Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Stormy - "Justa Swangin" - Rest In Peace

When ever a beloved pet passes away I feel like they deserve a memorial service of some kind.  So, this is my tribute to Stormy or "Justa Swangin" which was her registered name with APHA and Pinto.  I was Stormy's owner for a fairly short time, but as with any animal I have had the privilege of sharing part of my life with she has left an imprint on my heart.  I became Stormy's owner during a time when by all rights I should not have been buying a horse.  Yup, I tend to do that, but hey at least I am honest.  

I was in the midst of still trying to determine if Stormy's half brother would be my "All Around Horse" and since Irish was taking a long time to grow up and mature I decided to find a more finished show horse that I could  show.  Why was it a bad time?  Well, lets see, I had started a new job which had me traveling from Pierce to Snohomish county for work each day.  It was over a 100 mile commute round trip  in the worst  traffic Seattle had to offer every day.  We really wanted to move, but this was in early 2007, and the housing bubble was beginning to soften.  We put our house on the market and in the prior 6 months a house like ours would have been snatched up, but we sat and waited and waited and waited for a buyer. 

I kept commuting  for over 6 months and I really needed to have my horse out let.  I will be the first to tell you that horses keep me sane.  They are my diversion, my passion, and the one thing will keep me doing a job that at times people think I am crazy to do.  Yes, I have even told the boss, if I don't do horses then this job can go.  Fairly embolden, but hey I am honest, and since I keep the horse hobby he knows he is good.   We closed on the horse and the house in the same week.  I did the vet check and all seemed good,  and off she went to the trainers.

Our first year of showing was a year of learning for me.  Stormy had more buttons than most sports cars and knew her job.  She was shown extensively by her previous owners and had made her way to WA from CA.  She was a seasoned show horse.  We began to notice that she seemed to have some hoof tenderness during the show season.  Not uncommon for a long time show horse so I was not concerned.   We did pretty well and and I was happy and decided to move her a little closer to home.  My former trainer "M" had kept her feet in good shape so any tenderness was minor and I did not let it bother me. 

The next show season at a new barn proved more challenging and Stormy never seemed to get in the groove.  She was off more than she was on and her feet were clearly bothering her.  The vet x-rayed her and prescribed various prescriptions without much success.  I was able to show her, but it was hit or miss.  Something was clearly wrong.  By the end of the season I took her to be evaluated by a well known farrier who had success with horses with problem feet. 

She stayed at the facility for over 6 months and had ups and downs, but when "M" the Farrier was less than optimistic for her continued improvement I knew a tough decision would need to be made.  I asked his opinion and he candidly told me what the options were.  I was heart sick and it would take me 8 more months of trying and her not getting better to get me to make a decision.

I moved her back to a place she knew as home when her former owner, "S" generously offered to take her in and take care of her for me.  I did not have many alternatives for a horse who was lame and I knew it was a matter of time when keeping her comfortable would no longer be an option.  I had already made my peace with it when the time came.  I made the arrangements with "S's" assistance and asked to not know the exact date.  I would dwell on it and it would be better to not know when it would be. 

"S" said it was Sunny out last Friday and that Stormy got brushed real good which she loved.  Ironically, I went to watch the first horse show of the season  that day and watched my horse friends show their horses at the same fair grounds where I had my first horse show experience as a rider on Stormy in 2008.   I was well distracted that day.  She was a good girl going to the vet and they would have given her a sedative which horses are accustom to so she would not have been scared.  Good bye Stormy, I will see you again one day......

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

Author unknown...

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