Saturday, November 27, 2010

Waraz Baldy aka "Red"
May 11, 1979 - November 24, 2010
Funeral service 10:00 am at Fiddler on the Hoof Farm.
In lieu of flowers, donations to your local SPCA will be greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

In His Own Time

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I see you leaping the Rainbow Bridge - head and tail held high as you gallop with the wind.

I will miss you, my old Friend.

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Monday, November 15, 2010

The Eleventh Hour

We went to visit my horse on Saturday.
I had previously informed the owners of the farm that we were going to see him for one last time and, after that, the rest was in their hands.

I admit, I hadn't visited Red for some time, but he really did look quite well. He had a twinkle in his eye, his winter coat is growing in thick and full, and he had no trouble enjoying the treats we bestowed upon him - the kids and I had assembled a cornucopia of apples, carrots and guinea pig food... After he'd been fed, coddled, crooned-over and scratched in all the right places, we bid our farewells and watched him trot down the hill to the watering hole. His stride was sure, albeit slightly uneven, but it was sure, nonetheless.

During his last supper, as the kids were wont to call it, and during the photo session, I kept looking for something wrong with Red. He does have a new small lump on his neck, but he's got lumps everywhere - nothing out of the ordinary for a horse - and the ends of the hair on his sides are slightly sun-bleached. He wasn't as able to dig into the apple with his past, youthful gusto, but he was still able to bite it in half with a couple of solid crunches. In retrospect, I should have brought his favourite - a can of Kokanee beer.

When we drove away, I bit back tears as I watched him fade into the distance in my rear view mirror. Could this really be the last time I see him?
I resigned myself to it.
But, something was niggling - not sitting quite right. I just know, that I know... that I know...

Later in the evening, when Gene and I were sitting in the hot tub under the half-moon, I asked him how he thought Red looked. Not being a horseman, but an attentive observer, Gene said that he thought Red looked quite well, given the horse's age. I agreed and it was then that I decided to make one, last phone call. Actually, two.

I had to tell the farm-owner to not go ahead until further notice. I also called my long-time friend, Sam, who's farm had originally been the place where I would take Red to spend his retirement days.
Unfortunately, Sam was recently involved in a car accident and, suffering from the after-effects, had been unable to take on the responsibility. I also know she is very connected with the local horsey community and I thought that one last plea might avail and she could pull something out of her hat. Red might not be so near to death's door if he had a place to stay that could offer some good old fashioned TLC.
As it turns out, after some plan B's, plan C's and plan D's, Sam can keep Red at her place, after all!

Red will continue on to be nursemaid for Sam's two weanling fillies. He will live out his golden years in comfort while resting in the quiet pasture outside Sam's front window. He might not be looking out over the lake, but the vista across the valley is equally as magnificent.
My old soldier will no longer have to compete with the rest of the herd for food, nor battle the cold winter winds that howl and swoop down from the icy peaks. Furthermore, he will have a pair of admiring young maids to keep him company.
As Sam puts it, he will be King of the hill and I'm good with that. Red will be, too!

We didn't ask for more, but we got it.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

November

The time between

When our world lies back

And heaves a great sigh

Preparing to ease beneath

Its icy blanket of snow

Monday, November 08, 2010

Reality.

I find myself now having to make the ultimate decision.
My old horse's health is failing rapidly and, by all measures, it is apparent he will not make it through the winter. I am loathe to play God, as it were and, aside from the fact that Red has long been my faithful companion, this is also matter that I am wrestling with. Who am I to make the decision as to whether another being lives or dies? That is a tough one, and I could debate it forever.
Red has been with me for the past twenty-two years, and my children have never known life without him. If summer were upon us, and Red was failing as he is now, I would allow him lie down and fall peacefully back into the earth in his own time. But our winters are cruel. An old soldier such as he does not deserve to suffer.
Next weekend Beth, Bobby, Jenny, Eugene and I are going to say our last farewell to our beloved Red.
I have not specified a time, nor will I be there - I could not bear it. The owner of the farm will let me know when he is gone.
His final resting place will be in the shade of a pine grove in his sweeping green pasture on the shores of the lake.
I could not ask for any more.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Dreaming...

Discovering my newly-inherited, antique school bell in the hands of another...
Being late, due to a series of unfortunate events, for my first day of teaching on the mountain...
Skiing on lost skis, while wearing an ill-fitting ski suit, across a dwindling snowpack melting into asphalt...
Injuring my thumb when breaking a speedboat in half as we load it onto a yacht sailing upon a non-existent lake at the resort...
And making a stop, while on board, at the bar for a Guiness during the search for my son who had apparently been playing truant...

Waking up.