In "The Horse That Wouldn't Trot," I write about Galahad, one of my stallions. I eventually sold his as a top notch trail gelding. Eventually he was purchased by one of the former boarders in my barn. This is her and Galahad's story of his later days. It gives us faith that our beloved animals go to a better place.
A fellow walking horse enthusiast who just began working for the company I also work for, told me about the book you had written: The Horse That Wouldn't Trot. I ordered a copy and so enjoyed reading about the early years of the boarding barn and seeing the pictures of Classy, Xanadu, and the others. I will always remember those years as some of the most special of my life.
Because you are such a believer in the spiritual bonds between animals and humans, as I also am, I thought I would tell you about Galahad's final message to me.... I spent quite a few very pleasurable years trail riding him around our country roads and at Potato Creek and Tippecanoe. He had mellowed in his later years and was always a perfect gentlemen. Once I learned to quit trying so hard to make all my poor horses set up and look like your show horses, and just relax and go with the flow, my riding skills improved and we got along great. I also had a very spooky Walker and a Peruvian Paso who kept me on my toes and it was a matter of learn to ride them or endanger my life! My Peruvian was low man in the herd and had no self confidence and he decided that Galahad was going to be his friend and protector, whether he wanted to or not! Galahad was a good sport about it, and I would frequently find the Peruvian in Galahad's stall with him, standing behind him and away from the other two horses. I always left all their stall doors open so they could come in from the pasture when they felt like it, and these two were always together.
During the last two years, I had to quit riding him, his arthritis was making him too stiff and he started stumbling on his left front. He had an arthritic shoulder and eventually refused to back up. He would lean backwards and then drag the leg if asked to back. I regretfully quit riding him, as I never knew if he would fall with me or not. Uneven terrain was very difficult for him with the weight of a rider on his back. His supplements worked for awhile and he did fine in the field, frequently cantered with the herd and held his own until a year ago in January. I came home to find him laying in the field and unable to get up. He had fallen on the wrong side and was unable to use the shoulder to push himself up. I flipped him over on his good side, and he got right up. He seemed fine at first, and my vet could find no injuries,but then he started laying down more frequently and needed to be turned over to rise. After several calls to accomodating neighbors and an emergency call to the vet over a two week period, I began to face the inevitable. He seemed to be losing his spark, as well, and I knew it was time. On his last day, his head also became stuck down as it used to and he seemed unable to recover from it. I found him that way the next morning. This had only happened once before in all the years I had him. I made the call and my female vet, a true horse lover as well, came and we put him down on a beautiful quiet morning, with a light snow softly falling around us.
The truly wonderful end to this story is that I had a Christmas cactus that I had rescued from a male coworker about six or seven years ago and it resided on the sill of my kitchen window. The darn thing never had more than one or two blooms on it in all the years I had it, and I saw it a million times a day. When I walked in the house after the vet left, crying my eyes out, I looked at that cactus and it had exploded in blooms! There were so many that it was hard to see any greenery of the plant. If it had had that many buds on it, I would have noticed something like that immediately! I know that Galahad was telling me that I had made the right decision and he had been reborn into a beautiful life. Those blooms remained on that plant for a full month! This year, we were back to our same two blooms.