You know you've won, in life, when people pay you to do what you would pay them to let you do

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Loved and Lost

I don't like sad stories but living with and loving animals there just are some. I learned young, when my first collie died, that it is "Better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all."

Today I was reminded of the story of Buddy's dad (see the previous post for info and pictures of Buddy). Big Doc came to us last fall for my cowboy to ride. His owners were trying to sell the stallion and thought he would benefit from big pasture riding as he'd been used for breeding purposes, only, for quite a while.

My cowboy'd been over to where the old stud lived numerous times and the horse always came up to the fence to get him to scratch his big strong jaw. He liked the horse and felt bad for him: not working, well treated, but not much to do and no one to love. The owner's were cautious around him. The blood line carried some horses with 'stories'.

The first day my cowboy rode Big Doc he wouldn't let me go with him, not sure how the stallion would react around other horses or me maybe, I'm not sure. Apparently by the time he got trailered to the North Sandhills pasture he had worked himself into a lather, just worried. My cowboy unloaded and climbed on board. The horse settled enough that when asked to go across some water he tried but it was a little too boggy and my cowboy let him back out and took him down to a safer spot to cross. When the old stud realized it was safe something changed in him. I guess he realized he could trust that guy with the palm leaf hat.

I never did ride with them but one night in the pitch dark, thinking my cowboy had gotten in some wreck, I drove the truck out to where I thought the two of them might be. Along side the rode, with the help of the truck headlights, I saw them trailing a few head towards the gate that I knew they were going to. I drove up there and waited.

My cowboy calmly dismounted, loaded Big Doc, and we drove home. On the way he kept saying: "Wow, what a good cowhorse." After that, he was like Buddy, always looking for the palm leaf hat guy.

We took him back after the cows went home and my cowboy went off to work for the winter, with the understanding he would be back next year if he wasn't sold. 10 days later the owners called to say he had been put down due to complications caused by colic.

Our consolation was that he'd been happy here. Happy to work, happy to eat grass, happy to have his own small pasture, happy to have a guy he trusted. I still wonder if he really died 'cause he couldn't face going back. Anyway, he's working for the real Boss now in the biggest and greenest pastures.

Here's to the memory of Big Doc, a cowhorse.


Shirley said...

Sometimes I think God takes the animals home when they reach perfection.

The Wife said...

You and your cowboy gave him more in that short time than he could have wished for. I'm with Shirley, God knows when to call them home. No more suffering for a cow horse.

CCC said...

God looks down and smiles and says: "You're done."