Thursday, January 2, 2014

A Moose By Any Other Name

Balance AF registered Shagya Arabian

Before 2013 was finally done with Blue Skies, we lost our beloved 'Moose' to a twist in his intestine. That's the short story. The long story is much harder.

I met Moose when my darling daughter started horseback lessons at the local Girl Scout camp.Though bigger than my girl, he was a delight to work with, always looking for an opportunity to show off. Once, at a horse show, he drooled all down my shoulder while waiting for his turn. He wasn't being mean, it was just a handy spot to rest his chin as he worried the bit in his mouth.

When BSRA was created after leaving the Girl Scouts in 2008, we wanted to take the entire herd we had worked with and loved everyday at the camp. Moose however, along with several other larger horses were kept by the GS and sent to new locations. To put it simply, we were devastated. These were our children, and watching them leave for new homes was the hardest thing to do.

Moose was our clown, the registered Arabian dressage horse who ended up teaching little girls to post the trot and how to put a bridle on a skyscraper that doesn't want one. His favorite trick was turning his head sideways and sticking out his tongue at you. He laughed with us, and without him a pall fell on our hearts. Always our talk was of when we would reunite the horses.

Sami loved the Shagya Arabian, and made returning him to our herd a priority. Imagine our happiness when, in December 2012, he stepped off a trailer, lifted his head and made eye contact. The Jester had returned. He was different, but so were we. The important thing was, this time it was forever. After sharing welcomes with his human fans, Moose settled in quite well. Remembering some of our other GS horses, Moose soon made one of them his.

At Pine Acres, our blue roan Pony of the Americas, Cloud, used to chase Moose around the field and glare at him then show him her heels. Upon his return to the herd, they became inseparable. To see the giant white gelding and the short, fat mare wandering side by side, we saw love knows no differences.

Moose was family, one of the reasons we opened this barn, and his death was so sudden we are still stunned as we struggle to make sense of events. It began as any normal colic. AJ and others spent most of Christmas Day sitting with him, as in the wash rack liters of fluids and Banamine flowed freely. Many hours later, after being down in his stall when AJ arrived to begin morning feed, he bolted from the stall and ran out to the jump field. He grazed for a few minutes then went down again, for the last time. It wasn't until the vet arrived we noticed the large tumors around the sheath and under his tail. The curse of the white horse - far worse than we had noticed prior to this. After a total of 25 liters of fluids and several anxious days, the vet announced she had done all she could.

Sami made the brave, heart-breaking decision to let him go. At the age of 21 (approx.) he deserved it. Now he rests next to our other jester, baby Redwood. I like to think the two of them are together now, racing around heaven's deep green pastures and teasing the angels as they wait for the rest of our family - four and two legged. I look forward to loving them for eternity.

There are several verses in the Bible about horses, but this passage reminds me of Moose, the big Arabian with a heart larger than the sky. He approached every day with humor and laughter; we would all do well to do the same.

JOB 39: 21-24

He paws in the valley and exults in his strength; he goes out to meet the weapons. He laughs at fear and is not dismayed; he does not turn back from the sword. Upon him rattle the quiver, the flashing spear, and the javelin. With fierceness and rage he swallows the ground; he cannot stand still at the sound of the trumpet.

Rest well Moose; we will never meet another like you.