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News came on January 22, 2010, that our dear friend Donna Hecht had lost her valiant battle for life.
Donna was everyone's Friend, everyone's "Angel", everyone's "Go-To" Person.
In her professional life, she shared the business she and her husband owned, a business Jay had started of auto and refrigerant parts that grew to be one of the top suppliers in the nation. She was the "people person" in the office, while Jay was the "numbers man". She knew everyone in the office, their stories, their worries, their successes. Jay knew every part number of every model that, it seemed had been produced since part numbers were invented. They were a facinating couple... spending day and night together, sharing business and pleasure, parts and horses.
In Donna's personal professional life, she was the founder of JDON Farms, based in Somis, California. Donna was known for producing exceptional quality horses that were sold around the world. She took her horses to competitions and was a consistant winner in the show ring. She took her horses to exhibitions and parades, to demonstrations and seminars. She opened her farm to seminars, clinics, and gatherings for the Pure Spanish Horse, for youth programs, for charities. She was generous not only with her time and financial resources, but with her energies as well. Donna served many years as a board member and president of the International Andalusian and Lusitano Horse Association.
Her next great quest was as one of the founders of The Foundation for the Pure Spanish Horse in 2000. She was a generous patron, a benevolent leader, a savvy businesswoman. She was far-sighted, thinking well past the question under discussion, intuitively seeing how it would impact the future. She led with kindness and humor and brought many new friends to the P.R.E. as well as to The Foundation. She was instrumental in opening the door to bring international artists and clinicians to the States. She "found" many new and interesting ways to learn about the breed, to keep the learning interesting, to have fun. She wanted the horses to serve not only as a beautiful object, but to be the base of deep and lasting friendships.
Everyone has stories of how Donna helped them. How Donna encouraged them. How Donna made a difference in their lives. She will live on, certainly, in the fame of her horses and her contributions to the future of the breed, but her greatest contribution was to bring together with her bubbling laughter the disparate parts of the horse world. She was a friend, an icon, and now truly our angel.
Rest in peace, dear friend. We know that you are with your beloved Jay, your sweet "P", and some of your favorite senior horses. We selfishly mourn our loss, but know that you are still smiling, if not laughing, with us as we continue your life's work for the Pure Spanish Horse.
If you would like to send your condolences, please send them to The Foundation Office, and we will see that they are delivered to Steve Bell who, for these last years, was her guardian angel and closest friend.