Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Celebration of a Life

Many of you already know that I lost Lily, Sammy's mom a little over a week ago. If you are a horse person, you know that if you are very lucky, you will have a horse that is so special to you they are like a dream come true. You understand them completely and they sure seem to understand you. Lily was that horse for me. Those of you there in the beginning were sick of me saying how if I could have special ordered a horse for myself she would have filled that order. She was full of personality and opinions but she touched me to the bone. Riding was fun again and I finally had that special horse all for myself. We went to the beach, we went trail riding and she let me start her over fences. She had never had an English saddle on when I got her but I think she thought it was a much better accessory than a big old western saddle. She preferred to think of herself as elegant.
She enjoyed her time at our first barn....good hay

Lots of grass and clover......

Proof that I did ride at one time.

And she would put up with just about anything if there was something in it for her.

And then we took her to UF to find the source of her hind end lameness. She was diagnosed with severe osteoarthritis in both stifles with the left one being the most severe. I was devastated. My wonderful riding horse would not hold up to much riding anymore. Luckily, we were by then boarding at a facility where I was encouraged to breed her. Linda and Malcolm had a lot of experience breeding and raising young ones otherwise I never would have attempted such a thing. And then came the hunt for a stallion. After much debate and searching, we met Escapade and fell in love both with his looks and his temperament. We managed to get her pregnant on the first try by going through the drive-thru at Peterson-Smith in Ocala. I wasn't sure how she would take to being a mother, she had little tolerance for other horses and needed to be in control. But the minute Sammy was born, she had found her true calling. She was a wonderful mother.

She didn't feel the need to chase after him for very long but those first few weeks, she didn't let him out of her sight. We weaned him fairly early because he was on stall rest due to surgery to remove a bone chip in his sesamoid bone. But that was harder on me than on them. She had raised him to be confident and independant.

She loved visiting with him on occasion and always recognized her boy and made it clear he was allowed more liberties than she would have given to any other member of the herd.

When Sammy and Vantage got to be a little to sure of themselves and obnoxious, Sammy went back out with Lily. She was in heaven. She put him in his place but still allowed him to pester her until she couldn't take it anymore. This is how she looked just last month. She did not look much different than the day I bought her. She regained her figure much easier that I did after having my kids.

Here they are together. This is how I will remember her always. Side by side with Sammy, keeping watch over us both. I'm sure that some day, I'll look and find her shadow coming along for the ride.
Thank you to everyone who have sent cards, left voice messages and emails. I have read and listened to them all but really don't know how to respond. She was that special horse for me. But I am very lucky to have her son who is so much like her in personality. I know I am lucky, but that does not make me miss her less. All I can say is she was loved.

Lara Hurley left me this on Facebook:

If you bury him in this spot,
the secret of which you must already have,
he will come to you when you call;
come to you over the far, dim pastures of death.

And though you ride other living horses through life,
they shall not shy at him, nor resent his coming.
For he is yours, and he belongs there.

People may scoff at you, who see no lightest blade of grass
bent by his footfall,
who hear no nicker pitched too fine for insensitive ears.
People who may never really love a horse.

Smile at them then, for you shall know something
that is hidden from them
and which is well worth the knowing
The one place to bury a horse is in the heart of his master.

And that is where you will find Lily.


Laurindakk said...

*Gulp* (wipes tears) Your post for/to Lily was beautiful. What a blessing to have had her, and a blessing to have Sammy.You will never get "over" this but you will get "through" this. I love you and you are in my thoughts and prayers!
~Peace~ Laurinda

jengersnap said...

What a wonderful tribute to a gorgeous gal. I'm glad to have found your blog. From one chestnut mare owner to another, I know how special these redheads are :)