ESCONDIDO — Faith, family, friends and horses.
Or was it faith, horses, family and friends?
Those touched by the life of Diana Cavender couldn’t tell whether she cared more for horses or the people close to her. More than 100 friends and family came together Thursday at City Hall to remember the vivacious woman who was tragically killed Saturday when she was thrown from her horse.
Cavander, 52, was a six-year veteran of the Escondido Mounted Posse when her horse was spooked and she struck her head on the ground during the Lakeside Western Days Parade.
Her funeral will be at 5 p.m. May 6 at Emmanuel Faith Community Church, 639 E. 17th Ave.
“There aren’t words to convey what happened,” Escondido police chaplain Gunner Hansen said.
Her mother, Betty, and husband Joseph Manrique spoke during the service and each said Diana Cavender had a special connection with the animals she trained and rode and the people she crossed paths.
“She was a daughter anyone would want,” her mother said. “She was the love of my life.”
Betty Cavander spoke of her daughter’s love of numbers as she started her own tax business after stints with H&R Block and an IRS agent. Diana Cavander graduated from San Diego State University with a teaching degree, her mother said.
Her husband recounted their wedding day, which took place three years ago on his ranch in Arizona, after they met in the posse. The couple gave their vows mounted on their horses.
“She could touch anybody’s heart,” Manrique said. “Her ultimate goal was to create the perfect horse. Her way of life was the Western Way.”
A number of friends and tax clients spoke about Cavander’s radiating personality and her ability to connect on a deeper level. Friends also spoke of her athleticism, which went from riding horses, ping pong to the soccer field where she played at Escondido High School.
While her faith was Cavander’s top priority in her life, friends recalled how she never pushed her beliefs on others, instead letting those to decide when to broach the subject. Regardless of her friend’s religious nomination, Cavander was accepting regardless.