I could not believe it. Rest peacefully my friend. We shall not forget you.


Apr 10 2014, 4:54pm

Post #18 of 21 (120 views)
So true [In reply to] Can't Post

Does any one know how old he was?


Apr 10 2014, 11:43pm

Post #19 of 21 (115 views)
24 or 25 [In reply to] Can't Post

I think Blanco was like 24 or 25 years old, born in 1989 I read somewhere. The average life span for horses (depending on breeds etc though) is 25-30 so he was a good age. Could have been older, but it's a good long life for a horse at least.

Grey Havens

Apr 11 2014, 11:08am

Post #20 of 21 (104 views)
So sad. [In reply to] Can't Post

I read that story with tears streaming. I know too well the grief of losing a beloved horse. Blanco was stunningly beautiful and intelligent -- such a pleasure to watch onscreen. I'm glad he's given us that legacy. I'm very touched by Cynthia's devotion and commitment to giving him the very best of care; I wish all horses could be so very lucky. The cost of loving such a special animal, and having such a close connection to them, is the grief we're left with when they must pass where we can't follow. My heartfelt condolences to Cynthia, and a thank-you for sharing such a difficult story.


Apr 12 2014, 10:02pm

Post #21 of 21 (84 views)
My sister grieves [In reply to] Can't Post

Evil. This is my sister-
Like so many others, I read this story with tears streaming forth. I love horses so very much. Although, I have not owned one, I can only imagine what it is to lose such a dear friend. I will experience this one day in my life, and I know for weeks....months.... Years, even: maybe, would I grieve if I lost a loving companion or horse such as this. My heart goes out to Blanco, and may he wonder in peace in The Undying Lands. (And Domero, too.) Heart Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do, when someone that close to our Heart leaves this world, that is.


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