In loving memory
This page is just a place to remember, tell a life changing story, a place to release some of the sorrow for the horses that have captured our hearts, expanded our souls, brought our spirits to a new level of life experiences and helped us to touch our hearts and souls to their true destinies.
If you have a story you want to tell, send your pictures and story to email@example.com
The Knot-A-Tail staff is very moved from your stories and your courage.
You have suffered great tragedies.
For all the losses that horse lovers have endured and have shared with us on our memorial page, Knot-A-Tail is going to make a $1.00 donation to our local horse rescue service here is Mesa.
Your story will help save another horse's life.
You have moved us beyond comparison.
We just wanted to find a way to honor the horses that have given us so much.
Hugs and a great big Whinny
Roberta and Staff.
Send your stories and picture to firstname.lastname@example.org
Don't Cry For The Horses
Don't cry for the horses that life has set free.
A million white horses, forever to be.
Don't cry for the horses now in God's hands.
...As they dance and prance to a heavenly band.
They were ours as a gift, but never to keep
As they close their eyes, forever to sleep.
Their spirits unbound, forever to fly.
A million white horses, against the blue sky.
Look up into Heaven. You will see them above.
The horse we lost, the horse we loved.
Manes and tails flying, they gallop through time.
They were never your, they were never mine.
Don't cry for the horses, they will be back someday.
When our time has come, they will show us the way.
Do you hear that soft nicker close to your ear?
Don't cry for the horses, love the ones that are here.
For SoSo Whaley and Zephyr's
With great love and the upmost respect of a great horse and horse woman. May your tears turn to wonderful memories.
Roberta and staff
The silent moments
In loving memory of Charlie and Blue
© roberta edstrom
I do not feel I can face these moments alone.
Whenever, I think of of you
My heart, endlessly emerges in deep sorrow
and completely stands stills in the silence
and I ache to hear a whinny from you.
A breath won't gone, and I am so empty
It was more than all the rides,
more than a nicker that called my name.
It was the love within your eyes
It was in the silence when two souls combine,
that captured my heart and you forever made you mine
I still hear you whinny in the silence of the night
your halter hangs, and will remain,
right there within my sight.
I often imagine you happy and young
endless fields of spender with other past loves
you loop, play and all day you run
Make sure, when my times comes
I will be there, right along side of you
Our spirits, together again as one
We will ride across the heavens
Leave hoof prints across the moon,
United, we will ride straight into the morning sun.
As I saved the horse, I saved myself
Here is a picture of my horse whom has been passed away for almost 10yrs.
I bought him when I was 12 yrs old (which I delievered papers so I could buy him) and he got cancer when I was 15 and I had to put him down. When I bought him I actually wasn't going to look at him.
But when I found out he was gonna to be slaughted because he was a 19yrs old retired race horse. I fell in love and decided I had to save him.
He was my first love!
My horse tattoo.
Sadar, my beautiful Arabian gelding,
Sadar, my beautiful Arabian gelding, was my best friend for over 20 years.
I learned how to ride on an old cow pony, and I learned how to really ride on Sadar. He and I were one spirit... Never was a closer bond between a girl and her horse. He saw me from childhood to womanhood.
In 2005, Sadar suffered a massive strangulated intestine and had to be put down. I was crushed, and still miss him every day.
I wrote this poem for him shortly after he died, and tattooed the image on the poem (a floating Sadar) over my heart.
Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn's rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush of birds in flight.
I am the stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there, I did not die...
The dreams of my childhood.
Back in the 1960's, don't laugh at how old I am, is when I got my first horse.
I had begged and pleaded for a horse to ride every day. I would ride anything that even somewhat resembled a horse, including the railing on the front porch of our house. I would watch My friend Flicka every Saturday morning and Bonanza on every Sunday evenings just to see all the horse and dream of one of them being mine. It is the only present that I every ask for on my birthday and Christmas.
We were extremely poor so buying a horse was not very high on the priority list, but the neighbor, Sherman Peterson, had horses. Sherman saw how much I loved them. I would go to visit his horses every chance I got. Sometimes, he would even take me for a ride. It was Sherman, that brought to our house one Easter Sunday afternoon a rich dark bay Welsh pony that we named Ginger.
She was a beauty. Long and lean with a large white blaze and two white hind stockings. Her body was a deep rich reddish brown with lots on Black highlights. To me, she was the prettiest horse on the face of the earth. She was the sweetest thing
Although he brought her for the family, I considered her mine. I rode her everywhere. I never even owned a saddle, just jumped on and went for a ride. Nothing else mattered, just another day that brought me the chance to be with her and ride. To explore the world from the back of a horse was all I ever dreamed about.
Within a few years, my sister bought herself a mare called Chesty. We rode all over the entire neighborhood, sometimes for the entire day. Our fencing was not the greatest, and one night the horses got lose and made their way to the highway.
It was early in the morning when everyone was still in bed when I heard the phone ring and my dad answered it. I heard him ask which one got hit. I through on some clothes and started running down the mile long dirt road towards the highway.
I can still to this day feel the terror that was running through my mind, my heart beating so fast that I could hardly breath and I can still feel the coldness of the tears running down my face. My dad passed me in the truck as he continued toward the highway, yelling at me to go home. I continued for the highway, I was early winter and it was extremely cold outside.
I froze in my tracks, my knees buckled and I fell to the ground as I heard the fire from a rifle. It was just one shot but a shot that I can still hear to this day.
To my little Ginger, with love
Rusty runs the poles in Heaven
My 13 year old daughter Lexi inspired me to write this comment. We put her really special pole horse Rusty down 2 weeks ago because cancer had eaten away at him in the last 3 months. Instead of being all sad and crying she told me it was too hard watching him go down hill and not be able to run poles. We took him and had him put to sleep, and she was so sweet and loving till the end. Lesson learned from a child.
The one that I will never forget
My 19 yo mare "Lady", arthritis was so bad--I tried everything, until I could see it was MY not wanting to loose HER that was wrong. She is buried in the woods now and I miss her every day,but I still talk to her. I got her-- as kind of a rescue--only had her 2 years but she was the "Best" and the one I'll never forget. I loved going into the barn ... every morning, or going to the pasture to see her---she always had that soft nicker for me. I have other horses--none of them have that "nicker". Sure miss my"Lady". I have high hopes that she, along with some other cherished pets will be waiting at the "Rainbow Bridge" when it's my time to cross over----
Outside my window.
Inside my house,
there is one room full of sunlight
and plants and candles and books.
It is a cozy, warm room and
I deeply inhale all of the smells in it
that remind me of the good things in my life.
There is a small riding helmet there on a table,
carelessly laying on its side, ground in
dirt forever mixed with what used to
be pristine black velvet, there from
endless falls off a stubborn gelding.
Next to that, sits a short unraveled crop.
Smiling, my fingers gently brush against these things that remind me of all the good
things in my past.
On the floor, there is a pair of
knee high rubber riding boots that will
never fit again. Next to them are
new boots which I hope will be broken in before
i know it. Tacked on the wall above them are a pair of
worn out riding gloves on which still linger the
smell of all the horses they have
rubbed, and above that, pinned to the wall, a cowboy hat
someone gave me by mistake.
Every time i enter or leave this special room
i am so thankful for all these things that have brought such
joy into my life.
From the window that fills this room with warming sunlight I stand,
smelling the candles and plants and books,
and most of all, the lingering scent of horses.
I pretend with eyes that can no longer see,
the vision of an endless white fence, past which I can hear the whinny of the horse,
whose smell covers my gloves and dirtied my boots, who is waiting for me.
I pray she knows how much happiness she has brought into my life.
As my memory gazes at that special mare with the unruly mane that never fell quite right,
who reminds me of all that was good in my life, all that is special in my life,
and most of all, with her breath blowing so softly against my cheek, all that is still to come in my life. Among all the wistful wishes, she alone reminds me of the true meaning of gentle, unconditional love, that one special love you can only share with your horse.
And our special history together keeps me seeing all the good things in our past
and present, and let's me know, with that promise of unconditional love, that she will gently guide me though whatever is to come, helping me share in our future together, one, which for me, would otherwise, heart and soul, be so blind...
©2010 Barbara L. Moseley
To Love a Horse
To love a horse means never sleeping in again on weekends
To love a horse means sleepless nights wondering if the barn is warm enough
To love a horse is to love unselfishly and unconditionally, because to be loved by a horse means the same.
To love a horse means to trust no matter what
To love a horse means giving up that new pair of designer shoes for two pairs of iron ones
To love a horse is to be free from judgment
To love a horse is to have a best friend and a shoulder to cry on all hours of the night
To love a horse is to be carried that extra mile when you feel you can’t take another step on your own
To love a horse means having that earthy smell and loving it
To love a horse means hair, hay and shavings as your permanent wardrobe accessory
To love a horse is to feel the heart of God and know his love through this majestic gift
To love a horse is feeling your heart beat to the same rhythm as your horse’s hoof beats
To love a horse is getting up after a fall and trying again
To love a horse is finding peace in a warm nuzzle and a soft breath on your cheek
To love a horse is knowing there will always be a warm welcome when you enter the barn, especially if you have carrots
To love a horse means letting go when it’s time
To love a horse means having hoof prints on your heart and soul forever
To love a horse is talking about manure and not getting grossed out
To love a horse is having happy hour at the barn and never needing alcohol
To love a horse is to dance your heart out and never worry that your horse will laugh at you
To love a horse is to have the experience of your life and know you’ve found real life to experience
To love a horse is learning to forgive and be forgiven Of all the things to be thankful for,
I’m thankful I was given the chance to love a horse.
In Memory of my beloved Saddlebred
Show Time Supreme aka Mooch October 30, 2009
The Heart of One Horse
In Loving Memory of Cy (1973-2008)
Thirty-five years of loyalty, trust and love
On the Wings of an Angel you went to Horse Heaven above
Through the years, in your mane I’d braided my tears
I whispered my hopes, dreams and secrets into your ears
My beloved Cy, I shouldered the burden of deciding “it’s time”
My heart is heavy, but somehow I know you are fine.
Your coat that was dappled in grey
Once again shimmers with yellow and red, your true Bay
Your body that was weak is strong again
I find comfort in knowing you’re young again.
My loyal companion, your spirit lives on
I feel your presence in the gentle breeze
The warmth of the sun is a touch of your soft velvet muzzle
When a storm brews and sounds of thunder are near
It’s your playful galloping hooves I hear
The falling rain brings tears of joy
And although I miss my faithful friend, my beloved boy
In Heaven’s pastures is where you now gracefully roam
You drink from crystal cool brooks; you quietly graze where sweet grasses grow
When “it’s time” for me to leave our home, Meadow Wind Farm
The Rainbow Bridge is where I’ll go
For by the love that guides my creative pen
My beloved steed, We WILL MEET AGAIN
Then with clouds at your feet, we’ll gallop through Heaven’s trails
Yes, my friend, we will be together.. this time ~forever~ again.
(My beautiful bay mare)
You were mine for so short a time,
but in that time you were so dear
You were my partner, and my friend
My beautiful bay mare
January dawned, so cold and wet
Down in your stall, I found you there
Your pain-wracked eyes I'll not forget
My beautiful bay mare
Colic took you away from me
It came so swift, so painfully
and you did not go gentle into that good night
My beautiful bay mare
I held your head, I kissed your cheek
and through the pain your eyes met mine
and I KNOW you said goodbye to me
My beautiful bay mare
For 2 short years, we raced the wind
You helped my spirit to be free
Are you free now, my Arab horse?
My beautiful bay mare
Do you run the fields of another world now
With your unborn foal at your side?
Does your fire still burn bright, somewhere?
Goodbye, my beautiful bay mare
With tears, and in loving memory of my first Arabian
"Barrios Belle"- Natasha, and her lost foal
Good-Bye Lady Wildfire
I bought a gray mare.
In 2009, 22 years later,
I told her Good-bye.
In all those years, she never let me down. I always said that when the going got tough, Lady always took charge.
Endurance Rides, Timed Events, English Huntseat, Trail Rides that challenged even the best of riders/horses,
she was always there, giving 110%
When Amber needed an English Huntseat Contender, I loaned her Lady.
When she wanted to run barrels, & we couldn’t afford another horse, I loaned her Lady
At the age of 28, she went Team Penning for the first time. At the age of 29, she entered a Trail Competition.
Lady wasn’t a perfect horse. I had tried to get her bred several times, down thru the years, with different studs, to no avail. And, she was always hard to catch and I endured many jokes down thru the years over it.
She had to wear a halter all the time, in order to catch her. Even then, sometimes I had to trick her.
And, she was not one to stand around. When you got on, you needed to be ready to ride.
I always said that if I was going to have to peddle, I’d ride a bicycle. You didn’t have to peddle Lady. And you best leave the spurs at home! I could probably count on one hand how many different people had ridden her thru the years. She was a one woman, one daughter horse.
She was one of those horses, that if I couldn’t ride her, I didn’t care to go. One guy once called her a Cadillac among horses.
I refused to say she had a mind of her own, instead, I’d always say she just liked to think for herself!!
I’ve known for a while that I was going to have to replace her, but just couldn’t get around to doing it. I had named several horses that were going to be my new trail horse, only to sell them, and do nothing about it.
I think she knew that I couldn‘t be the one to end what we had.
On Wednesday, I took her halter off and told her she was officially retired and could do what she wanted to do from now on.
On Friday, Jamie took my new horse to his round pen and rode her to see if she would be safe for an old Grandmother to ride. She did great, I had a new riding horse!
Friday evening, Lady ate her supper. Saturday morning, she was gone.
She did me good, right up to the end. She knew I would never be able to make the dreaded decision to let her go.
The time had come, the going had gotten tough, and once again, Lady took charge.
Lady Wildfire 1980-2009
My love for 25 years
I was the lucky owner of Dee Dee for 25 years and she never let me down in any situation. She went anywhere and everywhere I asked her too and did whatever needed to be done, never refusing me at anything. Rode english, western and was just a honest, hard working mare. She was brave and bold and so much fun to ride. Cattle work on her was a blast, when trail riding she was a Cadillac and had the fastest running walk I ever saw. She loved going swimming, loved kids and babies of any kind, often adopting and protecting them. She was gentle and sweet with youngsters on her but adults knew they would get a fun ride.
When she was 28, I sent her to a friends place to retire in her pasture of weanilings to be their aunty. She loved it and loved them. She would guide them home at night and wouldn't allow any to stray or wander. Sept. 08, the gal who had been caring for her, called me and said Delia seemed a little off, she was laying down in the straw in the pole barn with her blind old Shetland buddy and just wasn't acting like herself. In the morning though she seemed fine and went out into the pasture with her herd of about 30 weanlings and the two ponies, was grazing with them calmly all day. That night they found her, and she was laying there like she'd just gone to sleep with her friends gathered around her, and she was gone. I'm so happy she had this last time in her life with the babies she loved and the little blind pony who she had adopted.
She was my soul sister and it was so heartbreaking to lose her. I will never forget her.
Michelle Hoyt (N.D)
I just found out I was pregnant with my second child. We didn't have anything to do on a Saturday afternoon so we went to a registered sale just to see what was going on. Didn't bother to take a trailer, because we weren't looking to buy. However, we strolled through the lot of Quarter Horses and this one sorrel mare whinnied at me. Oh she was a looker! She was as thick as an oak tree, solid, very nicely put together. I walked over to the fence, she met me at the gate. This nice 5 year old mare nuzzled me as if we had known each other for years. It was at that moment, I knew she was coming home with us. We found out a little more about her - she was born & raised on an a working ranch in southern Oklahoma. The owner was selling her and several other head. I was so nervous when she came into the sale ring. The seller climbed on her back, and with just a hay string around her neck, she planted her rear foot and spun around just like a reining horse. It was between us and another seller, bidding kept getting higher and higher, but I punched my husband one last time, SOLD! I let out a loud wooohoooo and then suddenly realized ... we had to drive 2 hours back home to go get our trailer. Isn't that the way it always is? Her name was Dolly.
Dolly and I bonded closely over the next few months, I couldn't walk outside without her coming up to the fence. As soon as our daughter was born, within 2 weeks, I was riding this nice mare. Oh she was nice and had such an awsome handle on her. She turned out to be the "horse of a lifetime".
I have pictures of her, with a haystring around her neck, babysitting our now 3 year old daughter as she walked ever-so-gently around the house and the yard. She took our daughter to her first championship queen contest at the age of 3. She won the leadline championship with her.
I was able to ride her in Professional Rodeo performances, and my now 5 year old daughter would come riding her in slack performances as an exhibition. She thought she was "big time" on that big ole mare. Smile.
Over the next 17 years, she took me to too many to count barrel racing and timed event championships, as well as all around and performance championships, as well as taking our daughter to District, State and Regional Championships in 4-H competition. She was just tough to beat in everything. She ran the same pattern every time, and the more she competed, the more she loved it. She also carried me many miles and worked patiently doing anything I asked of her while we worked as a Mounted Patrol Horse for our Sheriff's Department.
Our last year together, we won 2 All Around Championships and the High Point Overall Performance and Timed Event Championship in several different associations. In November, 2001, I picked out a very nice monogrammed body blanket for our year end award. Little did I know - she would never wear it.
On the day after Christmas, 2002, I walked out to the barn about 5:30 to feed. Our 12 head of horses came running to my whistle - they felt good - ripping, romping, twisting and bucking. Everybody went in their own stalls and started munching. Dolly went in her stall, but came back out, and didn't bother to eat. She came to get me, and laid down in front of me. This was so out of character for her, I immediately knew something was not right. I got her up, she walked back in her stall, but immediately came out again and proceeded to try to roll. Just 2 minutes before while running, ripping, bucking and snorting across our pasture, she had twisted.
We tried and tried to save her, but to no avail. I had to make the most painful decision of my life, to put my best friend, my heart, my confidant, of nearly 18 years, to rest. I was alone at the vet with terrible cell phone service. As we gave her the injection in the trailer, I fell to my knees and thanked God for giving me the privilege of owning the "horse of a lifetime". I wept tears for nearly an hour in her mane, laying next to her in the trailer. I closed the door to the trailer and slowly headed home, sobbing every inch of the way. About 1/2 way home, I met my husband and our daughter . We all stood there hugging each other on the shoulder of the highway, remembering what wonderful memories Dolly gave us during the prior 18 years.
We brought her home and buried her underneath the 100 year old oak tree that she always stood under. She has a forever home in Heaven, and I know that whenever I reach those Pearly Gates, my sweet Dolly will be there again, with that sweet whinny and a muzzle nuzzle.
She will always and forever be, my best friend, my heart, my confidant. Rest in peace my sweet girl - I'll always love you and I look forward to seeing you again one day.
Hi, Roberta - here is one of my stories.
I won't say enjoy, but I will say thanks for an outlet.
Princess was a little shetland pony. She was brown in her younger years, but by the time my sister & I had her, she was old pony grey. I could never get any help to saddle or bridle her, so I just tied a bale rope to her halter and climbed on.
We trail rode all summer long, in our little field, over to the lake, the apple orchard, the forests - through ponds & lakes & streams. I spent countless hours laying on her back while she grazed in the meadow by the apples, counting the daisies & dandelions, watching bumblebees amble past.
We spent years like this, and then, we had to move. Dad's business took us away from the farm, and we could no longer care for her on a daily basis. It was more than my grandfather was willing to do at the time, due to his health, so we gave her to a family member with smaller kids. I thought she would be fine, and I could even go visit her from time to time.
I will never forget, they had her for about 6 months when I went to see her. They had not bothered to have her feet trimmed. She could hardly walk. The kids had been mean to her - she was nippy now. When she went down, they called us for advice of what to do. 'How long has she been down?' I heard my mom ask.
After a break of silence, her shoulders slumped. With her voice somber and low, she answered quietly into the phone "There's not much you can do at this point. You'll have to call the vet and have her put down." She had been down for 4 days. She had already given up. I had school the next day. I was in 3rd grade.
I never got to say goodbye, and I never have been able to forgive the people that let her suffer so badly in her last year or so. They blamed her arthritis for why they didn't trim her feet in the whole time they had her. They said they didn't realize that she had been down for so long, even though she hadn't eaten anything in days.
They blamed her for their neglect. I think of her still, when I ride through a field in the summer, or when I lay on my horses' back letting her graze in the sun. I think of her when I watch my son sit next to his old pony's head while he eats his bran mash, knowing that he will never have to worry about his old friend suffering.
The Rainbow Bridge
Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet
goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special
friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water
and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals that had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor.
Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we
remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy
and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special
to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent.
His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again.
The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....
(There is SO much more to her story, and Rusty's story...but the pain is to fresh for me to write it)
On Valentine’s Day 1998 my life changed forever… it was the day that Little Bit of a Bonus and I began our journey together. I had never been so excited, and nervous, in my life! I had always dreamed of owning a horse – but circumstances never allowed it until that wonderful day.
Little Bit was a gorgeous 16.3 hand, sorrel, 8 year old Tennessee Walker gelding who had a look that took my breath away. He rode like a dream and was instrumental in helping me recover from a severe auto accident two years before. As soon as the doctors had released me and the attorneys had finalized the law suits… I bought Little Bit and another horse for my daughter and myself.
Due to my injuries, I wasn’t able to saddle him myself and had to use a stool to get on him, but when I did, his rocking walk and the enjoyment of being with him eventually helped release muscles that had been in spasms for years. In the process of working and caring for him, I was able to gradually achieve things that physical therapy was never able to accomplish. His presence made the unrelenting pain go away and gave me a sense of peace I had never felt in my entire 38 years!
When LB and I came together, I didn’t know very much about horse-keeping, but he patiently taught me everything I could ever need – particularly patience. That’s not to say we didn’t have our moments… in fact there were quite a few because we both had a lot to learn! We discovered that he did not like the show environment… and could throw quite a tantrum until he came home. BUT he excelled and thoroughly enjoyed trail and beach riding – in fact – we both did. He would plow through anything, always with that soothing running walk and enthusiasm. We quickly discovered that this is what we were meant to do together and found other horses to take into the show ring. He never minded, in fact, he enjoyed the fact that I kept adding to the herd!
When my daughter became seriously ill, he was my comfort. When I became chronically ill, he became my inspiration. When I got a divorce, he was my salvation. When I was able to finally buy property in the country (for him), I couldn’t stop crying tears of joy when first explored his new home. Even four years later, I still tear up when I think of how much that moment meant to me.
Little Bit was the ‘love of my life’ and everyone knew it! We had a bond that transcended everything. Even my husband and daughter joked that I loved him best. (I never denied it, either!) I rarely stepped outside the house without him being aware of it and most nights I went to sleep with him dozing in the pasture just 8 feet from my bedroom window. There were times when I didn’t ride him for extended periods of time… but he was always reliable and perfectly behaved.
Although we had eight horses, he was always the spoiled one. He came into the yard to get treats or just ‘hang out’ while I worked on flower beds or read. We didn’t have to ride to be together… we just were. He was my ‘baby’.
He had his best friends in the pasture, but it was obvious that I was his favorite. When he heard my voice, he’d come up to one of the gates, give me that low rumbling sound he reserved solely for me and that would brighten my day. In fact, my day didn’t start until I saw him and we said hello. Then he would ‘insist’ on coming into the yard… just because he was special!
Several years ago he had an ‘episode’ while he was still in a boarding facility and someone burned a great deal of old, moldy hay. This caused him to have something similar to a severe asthma attack. After that – I watched him like a hawk and stepped-up my efforts to find property so he would never be at risk like that again. Caring for him became one of my top priorities – regardless of what else was going on in my life. As a result, he was able to get past most of the respiratory problems and thrived for another six years.
This past September, he began to have some stomach problems and we were able to stop them just as quickly as they came on. He was checked-out by the vet, we changed his feed and his feeding patterns and I rescheduled my life so that he could be cared for. The problems didn’t happen often, but every couple weeks, he might start feeling bad and laying down after his evening meal.
Because of my concern with his health, I started studying energy healing, and as a result learned Reiki. This helped him tremendously and he thoroughly enjoyed the times that I would do this for him. We became even closer as we worked together to combat this problem, in spite of one of the harshest winters on record for our part of the country. But we fought hard – together!
Every morning I woke up and looked for him. As soon as we spotted each other, he’d run over to me, with his ‘special voice’ and I’d thank God for one more day. Little Bit was my world!
On Friday, February 12th, he started having some difficulty and we did all our usual treatments… Reiki, our special Pepto/Mylanta/mineral oil stuff, even a little Bantamine.
He perked-up, but was back down again on Saturday, so we went to the vet late that afternoon, where they discovered that he had a blockage in his cecum. They couldn’t determine if it was solid or mostly gas, so we started on fluids, muscle relaxers, the usual course of treatment.
No one at the clinic could believe that he was 21 years old – he looked more like he was about 14 or so! I couldn’t leave him that night, but knew that he was in excellent hands and that we both needed to get some rest. The vet was instructed to do whatever was necessary to save him and to call me if there were any problems or concerns and my husband and I went home.
The next day was Valentine’s Day… and our 12th anniversary together. I went back to the clinic and spent the afternoon with him. We went out in their pasture and he dragged me all over the place, looking for the perfect grass to eat! He was in an excellent mood, hadn’t had any pain medication all day and looked great. He still hadn’t passed much since his trailer ride, but he didn’t appear to be in distress, his vitals were all excellent and he had the appearance of well-being.
After several hours of being together, I reluctantly came home, after seeing him begin to pass solids. We even left the trailer hooked-up because we expected him to come home on Monday.
Unfortunately I was awakened on Monday with an early call that his intestines had ruptured in the early morning hours and that the vet was keeping him comfortable. I didn’t know what to do – but managed to get to get dressed, unhook the trailer and get to the clinic within record time.
When I arrived, he was laying on his side, breathing heavily and obviously in distress, but peaceful. I sat down next to him and he immediately laid his head in my lap. We talked about our love for each other and how much he meant to me, but that I knew that it was his time to go. I asked permission to cut his bridle path and some of his tail, then I gave him a lock of my hair in exchange. The majority of the time, he kept his head in my lap – although it was an awkward position for him. One time he got up to see what was going on (always nosey), called-out to the other horses, then came back and laid down next to me.
After my husband arrived, it was time. We went into the clinic’s recovery room to say our final goodbye. During the entire process, I held his head, constantly stroking his face and telling him how much I loved him. There was no way that I was going to let him go through this process alone. I held it together until he was gone, the last thing I wanted to do was to upset him when he needed me the most.
I stayed with him for a while, then it was time to head home… alone. I felt an overwhelming sense of loss, of emptiness, as though I had left part of my soul behind. I couldn’t stop crying, but knew that I needed to drive the 20 miles home safely, so I turned the radio on for distraction. Ironically, an older song that has a lot of meaning to me came on immediately.
From that moment on, I knew that I now have a guardian angel who will be there for me through anything… just like he was when he was here. Even in my moments of intense sadness at this loss, when my heart is breaking, I hear the gift of that song from him. This was his way of letting me know that he hasn’t gone too far and that he’ll be around keeping an eye on me, our family and his horse family. Little Bit was my world and he always will be.
and with a broken wing, she still sings.
She keeps her eye on the sky.
With her broken wing, she carries her dreams,
and you out to see her fly!
Teri Van Horn
The magic of majesty
My daughter was taking jumping lessons and she wanted a jumper. we had no money to buy a jumper but if i could find a good broodmare to breed to our stud horse we could raise one. so our hunt for a decent mare in my price range started. my daughter's teacher came to me one day and mentioned she had a horse that had injured itself in the pasture and been lame for six months. she didn't think it would get better and she was willing to sell it dirt cheap for a broodmare. i looked at the mare and agreed she was nicely put together. she was three quarters thoroughbred and one quarter morgan and gorgeous except for that sad awful limp in her one hind leg. she was introduced to me as maggie but when i got her home i looked at the noble way she stood with the look of eagles in her eye and said 'maggie! that's not the name for her. i think i'll call her majesty.'
she was bred to our quarterhorse stud who was a beautiful animal in his own right and a real prince of a stud with wonderful manners. we expected a good foal from the breeding. over the winter months i fussed and worried over this mare especially when she hurt her front leg on the same side as the injured hind. she really had to struggle to get up for a while there. but then as spring approached a small miracle became apparent. the limp disappeared...completely. my one son started clamboring around on her back in the barnyard and so i left him start to ride her on longer and longer rides on our trails. i figured his light weight would allow her to build up her strength without re-straining the tendons that had been affected.
then our 4-h horse club planned a trail ride in the nearby beautiful blue mountains north of our farm. my daughter and my one son and i would trailer our mounts to this event. my son was to ride majesty, i was going on my appaloosa mare, navajo's countessa and my daughter was to ride her gaming pony, prince. my husband was ferrying us all there. it would take two trips because we only had a two horse trailer.
we all arrived at the scene minus one horse,majesty. while we unloaded the other two horses and their gear and started to tack them up for the ride my husband went back for the third horse. it should have only taken about 1/2 hour or so. the other two horses were tacked and ready to go so we joined the other riders helping themselves to doughnuts and drinks. after everyone was done 'fressing' as we pa dutch call it we all headed for our horses to mount up and get into the queue for the trek up the mountain. only one problem...my son's horse still wasn't there. it was his first big trail ride and i saw the disappointment on his face. so i quickly swapped saddles and asked an adult friend to watch out for my kids and sent him out on my horse. as they left and the sounds of their hooves gradually faded i was the one feeling disappointment along with alarm...where the heck was my husband with that horse? had something bad happened?
i paced up and down along the road peering anxiously at the empty asphalt. twenty minutes crawled by before the truck suddenly hove into view with the trailer swaying on behind. 'where were you? what happened?''i blurted out even as i moved to unload the horse and my gear. 'the trailor had a flat tire.' he replied. 'i had to change it.' swiftly i moved to slap the saddle on the horse and slip the bit through her teeth. keep in mind i had never ridden this horse before, she was used to my son. i had no clue how she would do for me.
by now they were almost a half hour out. could we catch up? would she be ok on that leg with my weight? i swung into the saddle and turned her toward the lane which led to the mountain trail about 1/2 a mile away. i lifted the reins and without more than a thought passing through my head she flew...and i mean flew. the wind lifted my hair and i felt the power of her surge as we made short work of that stretch. as we entered the wooded trail i just sat up and she slowed immediately into a fast groundeating walk. fortunately it is fairly easy to track a large group of horses through soft loamy soil but i was so far behind. could i catch up to them?
within one hour i was passing the stragglers who were surprised and pleased to see i had made it after all. it wasn't very long before i was up at the front of the trail ride where i was reunited with my kids. by then i had fallen completely in love with this wonderful mare. my son on the other hand was pretty disgusted with my somewhat squirrely appy. i apologized for her behavior which did improve under my watchful eye.
that ride began a wonderful magical relationship with this horse. she became my mount of choice for the short trail rides at the farm and the long ones where we trailored our horses to many a gorgeous site. from there we would saddle up and ride in large groups for hours through woodlands and high along mountain ridges with sweeping views. she also was so in tune with me that i could use her to help settle a fractious horse or to assist in training a young one. she would stand patiently while i cleaned and trimmed low hanging branches from our home trails or in response to my mood would tear along a long field at top speed.
when i would go out to the pasture with halter in hand and whistle her head would sweep up and she would charge down in my direction. racing around me in tightening circles she would suddenly come to a sliding halt right before me and stick her head happily into the halter. one time we were riding with a group of friends and she shook her head at a fly and the one ear headstall of the bridle came down over her face. she could have just spit out the bit and been free of restraint but she obligingly tucked her head in and held the bit in her mouth as i leaned forward and pulled the headstall back in place.
if i had a chore to do in the pasture i had a shadow. one day i forgot the hammer and stopped to turn back for it. she ran right into my back she was that close. we entered a costume class as cleaning ladies once and with mops and brooms and buckets dangling about her she trotted into the ring beside me on her 'invisible lead rope.' we didn't win first prize but the judge gave me a warm compliment on how well we worked together. one time there was great hilarity when i was doing a crawl thru the barrel class where you get off your horse and crawl through a barrel and then in theory remount your horse and ride back. most horses decided this was a good opportunity to hightail it out of there. my horse tried to crawl through the barrel after me putting her nose as far in after me as she could.
for five glorious years we had an unbreakable bond. but then one day the unthinkable happened. she was eight months pregnant with her second foal [horses carry for eleven months]. i was renting an extra barn and pasture at the time and three horses including her were at this barn. my daughter and my husband went over to feed them and to check on the ponies wintering in the huge pasture. while my daughter went to feed the three in the barn my husband drove up 1/4 mile to the pasture to see if the ponies were ok.
mean while i was preparing to go feed the gang on my own farm. the phone rang right before i headed out the door. it was my daughter, 'mom...' she said 'there's something wrong with majesty.' 'oh my god' i said 'i'll call the vet.' 'mom...' she hesitated unable to blurt out the truth,'i don't think the vet will help.' i couldn't or wouldn't hear what she couldn't say to me. frantically i called the vet's answering service and paced up and down as i waited for the return call. finally the phone rang and i sprang to answer it. as i was trying to explain that there was something wrong and i needed her to come as quickly as possible the door flew open and there stood my husband with a grim expression. 'cindy the vet isn't going to be able to help...majesty is dead.'
he took me back to the other farm and i rushed into the stall. oh my god it was true. my beautiful riding partner lay lifeless on the floor of her stall with her aborted foal by her side. we figured out later that she had torn inside and that caused the spontaneous abortion and internal bleeding. something bled out of me that day too...i had lost my best friend. this was at a time when my marriage was pretty much on the rocks and she was my lifeline to sanity in those crazy times. now that lifeline was gone.
that night i went back to my farm dimly realizing i still needed to feed the rest of the horses. even when the world around you has ended you need to hay and water and grain everyone. as i staggered blindly around the barnyard trying to focus on my chores, tears streamed from my eyes. my daughter's gaming pony prince had run wild in a pasture for eight years before we got him. he still had the tendency to duck away if he thought you might be coming to catch him. he started his usual evasive maneuvers and then sensed something was wrong. he stopped dead... looked right at me and allowed me to wrap my arms around his neck and just sob. then he very gently folded his long neck around me and hugged me hard and just held me.
some months later we had two strange things happen. the first was spiritual. we were on a oiga board when the planchet started repeatedly coming off the board and pointing right at me. suddenly i knew who it was. 'it's majesty' i said with a sob. 'are you sure?' my friends asked. i replied i would know that soul anywhere as i rushed from the room and went outside to deal with a fresh surge of grief. all you non believers can shake your heads and say 'yeah right' but i was there i know what i felt and it was her. my one friend came out to console me and then i was called back inside. 'umm...you'd better come see this.' one of my friends was in a trance like state and describing great pain and repeating over and over again'mom... where's mom' he was saying things that only majesty and i would know about and i feel to this day that she had been as torn by the sudden separation as i was. but this incident served to bring peace to both of us and helped us to feel that the connection was not lost even though she was not in my world anymore.
then an even stranger occurence...the guy who fell off the bridge very late one night. this was quite some time before majesty's death. there was an iron grid bridge over the large stream near our house. this guy was stoned out of his mind and took it in his head to climb to the top which was forty feet above the small stony island below the bridge. for hours he moaned and groaned off and on and i though he was just a drunk who lost his girl or his dog and was lamenting out loud. i was annoyed and wanted him to shut up so i could sleep. then a car went over the bridge and i thought i heard him go'help...help...help!' i jolted awake fairly alarmed. dawn was just breaking as i scurried down to the bridge in just my nightgown and peered over the edge. there lieing spreadeagled among the rocks was a man badly injured. i called 911 and got dressed in my swimsuit because the only way to reach him was through the water. after pounding on the window of a car parked on the other side of the bridge i got his equally stoned brother to wake up long enough to groggily hand me a blanket before he passed out again. disgusted i went back and mounted a pony bareback and rode her over to the stone island and covered the victim of his own folly. my daughter came with me. soon the emergency crew came and we all worked together to remove him safely from the island. he was life lined by helicopter to a hospital and made a full recovery from his multiple injuries. half an hour later rising waters covered the stone island completely. he would have drowned had i not found him when i did.
later he'd made a complete turn around in his life and had a family. he brought his wife to see where he had almost lost his life. as they were walking up the road she saw i had horses and asked to come see them. he explained why they had been there and said he hazily remembered a woman and a young girl who helped him.
i laughed and said yup that was me. his wife was horse crazy so we started a friendship after that and would talk on the phone or visit. one day we were swapping horse stories and she started to tell me about this horse that a friend owned that she had developed a special bond with..even sneaking out to sleep with it at night...
but her friend couldn't handle the horse and ended up selling it. so she lost contact with the animal. she said it ended up at a farm back of fredericksburg somewhere and that is when the skin on the back of my neck stood up.
you see my daughter was taking lessons on a farm back of fredericksburg. that is where we bought majesty. a few questions and the right answers brought us both to the same conclusion.
her horse friend and my horse friend were the same horse. she was excited and wanted to rush out and come see her.
and that is when another heart was broken when i had to gently tell her 'i'm sorry...she passed away last fall.'
that was the magic of majesty for two women who loved her very much and will never forget the way she moved.
cindy beck, equine and animal artist
HS INFINITE has gone to Heaven, God is good all the time!
On Monday, December 7, 2009 our lives changed forever..
.our kind, beautiful, gentle giant *HS Infinite went home to heaven...in a freak accident during routine training, while being worked by his beloved Bryony, in an inattentive moment Infinite took a twisted step and feel and he shattered his pastern irreparably.
Jesus will be riding the most beautiful white horse in Heaven and He problably just could not wait any longer...
He was one of the kindest stallions in the world and he was loved devotedly by his human family, especially Bryony and myself. Although only five years old, he was a dream that spanned nearly two decades...a perfect gift from God, with a perfect form with a perfect name and the smoothest riding horse...he has fart too few exquisite foals, each one of them a treasure...
Who knew that this star would shine so bright and burn so fast.
Infinite could have gone to a bigger farm, with a bigger showing/marketing budget, a bigger harem and a larger staff, but he was the center of our world here at Rockin' Heart Ranch and he did not need anyone more than his beloved Bryony...The orders to the staff here were that they should leave Infinite for Bryony to tend to...she and she along would groom him, turn him out, trained him to show in halter (a first for them both) and to be a soft obedient, classically trained saddle horse. Never did a movie star have his locks more lovingly tended, his wants and needs more slavishly met...he had Bryony and the mutual love that they shared was the stuff of legends...he was her first horse, her first love and her first love lost.
*HS Infinite changed our lives. It is bittersweet that most of his lovely foals will live in the Middle East. Although our memories of he and his two exotic black fillies winning the Get of Sire Class at the Egyptian Event and reportedly being the talk of the show are sweet, our fondest memories are of the simple joys of day to day life here on the farm with Infinite, where we enjoyed his charming company and his absolute love of people.
God is the giver and taker of life...The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, blessed by the name of the Lord.
As Job says, even tho He slay me, yet will I trust Him.
I always want to be the strong one, but this time, I am lost...truly can't fathom the waste and loss and not only my pain but Bry's...can't wash my brain of the vision of her while she waited for me to get to the indoor school to help her...her head on his shoulder...crying and telling him how much she loved him and that it would be ok...
Then, at WSU Veterinary Hospital...her looking at me when the Vets were telling us how hopeless it was and her looking tome to see if we could try an amputation and prosthetic device...
But, mostly the last time she held him and kissed his face and hugged his long elegant neck and told him how much she loved him and how he changed her life...telling him how she would see him later...I am literally screaming in my head...can't make sense of it...can't stop the scenes and can't stop the pain in my chest and can't stop the sense of loss and worry about how we are going to continue...
Afterward we returned to the farm, went up to the barn and told each one of his offspring that their lovely sire had gone to heaven to wait for them there...blew into dainty muzzles a kiss from him, all with big luminous eyes and bigger trusting hearts. I took his halter to his fried Safar, (yes they traveled together and seemed to like each other's company, calling to each other when separated) and Safar sniffed his halter for a long time...
I always want to be the strong one...the example...the spiritual one who can see God in everything...Infinite was a perfect gift from God...why...I know real faith is letting go of the right to know why, but I am just mortal here...
"Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be on the vines, the labor of the olive shall fail, and the field shall yield no meat, the flock be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herds in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength and he will make my feet like hind's feet, and he will make me to walk upon His high places..." Habakkuk 3, 17-19.
Nancy Lee Wight
Bryony Hatt Wight, Manager
Rockin' Heart Ranch, Ltd.
Home of world class Egyptian Arabian stallions:
My amazing Standardbred
I thought I'd share my story with you of the most amazing Standardbred that i have ever met.
I had always wanted a horse when I was a child but we never had the money or space for one. So I rode at riding schools and exercised friends horses for them. That was until I had quite a bad fall from a friends horse when I was 14 and it knocked a lot of confidence out of me. I also broke the bone above my tail bone so I couldn't ride for 6 months after. I never got back on that horse.
I didn't really get back in the saddle for about 6 years.
My mum bought a property in a farming town. 8 acres. My sister got a horse and they put out word that they wanted another. They were told about a Standardbred that would end up going to the dogs if he didn't find a new home soon.
My mum and sister went and had a look at him and he was a sorry sight. Really skinny, in bad need of a farrier, no feed at all and a lump on his bottom lip. Of course they adopted him.
When I came to visit that weekend I was told he was mine. I was so excited. Finally a horse of my own. We fed him up, got his feet sorted and he looked amazing. We were told by a horse dentist that he was only 14. I had a feeling he was older but i didn't care, he was mine. I looked up his brand on the internet out of curiosity and found out that he was actually 25.
His name was "S.S.". I didn't really think much of that name. I renamed him Orion, after the constellation. Which turned out to be a good idea. It has helped my daughter understand his death a bit better I think. I told her that he is up in heaven and that those are his stars. (Inspiration from "The Lion King"). Now every time an animal dies it gets a star. Even her goldfish.
The first couple of times I rode him I was really nervous. He tried me out as horses do but once we worked each other out we had an amazing relationship. We trusted each other completely. There was one straight in mum's paddock that me and my sister use to gallop along. I would tie my reins up, put my arms out and shut my eyes. It was just me and Orion. It felt like we were flying.
I fell off him twice. Both were funny and I wasn't hurt. The first time I fell off was after i had got on him bare back, no lead or any thing and he walked me under a wire that is used to stablise mums tv antenna. I grabbed onto it as it was at my waist when I was on him and gripped onto him hoping i could stop him. He just walked off and left me hanging. My sister was on her horse, Nero. She laughed so hard that she nearly came off too.
The other time I came off I didn't even get on. I had put my foot in the stirrup and lifted myself up, Orion turned and I had too much "oomph" to land in the saddle so I went up and over and landed flat on my back. My mum was leading my daughter on her pony and turned around to see if I was coming to find me lying flat on my back laughing!
I rode him for 18 months before he started to show his age and go down hill. I stopped riding him after I went to get on him and he nearly fell over.
My daughter (who was only 3 at the time) still rode him bare back. He gave her confidence too. Her pony would just throw in a buck when he had had enough.
It was Easter Sunday 2008 when he lay down in the paddock and couldn't get up. It had been just over 2 years since we got him. He struggled and fought and did manage to get back up. I thought he'd be ok. That maybe his leg had gone to sleep and thats why he had trouble. I was wrong. My sister called me that evening to say that he had gone down again. We made the decission that it was the end. I had never cried so much in my life.
Being a holiday weekend we couldn't get hold of any vet. We called everyone we knew to see if someone would come out to shoot him. We did get hold of someone but he couldn't get there until the morning. Orion would have to wait.
I prayed, I prayed that he would let go and pass in the night. I will never forget the look in his eyes. He didn't want to leave. It was such a long night. When the man with the gun came up, my sister and I walked her horse away (my daughters pony had gone to the neighbours the night before). As soon as we were out of sight he did it. Nero tried to bolt and I collapsed in a heap on the ground. My sister did a wonderful job of making sure I didn't get trampled by Nero.
When I fell asleep that night Orion came to visit me. I had wanted to take him to the beach but as he didn't like floating much and it takes about 3 hours for us to get there, I never did. That night he took me to the beach. It was the most amazing, wonderful experience. I know some people will say it was just a dream, but it was the most real dream I ever had.
I still feel him with me. I ride other horses now. It is because of Orion that I now have the confidence to ride just about any horse. Without Orion I don't think I would of ever started riding again. He taught me so much. He reminded me of all the things I had been taught but forgot because I didn't ride for so long. I am glad he came to us, even though he wasn't with us for long. He had a tough life and his body showed it. I am grateful that he spent his last two years with me and I know we will find each other again. We had so much fun together. I'll never forget him.
Thank you for taking the time to read Orions story. A few tears were shed as I was typing but reading back over it, it makes me smile. Remembering all the fun times we had. If I went into them all this email would be more like a novel! I'll attach some photos for you.
I lost my beloved Arabian Gelding Sham
Your Daily Oats message occurs at a time of mourning for me. I lost my Arabian gelding March 23, that I was with from the time he was born until his final hour. He would have been 24 years old April 27th.
"Sham" suffered an unusual colic; his small intestine telescoped not once - but twice within the juncture of the large intestine/colon. The intestine became lodged and suffocated, perotinitis also set in.
Surgery was an option, but his prognosis would not have been a good one. There was absolutely nothing I could have done to prevent this, I think it was just his time. It didn't stop him from fighting it with his whole heart, right up to the end. Sham was an accident, unplanned, his dam - who I still have at age 28 bred to a half brother and half starved.
She was one of about 20 Arabians abused; she survived the ordeal and carried Sham to full term, even surviving a bout of Rhinopneumonitis in her 7th month - no one knew she was bred and she hid her pregnancy well. Sham was born perfectly normal, and was offically named "Arielique Shetan", to mean 'spirited devil'. The name suited him.
Sham was precocious, curious and highly intelligent - more human than some humans I've met. He was a personality type 'passive-aggressive', he'd be offerering his tongue to be scratched one minute, then ready to rip your face off the next. He was very sensitive to people, moods and situations. He's been known to be teased and remember who teased him, and would take whatever opportunity AND means to scare them first chance he got. He remembered trails and places we visited after one time, and was THE most trustworthy mount, next to his dam I've ever seen.
After sustaining an injury warming up a different horse for a beach ride, Sham was my mount for the day, and the first time he visited a beach at age 18. I was kicked twice in the right shin, nothing broken but I had a nasty high ankle sprain - Sham took care of me during the ride.
No time to warm him up, I saddled him, got on and he kept it in 2nd gear the WHOLE ride. He wouldn't let me gallop, and barely let me canter once or twice; I feel he was protecting me from further injury... and the beach NEVER phased him.
He's watched over a neighboring expectant-mom-to-be(horse); as her sentinel he protected her before, and after delivering prematurely. She and the baby survived, however, she was an older heaves horse, succumbed to colic 4 months after the foal was born.
Sham grieved over her, he became highly depressed for a month and colicked himself. He finally got over it, but it was shocking he'd had such a strong bond with a neighbor he knew only a year.
He had his vices, too. He was highly destructive; pushing on fences, crushing gates, chewing wood - NOT cribbing, despite vitamins, excellent nutrition, regular deworming and even Cayenne pepper - to get him to QUIT chewing! He loved the pepper, so much for it being a deterrent... Sham was the type who became easily bored, often escaping from stalls or other enclosures, untying ropes and such while tied.
He LOVED being ridden, however, he was happiest in the woods. He also loved beer. Sham and his dam were kept at a residence with a barn for a time, a Navy family was living there. Several young men, Navy or Marine, would come and visit me and the horses. Inevitably, Sham had his first taste of a longneck, and there would be no unshared beer in his presence throughout his life.
Losing him after a bad year weather-wise, where we received no less than 70 inches of rain, has been difficult. I was looking forward to hitting trails with him this spring, and having him help me settle a green young mare to trails as well. I had one final ride before he died, about 2 weeks before - it was perfect. Just not long enough.
Since his passing the weather has been beautiful, Spring officially sprung, grass and trees are revealing their new green growth, Carolina jasmine and wisteria blooms have come and gone. I have 4 other horses; his mom is crippled with founder after surviving EPM 3 years ago, an aged retired show stallion, a tenderfooted Paso and the green mare who hasn't had weight on her yet. It has been more important to help them through the loss and avoid devastating depression, especially for his dam, than to worry about when I can ride again. Hopefully soon, and when the time is right.
Every day I look out and think I see him in the pastures, or think I will see him out there - it's been a difficult adjustment. He was one of my first long-term relationships, his mom is the first. We've grown up together, survived disasters, moves, family losses, gains and births, everything life can throw at you. He was one who knew and understood me, and forgave me when I wasn't smart enough to understand him, at times. To call him a best friend is a gross understatement.
We also kept each other honest and wore our emotions on our sleeve. We both had our troubles, but we had each other, too. Sham is a part of my soul, whom I hope to be reunited with, one day.
I apologize at the length, but to scrimp on such a character wouldn't do Sham justice.
In Honor Of Freckles
"A long time ago Freckles tried to jump over the trailer bed we throw hay out of and lets just say he didn't quite make it haha 2x actually :) He was the very first horse I rode english and Betty tied my stirrups to his girth haha! Miss you buddy :)"
"even tho i could never jump without hitting the ground i will miss him :("
we were together for 24 years
I lost a great friend/horse this year he had a tumor in is small intestine and I had to put him down.
I got Rowdy when he was 6 months old we were together for 24 years. When I was breaking him he toss me a couple of times (I think that was the hardest I had been thrown) Between him and I we rode a lot of trails, I ponied dozen colts with him.
He was a horse that I could trust, he help a lot of kids and adults get over their fear of horses. I have so many memories that I could share. I retired him a couple of years ago because of his back and he was getting a little catch in his get along. (We all do when we get old) I would put a halter and lead on him once and while and ride him around the pasture he still would get in to that shuffle and bow that neck as if he was still a colt I think he enjoyed those times just as I did. I bought him for me before my son Cody was born and that was the first horse ride he got was on Rowdy.
We would trail ride Rowdy and I would carry Cody in a baby pouch. As Cody got a little older he would sit in the saddle with me, when he get tired he would turn around with his head on my chest he would fall a sleep.
One Christmas I gave Rowdy to Cody I think Cody was around eight years old. I have to say we all cried that morning when he read the card I gave him. My wife Dana didn't know about it, so it was a surprise to her to.
I had a lot of offers through the years to sell him but I told no he would die here where he grew up. He became the pasture boss and was always there to tell me he was ready for breakfast or supper.
It was very tough the next morning doing chores and he wasn't there to tell me good morning. I got a final ride on him about three months ago, my little granddaughter Rayann came over with dad (Cody) to trim and shoe our horses.
While dad was getting ready to shoe she walked in the barn and pointed to Rowdy and said "I want to ride him Papa Lawrence" so I got the halter and lead and we rode him for about an hour
just going around.
I didn't go any where but looking back it was one of the best rides I have had on him in along time.
Here is to a horse that became more than a horse. He was family through good and bad times I could always count on him. He will be missed but I am sure he his helping someone else out in heaven and putting a smile on their face.
Till we ride again good bye old friend
Red as Fire
Her coat was as red as fire, red as fire
Her feet the thunder in the sky
Her mane was the flames of spirit
Rising high when she ran
Her heart was an eagle
soaring through the mountain skies
Red as fire, Red as fire
She was the spirit of flame
though she'd do everything in her will
to do what i asked right
Jump any jump,
even if she failed to see what hid on the other side
She never refused an obstacle
Never slammed on the brakes
She crossed any bridge, and galloped any glade
She was the spirit of fire, spirit of fire
her chestnut coat shining like copper
as she ran through the snow
to greet me at the gate, 45 achers away
The thunder did not reach the gate
The flames they did appear on the opposing knoll
I ran through the pasture
Screaming out her name
Looking for the spirit of flame
I'd seen each and every day
I found her laying at the bottom of our mountains glade
No eagle she flew, no fire it burned
no thunder it rose
Her ribs they heaved as sweat dripped of her red chest
Her eyes they weeped as her nostrils flared in fear
was this life? she cried, was this death?
We walked for hours
but her breathing never improved
we gave her shots to untwist her sore guts
Her hooves were but a mere wind as he wearily walked the dirt pen
we'd put her in
Red as fire, red as fire
the spirit is raged in her eyes
trying to escape the prision of pain.
the prison - of pain
I wrapped my arms around her chestnut chest
weeping into her heaving neck
An eagle flew above, calling her name
She fell to her weak knees in a heap
struggling to keep her head up, I told her not to roll
where she placed her head upon my lap
and her eyes they closed deeply shut
and her body it'd given up
Red as fire -red as fire
The eagle soared over the mountains
and a thunder rose across the sky as hoofbeats
seemed to gallop by
as spirits of fire, spirits of fire
ran the pasture in freedomland
She was free.
I placed my head onto her red neck
Her spirit of fire - spirit of fire
as she forever soared the mountain Skies.
June 1981 - November 2007
[[ I Miss you Girl ]]
I would also like to share this story with you about a horse that we sold to a very special young lady a few years ago.
The picture was taken of Wylie and Gina, Christmas 2006.
Wylie started life racing, then began a second career with fancy English training. He won ribbons and awards. But the best thing he ever got, he stole. What he took was a young girl’s heart.
Gina wanted a horse nearly every second of her life. She had a malignant brain tumor at age four that did a lot of damage. Fifteen surgeries later, she is left with, in areas touched by the tumor, the abilities of a 7-year old, even now, in her 27-year old body.
Through all of the surgeries, the hospital stays, the physical therapies, one thought kept her going, "horses." Gina started riding at 6, and finally, at 26, she was going to get her own horse.
Gina stood 4’9” and 78 lb., deaf in one ear, with balance problems, an ataxic gait, weakness in her left side, and delayed neurological responses. Not just any horse would do. But Wylie would do just fine.
Gina and her mom looked forever for the perfect horse. The day she met Wylie, Gina rode him for nearly 3 hours. Amber, his owner, let them ride and ride. Gina practiced showmanship. They did equitation; they did dressage. He would even do a side pass for her. Then, he stole her heart.
Gina and her mom had learned long ago to display poker faces when they looked at horses. They thanked Amber for the “look-see,” promised to consider him--along with other horses, and got ready to leave. Amber took the bridle off Wylie to let him go to pasture. Instead, he followed Gina back to the car.
When he did the side pass, they knew that he was the one for her. But when he followed her to the car, he stole her heart, and he owned it every second of the rest of his life.
For Gina, for whom “special” so often meant a bad thing -- special education, special needs-- now she was “special” in a wonderful way. With Wylie, she even won ribbons in every event they entered at Special Olympics--just six weeks after she bought him.
Every day she went to the barn, he looked for her. He laid his head on her shoulder. They worked together, they played together. Life was so good... and so special.
Unfortunately, tragedy touches even those who, it seems, have already paid their dues. Gina’s precious Wylie became ill. The vet said to keep him up. Gina walked him through the night. She wouldn’t let others take a shift: “But Mom, what if Wylie needs me?”
Finally, at the vet school, it became evident that his pain was too much to ask him to bear. Gina stood, kissing the star on his forehead, saying her final good-byes. ”
She said that Wylie told her, “Gina, I’m sorry. I tried as hard as I could. You’ve got to let me go now to a place where I won’t hurt anymore.
Gina will have other horses, but there will never be another Wylie.
Whispering Rain Farms
Breaking & Training Horses/Riding Lessons/Sales
Owners: Jamie & Amber Rain Mathewson
Head Horse Trainer: Amber Rain Mathewson
I would love to share a story with you... Willow
Willow was one of about 30 horses that were confiscated from a drug dealer who also abused and neglected his horses.
The horses were found after he was arrested and the state of GA took them all in. Some horses were so emaciated that they didn't make it and some pulled right on through.
They wormed and vaccinated all of the horses and trimmed their feet. Well, every horse except for Willow because they couldn't get near her without her trying to kill them.
She would strike out with her front feet or kick with her back ones, depending on which was closest.
While in captivity of the State, Willow, a beautiful painted Arab cross pony, gave birth to an adorable paint colt. They were able to get their hands on the baby and they worked with him daily to keep him trusting humans.
They State held an auction when all of the horses were ready to re-home. Even though they thought Willow should be euthanized, they allowed her to go up for auction since she was still nursing her colt. They announced that she was an untouchable and dangerous, but a nice couple purchased her just so they could get her adorable baby that matched their prize gelding in markings.
When they realized how dangerous Willow was, they ran an ad in the paper to find her a home. I responded, along with allot of other people. Some, including young kids, that just read "FREE HORSE" out of the ad. I explained to them that I was a horse trainer and I would love to give her a chance to live out her life and not be euthanized. They said that I was an answer to their prayers, so I made the drive to GA to pick up Willow. It was a 3 1/2 hr drive each way, through Atlanta traffic. I had an infant and a neighbor with me and as I sat in the Atlanta traffic I asked myself, "What in the world are you thinking?"
I picked up the wild horse, who at the time, didn't have a name. I put her in a safe corral and I would sing to her every day while carrying our baby girl around. The horse seemed to be calmed by the "Willow Song" from the movie and play "Othello." Her long dread-locked mane reminded me of a sad willow tree, so the name stuck!
She was never completely tame, but I was able to feed her out of my hand, pet her on the nose and she would even allow our daughter to pet her on the face! She buddied up with my old paint gelding and was even able to go out into the pasture with him and even in the yard!
Willow passed away due to complications while at the vet. I had taken her to be sedated and have her feet trimmed, but the sedation had a bad effect on her and she didn't pull through it. After she passed away, I brushed her and combed her mane. I must have sat there petting her for half an hour. I had waited so long to get my hands on her and actually get to love on her. I just hated that it had to be this way.
She is now buried in our pasture, on a hill facing the sunset. Our old paint gelding would visit her grave for a while and just drop his nose at it. I think he knew.
Since then, the kind people who bought Willow and her colt have contacted us and given us the beautiful colt! His name is Surfer and he is 3yrs old now. He now belongs to our 3yr old daughter and stands as a living memory of the wonderful Willow that we all miss so dearly. She inspired us to start Whispering Willow Equine Rescue and we have taken in many rescue horses since then.
Here is a video that I made in memory of Willow.
I'm also including a picture of Willow eating out of my hand and a poster that my mom made in memory of Willow. She used a picture that she had taken and poetry that she wrote for Willow.
I also want to share a picture of our daughter, Montana Rain, with Surfer the day we went to pick him up.
Thank you for posting every one's touching stories, but more than that, thank you for your generous donations to your local horse rescue!
Whispering Rain Farms
"$500 worth of Sugar"
I was 7 years old, the summer of 1978, playing in the living room with my little plastic farm animals... you know the ones, you used to buy them at the Grocery Store for a dollar... it came with little plastic wood rail fences, a couple cows, some chickens, a pig or 2 complete with little nursing piglets, a goat, a sheep, a collie dog, and if you were lucky, you'd get 2 horses! (I had about $12 worth of these sets!) I had all my animals fenced in by species, had even added to my fences with some shoes, and was contemplating how to convince Mom into letting me bring some sticks in the house for my arena.
Mom was doing her Saturday Morning house cleaning, and had just shut off the vacuum, when the phone rang.
"Hello? Oh, Hi Grandpa! Um.... yea, I think so. A WHAT!!!?"
I started half-listening, while arranging a knocked over chicken...those things ALWAYS had balance issues!
"Okay... what kind? Where is it? Yea, he's here. I'll tell him, when do you want to go look at it? Now? Okay, what does the guy want for it? Hmmm, that's a lot, for a kid. Ok, we'll meet you at your house. Yea, we'll bring the trailer. Okay, see you in a little bit! Bye!"
Now, the only 2 trailers we had were a water tank trailer and the horse trailer, so my little mind was trying to figure out what Grandpa needed the Water Trailer for. Mom told me to clean up my mess (FARM, Mom! Get it Right!) and get my shoes on, we were going to Grandpa's.
I had been having some "issues" at school, and was having a hard time concentrating on my work, couldn't talk to any of the other kids, and spent most of my time daydreaming and drawing horses. I couldn't take my toy horses to school with me, so I would also doodle elaborate fencing layouts for when I got out of this torture place they made me go every day, & could get back to my "farm."
These issues were not discussed at home... Mom knew what was wrong, but nobody else had a clue. I had been raped by a babysitter when I was 6, and she chose to pretend it didn't happen, but moved us where nobody knew, to North of Phoenix, Arizona. She got married, and "Grandpa" was Step-Dad's Father. I closed up to everyone, and would only answer a direct question... otherwise I was silent. But Grandpa could get me to talk.
When he came over, he would ask about my farm, and what all the names were for all the animals. (Yes, I had each piece of little plastic named, and could tell you it's particular personality, who it's parents were, and what it did today.) Grandpa never seemed to mind my rambling, and would offer suggestions for my ongoing fencing dilemmas, and even came up with a few names if I got stuck.
Grandpa was a Real Cowboy, from Texas and Everything! He wore the Western Shirts every day, complete with the satin piping on the back & the pockets. He wore a cowboy hat everywhere he went, and pointy-toed cowboy boots too! he spoke softly, with an unmistakable accent. He said "Worshed" and "Yonder", and other cool Cowboy words all the time. I could listen to him talk for hours! He walked with a certain Swagger, a kind of "rolling gait". I think it was the bowed legs that made him walk that way.
Grandpa had a Real Horse. A little bay Quarter Horse mare named Dakota that he had purchased from the local race track. She was full of fire, and would pin her ears and snort if I went to her pen & stared at her. She was Dangerous, so I was not allowed to go near her. But I would be just fascinated, watching Grandpa work with her. He could Catch her, and put his big heavy western saddle on her, and the obnoxiously large "Spade Roller" bit as he called it in her mouth. He would climb up on the mare, and the two would be as one, practicing spins and slides, & perfect figure eights in the arena.
Then he would take her out into the desert, and be gone for an hour or so. I would watch them until they were swallowed up by the Palo Verde trees, and wait at the end of our driveway, like Lassie waiting for Timmy to return from school. When he came back, he would stop at the end of the driveway, dismount, and lift me up into his big saddle, and lead me to the hitching post. I lived and breathed for these rides, short as they were. The smell of the saddle soap, mixed with horse sweat, and Grandpa's cologne is etched in my mind forever. He was my Hero.
Mom, Dad & I drove the 13 miles into Town, to Grandpa's house, and I think my heart raced the whole way. Mom & Dad had talked a little, and Dad had backed the truck up to the Horse Trailer. Of course my few questions were not answered, and I was told to hush, & get in the truck.
Grandpa met us in his driveway, and climbed in.
"Did you tell her?" he asked.
Mom replied, "Nope, it's still a secret." Dad just shook his head.
"What secret?" I asked Grandpa, as I looked up into his ice blue eyes, which were full of love.
"You'll see." He whispered, and kissed the top of my head.
We drove for what seemed like forever, and I think I nodded off a little. Finally, Dad pulled into what looked like a junkyard. There were cars, and trucks, and piles of metal everywhere!
A Big fat man in a tank top and cut-offs waved us over to a sort of building... (Well, it had 4 poles & a roof, but no walls!)...and under the roof was a....HORSE!!! A WHITE ONE!!!
NOW I was awake!
Grandpa got out of the truck, and shook the man's hand. "She sure is little," he kinda chuckled.
Man says, "Yea, but she's full of herself! She ain't no Kid's horse, and she don't like ridin' double!"
Mom & Dad looked at each other, and Dad asked, "Grandpa, are you sure we want to do this?"
Those sparkling blue eyes were staring right through me, when he said, "Yep. They need each other."
he turned to the man, and pulled out his worn leather wallet, and opened it. "You said Five hunderd, right?"
"Yep. Her name's Sugar, and she's 10. She?s half Ay-Rab, so I wouldn't trust her with that kid alone."
Grandpa replied, "We'll handle 'er.
This ain't our first cow pony.
The tears were streaming down my face as they unloaded this little mare out of our trailer, and put her in the corral in our yard.
Grandpa handed me the lead rope, kneeled down to my level, and said, "She's all yours, Sweetie. Someone to tell your secrets to, and to love you no matter what, but you two gotta learn to trust each other.
You take care of her, she'll take care of you. Don't you ever forget that. Some day, she'll go to heaven, and so will I. There will be lots of horses in your life, but this is your first one. Don't be afraid, I'll help you." he lifted me up onto the mare's back...
and my life was changed forever.
In 2000, I took a little TWH/Paso mix mare to a triple registered stud that I admired very much. He had conformation, personality, soundness, style - everything i was looking for. He was TWH/SSH/Racking Horse.
Anyway, the following spring, Wildfire was born. She wasn't exactly what I was expecting at first - she was red - out of two black horses. That was the first shock. Second, she was HUGE. Almost the size of a draft foal.
Our vet was surprised when she arrived to do the 24 hour physical and give her the first shots, etc. She grew like a weed. Her legs were so long she couldn't reach grass, so she'd lay down to eat.
She was so tall, she had to get her dam to stand just so so in order for her to be able to nurse. We laughed about putting the dam on a platform! Wildfire's love of all things in the world was running. She ran like the wind.
Or, well, like a wild fire racing along gobbling up everything in its path. This filly and I were bonded so tight that I didn't have to even speak a command - she just did what I asked. Time to climb on her back, and it was totally uneventful. She was ready to work.
When she was 2 1/2, I began riding her around our neighborhood and getting her used to all the mechanical wonders that abound in a farming community. She dealt with all the tractors, harvesters, plows, balers, and everything else with aplomb. However, those vehicles that go along and spray the fields that folded could resemble a HUGE mosquito - she was worried about them for a long time.
I joined a group of red hat horse women, and we had clinics to despook horses for parades, etc. She did excellent in the clinics, and in parades as well. She grew . . . and grew . . . and grew. She was enthusiastic and a leader on trails, parade routes, in clinics, didn't matter where I took her, she and I were connected.
I have physical problems, and if I fell and she saw me, she'd come and put her head down so I could grab her halter. She'd pull me to my feet. I didn't teach her that - she just did it. She'd then walk me to the nearest gate or barn door.
Everything was going along wonderfully. Then in the spring of 2008 shortly before her 7th birthday, she developed a small sore on her hock. Vet was out, started her on two different antibiotics and topicals and took care of her.
I spent day & night in the barn, washing her leg, soaking her in epsom salts, and then her hock exploded. Literally. All of the flesh was gone - just bone was left. She had that horrid flesh eating disease and it had destroyed her hock from the inside out, in spite of all the antibiotics, treatments, and everything we did. She had to be euthanized because of the damage that happened so quickly.
Her last day, I think we both knew what the outcome was going to be when the vet got there. I spent hours sitting in the barn with her head in my lap, feeding her treats - the only thing she'd eat at the end. Her huge frame had melted off the pounds in the less than a week that she'd had the problem. It was all so fast - and so horrible.
My beautiful baby horse (her nickname) was gone.
Fortunately none of the other horses had any problem with the merced (spelling) that eats flesh.
I have her full brother, who was ponied by her through all the clinics and parades and on trail rides from the time he was born. He's bigger, and so laid back and mellow - and black. The only thing other than parents that he shares with Wildfire is conformation. And an intelligence and willingness that goes beyond the norm.
For me, I doubt a day goes by that something fails to remind me of my blazing beauty. I know she waits for me at the Rainbow Bridge. My beautiful baby horse, Wildfire.
From Donna Arthur