<% appTitle="Ridecamp Archives" %> Ridecamp: [RC] Responsibilities...(long)

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    [RC] Responsibilities...(long) - Jim Holland

    This is submitted WITHOUT permission from the Georgia Equine Rescue
    League (GERL). I'm sure Ellen and Bill will not mind. It's no big
    deal...it just touched me and I thought I would share it.  
    At the NCR ride this past weekend, Laura Hayes and I discussed horse
    abuse issues while we were riding around the day before the 50. Laura,
    by the way, was involved in many "animal abuse" cases. Ask her if you
    want details...raised my hackles!  I belong to GERL, but try to distance
    myself from their cases. If I ever saw some of the things they see,
    someone would have to restrain me....which is why I'm not "active". I
    would probably hurt somebody sooner or later...She WILL get my vote...
    THINK about these gentle people and their love of their horses when you
    consider YOUR responsibilities to your horse(s) and about riding a horse
    to death....inconceivable to me...
    THINK about the bond that happens when you have spent so many hours in
    the saddle and on the ground with ONE horse that you know him better
    than he knows himself. That is why AERC is about miles and completions,
    not about "winning". If that changes, I'm outta here.
    THINK about this when you read Truman's post about "sunshine" in
    THINK about this when you vote for the AERC DAL.....
    Thursday, August 29th, 2002
    Today has been one of the most difficult days of our lives.  After a
    long time agonizing over the inevitable, Bill and I have come to realize
    the time has come to put down our equine friends, Beau and Easy Rider. 
    We have watched our old faithful companions deteriorate in health over
    the last several years and wanted to end their physical suffering before
    it became acute, sparing all of us unnecessary pain.  We told ourselves
    it was the right and kind thing to do.  Today, at noon, Dr. Jim Nash,
    our friend and neighbor, put them gently to sleep, to share the green
    pastures of eternity together.  God, help us get through this.
    I said my farewells, teary eyed, yesterday...giving both a bath,
    clipping a swatch of mane for keepsake, taking some last photos, telling
    them I loved them and cherished the joy they have brought our lives.
    They were good boys and we only wanted to spare them the agony of
    succumbing to some awful disease or to die of colic in the night or to
    fall down and break a leg or something equally as devastating.  I could
    not bear to be here for the final act, but was at the dentist's having a
    crown done (which really did take my mind off the coinciding traumatic
    task). Bill found the strength to take on the dreaded task of making the
    arrangements:  I could not do it myself.  He cried too..he loved our
    boys just as much as I did.
    Easy Rider was Bill's first Tennessee Walker and the first horse he
    really loved and called his own.  Easy got us hooked on Walkers.  He
    made Bill giggle when he did his fast racking walk.  We were devastated
    when Easy developed ringbone and had to be retired back in '95.  That's
    when we got Breezy and started the Pride's Widowmaker trio of sisters. 
    Easy's arthritis and loss of teeth caused him to go downhill in recent
    years.  He was 32 years old and unable to eat anythng but grass or
    gruel.  He barely survived last winter.  We are sure he wouldn't be able
    to make it through the next one.
    Y'all know Beau...I've had him for 16 yearss...since he was 10.  He was,
    and always will be, the horse of my dreams....a spirited golden palomino
    American Saddlebred, gorgeous, smooth gaited, light in hand, a joy to
    ride, even tho he became a total basket case if separated from his
    stablemates.  At age 21, he was retired, my trail horse replaced by
    Belle.  Beau suffered a stroke on Christmas Day three years ago and had
    Cushings Disease...he wasn't doing well at all.   Because he would panic
    and die of heart failure if separated from Easy, the decision was made
    to let them go together.  We couldn't bear to go through this twice or
    make either of them have to live without the other.
    So the heart-wrenching task is done.  They are buried together in the
    pasture behind our house, a place they knew as a wonderful home for so
    many years....their spirits and memories will be forever be here on our
    farm.  Our hearts are broken, but they will heal in time...after all, we
    are blessed with three wonderful sister-mares, Breezy, Belle and Little
    B, who will continue to fill our hearts and minds with the joy and love
    of horses.
    This is the difficult side of responsibility to our animals...to love
    them enough to end their suffering, even though it makes us suffer so
    much more.  Writing this has helped me make closure and relieve some of
    my feelings of grief and guilt.  Thank your for your love and support
    through this very difficult time.
    Ellen and Bill Stara
    Lord, grant me the opportunity to live long enough to do as much for
    Sunny....I owe him more than I can every repay....
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