[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
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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