LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - To some Cowboy fans, the game will be much different on Saturday. The Mystery Rider and Moondancer will no longer take the field this season. Moondancer passed away last week.
"We were saddened. I think Moondancer has come a long way since 2007 and its first year there," said Ryan Ivey.
Owner Jack Hebert says Moondancer died because he had eaten a toxic blister beetle which was in his hay.
"We were devastated because he was a good horse, he was healthy. We had a horse that was sick in the barn and the farm manager went to check on the horses at midnight. She checked in the stall and everything was ok. We woke up the next morning to check on the horses and he was dead in the stall," said Jack Hebert.
Since 2007, Moondancer and the Mystery Rider took the field every pre game at Cowboy home football games. It was growing tradition that started from the cowboy statue on the campus of McNeese.
"That statue comes to life every Saturday. It really is a way for people to understand this mystery rider is watching you, making sure you are a cowboy fan, and your there supporting your football team," said Ivey.
Even though Moondancer is gone, Hebert and McNeese State plan to continue the tradition. Moondancer 2 will take the field next season.
"I don't think he's quite the Moondancer; I think there's only one Moondancer, but this is going to be a great horse. He's big, strong, and got a great personality," said Hebert.
Moondancer two will try to take place of the original Moondancer. It will take a lot of training, but they feel his qualities will live up to the task.
"We hope to have him ready as Moondancer two at McNeese next year. We're going to try and keep the tradition going and see if we can grow this," said Hebert.
The Cowboys were 13-3 at home with Moondancer at Cowboy Stadium. They hope Moondancer two can bring more luck for Cowboys' wins next season.