Monday, February 22, 2016

LUCKY R I P revisited

This story was first told and then written down years ago. Over time, however, it has become a classic; a reminder of a neat animal who gave love and devotion. He impressed me with his wisdom and ability to anticipate. My adult children reminisce about  him today...

Inga: Awwwno! I remember the day I took this we're getting old

Thor: Yep,, it was 6 years ago yesterday, that picture is 10 years old

Inga: I remember I was gone when he did. And wow 10?! I was 14?? frown emoticon sigh

Thor: Yep was winter of 06. U were having trouble getting pics of him, cause every time u walked away an turned he'd be right behind you. Till I told u had to drop his lines so he'd stand

Inga: Yeah I remember that! Then I got this perfect shot miss him he was a very good horse 

Thor: Yup, he was one of a kind. Geldings aren't my personal favorite, prefer mares, but he was amazing

Harald: He was amazing. I am not a rider per se, but he certainly understood me and acted accordingly. It was almost as though he could think.. I sometimes believe he did!!



     Lucky was a common but well mannered trail horse. He was of Arab blood...a noble breed, sometimes called a hot-blood. You could hardly tell his ancestry by looking...only by being and working with him. He earned his name as a youngster when rescued from a trip to the glue factory by a kindly-minded man! Lucky lived out his life in the Northern Rockies to become 31 seasons old. That would be about 90 human years.....
    My son first met him as a Boy Scout and bonded with the horse. Their paths were to cross time and again as the years flew by. Finally, he bought Lucky and kept him for the rest of his days. He was trail horse with Great Spirit and drive and loved to ride. He never spooked or complained, bucked or acted up, but always seemed to match his gait to rider. He could be depended on by both experienced and novice rider alike. And he seemed to sense what was right and wrong, never stepped on anyone and was completely trustworthy around children...As he got older and the winters seemed to chill him more....he was given a horse blanket to help keep him warm. A few days before his last ride, he was droopy, slow and stumbled a bit. He had been down...but managed to get up by himself. Then....
     One day not long ago, I was on my way to work and as I drove by the pasture that was his...I saw by chance he was no longer standing tall, but was lying prone. I stopped my pick-up truck, called out to him; he answered loud and clear and lifted his head to me...   I held it in my hands, rubbed his neck, spoke to him and tried to coax him to his feet but he could do no more...   I checked his legs...not a broken bone...   I checked his tummy and he seemed so warm.....his mouth not as pink as it should be and his eyes were glassy as could be...
     I got my son and said, “Lucky’s down....I think he is on his last...!”
     “I will check him out,” said he.              
     He checked Lucky as I could not and quietly got a halter and rope. We lifted up his head and neck and I tried to hold him up with my knee. With halter on and rope in place, my son tried to haul him up. We pulled his legs out in front and hauled once more. For an instant it seemed he would rise again.....but alas it was not to be.... but not for lack of will. He simply lacked the strength and back down to the ground he went...this time on his other side.. And my son and I both knew that Lucky would never rise again......even if he did not…..
     My son got a backhoe and slipped some hay forks on the bucket. He gently moved them under him and slowly lifted Lucky from the ground. The horse was not afraid...but only bewildered that he could not get his feet in place....I stroked him with my hand and offered a mouthful of hay. He took and chewed it as he always did. And slowly he took his last ride....this time it was our turn to carry....not the other way around!
     A horse down so long, and who had been down the night before was far too weak to stand again.
     “When I felt him, I felt his pain,” said my son. “Get me the rifle.” I did as I was told. “Did you want me to administer?” I asked.
     “No, I will.”
     A merciful well placed shot was all it took. We both heard it loud and clear.....but Lucky heard it not at all...... He went limp and his blood ran fast and cold. It was the end of the line for a noble steed...........a long time friend indeed.....
     “I feel his pain no more.....” said my son.
      It may seem cruel to some, but it was not. There is no need to pain a horse so bold and dear. Better to release him to go wherever horses go when they die and remember him for the lesson that gave so clear......

Tis always better to give love while you can....because you never know when you can’t.....


                     Lucky, May You Always Rest In Peace......

Harald Hesstvedt Scharnhorst
Copyright 2012