Bolivar Red

Rawhide's Lad was his registered name, but everyone I knew called him Bolivar Red. He was a registered Missouri Fox Trotter, with an extremely long head and a rust-red coat.

Bolivar came into my life when I was in fourth grade. I had confidence issues and was in a relatively new school. We already had horses, but I was too frightened to interact with any of them. Through our veterinarian, we heard of Mr. L. D. Dampier, and his 29 year-old arthritic fox-trotter who was in a pasture full of mares and in need of some TLC. Well, we didn't hit it off right when he arrived, but after a short while, I discovered how intelligent and meaningful horses could be.

Although he was marvelously old, we shared many happy trail-rides and horse shows, we even won a few prizes in gaited pleasure. Before I knew it, I was whispering secrets into his fuzzy ears and making hour-long trips to the barn just to groom and enjoy each other's company. He was a master of escape and let himself out of pastures, stalls, barns, and even into the garage! While I spent time with Bolli, my confidence and self-esteem rose, he was always willing to lend a floppy ear and would never criticize my drawn-out conversations. With him I discovered my passion for equines and would relate to him any new fact or break-through I learned of regarding horses. As far as I was concerned, we would be friends forever.

Eighth grade was a wonderful year, Bolivar and I had our pictures professionally taken and although 33 years old, he looked amazing. My parents and friends warned me how lucky I was, and that he might not be here much longer. I always nodded, but never took those comments to heart. My freshmen year of high school flew by, but my Red-man and I were as close as ever. The next year was different, between sports and friends, I hardly had any time to go to the barn, and did not realize just how precious those moments were, until they were gone.

Bolivar Red had to be put down on September 12, 2007, at the ripe old age of 35. He was affected by graves disease and had begun to look ill a few months prior. After his death I realized how much I depended on and truly loved him, although I knew it would come sooner or later, it was a crushing emotional blow. Bolivar is in my thoughts and prayers always and I will never, ever forget him. It hurts, but I know his time with me was a gift from God, and that he had filled his purpose on earth.

I know for a fact that the feisty old horse taught me many important life lessons, and that without him I would have been far worse off. I am so thankful for my time with him, and hope that wherever he is now, he can finally run free.

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