In the spring of 1996 my husband came to me and said he had found a colt that he really liked. The horse had been bred to be a paint but had no spots so the breeder gave the baby to her sister. That baby was growing very big and had scared the woman so she could no longer do anything with him. Plans were being made to send the youngster to slaughter. That is where we came in.
We went to Lake City to see the youngster. I found a lovely sorrel colt with great bone and feet. And yes, he was big. But more importantly, I saw those lovely amber colored eyes that I so love. I sat in the pasture and watched that baby. I could see that inside that rough exterior was a diamond. There was gentle horse there, wanting to come out. I saw it in his eyes. So, we bought him.
I can't say that he was always perfect, because he wasn't. The first time he was saddled was an experience. He dragged me until I let go of the lead rope which was of course after my hands got a nice rope burn on them. He then ran through three fences bucking the whole time. It really was quite spectacular. He got to the highway, turned around and came back to the barn, still bucking. Hubby and I were still in the same spot. Yup, we said, that went quite well.
I tried so many times to make him more flexible. Yeah, I found out that wasn't going to happen. When he was two, I was working on the flexing and bending stuff. Of course we were bareback with a halter as I do all of the initial training that way. Anyhow I was up on the back of this big colt who is about to have a serious blow up. And I mean serious. Do you know the way cats and dogs stretch? The way they stretch out their front legs and couch down with their head almost on the ground. Now picture a 1000 pound horse in that position with me on top of him. and he is ready to leap. All I could think of was "This is going to hurt" And of course, as usual, I was all by myself. Somehow I got him distracted and prevented the wreck. I bet it would have been awesome.
He really only put me on the ground twice and once was not his fault. A car drove onto the trail and spooked him. So he threw a fit and I hit the ground, hard. It was a nice gravel road too. I come up off the ground mad. Not at my colt of course, but at the idiot behind the wheel. Jacob got petted and comforted. The idiot got a piece of my mind. However later that day, he started bucking really hard. Unfortunately, we were approaching a six foot drop off, I again thought, "This is gonna hurt". So, knowing that, I bailed. But it was nice soft sand and it didn't hurt. Only my pride got hurt. As for Jake, he leaped down the drop off and ran to the water hole.
So he did the usual dumb things that all colts all do. But as he matured, that diamond came through. He grew to be a true 16 hands. His conditioned weight was about 1365 pounds. He was impressive. And he was an athlete. He was the most comfortable horse I have ever rode. And I have ridden many. I have said that his trot was so smooth that my big breasts did not bounce. Now that is smooth. His running walk was heaven. It was so smooth that most people did not realize how fast he was going until their horses had to jog to keep up. His canter was like sitting in the old rocking chair. He was so well trained and behaved that I could ride him bridle-less. He did everything and he did it well. He led many trail rides. He was as dependable as a horse can be.
But something went wrong with his mobility And we will never know the cause of it. Something neurological happened. But we have no idea what triggered it. Did he injure his spine as a youngster in a fall? And we knew nothing about it? Did he get arthritis in his spine? All we know is that he was having a harder time walking. There were so many things he could no longer do. And he would fall. He was losing weight and he was in pain. So last Friday we made the decision to have him humanely euthanized. The last thing he felt was my hand on his face. The last sound he heard was my voice telling him what a good horse he was. And that was one of the hardest things I have had to do in my lifetime.
I am still grieving. But I know that we made the right choice. It is our responsibility as the caregivers of these animals that we provide the best we can for them. And that includes not letting them live a life of pain and suffering. Jacob was with us for thirteen years. In that time, he never knew abuse, hunger or neglect. All of his needs were met. He had a very good life. Now he lies with Momma Horse, Foxy and Junior on the hillside. As time passes, I know that there will be more of them there. And when my time comes, I want my ashes scattered on those graves. I know that I will be in great company.