My Friend, Buddy

Where should I start.  He looked old, maybe a little sick, but soft in the eyes. You know that look that makes you smile.  He would do it to everyone, but who knew for $500.00. He hadn't been ridden in two years, but he did look sweet, so he came home.

We let him get settled for a day or two, then my wife would go to work with him. Oh, did I say that he was for my wife? Well, he was at first. So it was time to go to work. He looked nervous, so did my wife.  He was over 16hh. After an hour of him pulling her everywhere, we tacked him up. That's when he wasn't sweet anymore. He threw her off before she was on him.  So he needed more ground work.  No problem.

After another week of ground work, our oldest son, "The Cowboy", says, "I'll ride him, I think." Well, it did not work like he hoped. So I talked to some friends about who still cowboys for money so my wife can ride this horse. Well, no takers, so I got the job. But I can't ride him because I have a bad back.

So we played tug-o-war and I won, so we did things my way for a while.  It's been a month! So one morning, we got up, saddled him, lunged him forever, put him on a lead and walked my wife around the yard.  It was nice. Now it has been six weeks.  My wife found another horse that she can ride, so I had to buy a saddle.

He did everything I could ever want.  I could bend him like a snake, lay the reins on the horn and he neck-reined.  Didn't spook, ever.

My wife hated me because Buddy was gonna be hers.  But he picked me. What could I do.

We rode trails for almost a year.  Fell in love again like we were kids. After almost 20 years everything was going good.  
Then he stumbled. Never fell, stayed on his knees till I settled, then he stood up.  Seemed okay, but we kept the ride short. The next weekend, when I saddled, he reared and went over. So we did not ride.  I called the vet and she said he was okay, just take it easy for a while. That's when we saw him limp. We thought he hurt his back.  Went weeks without riding him. Just lovin' on him. That was his favorite thing...just a touch was okay.  But he loved to be loved.

He was not getting better.  In fact, he was getting worse.  No exercise, so we did a little ground work. Then he seemed better, so we saddled him up.  He tried to buck, so after he settled down, I got off.  We called the vet.  She came out, then she called a friend who's a vet.  They both said the same thing - E.P.M. We tried everything.  A lot of money, time, sleep, worry.  We did everything the vet said, plus anything we heard might work.  For two months, we all fought. We just wanted him to be able to walk without falling over.  Even Buddy was mad in the end. He bit his own hoof because it wouldn't work. That was December 13, 2007. Buddy went over the Bridge that night.  I know he is waiting there for me. That thought makes it easier, but not really.

How can a man love an animal that much?  I mean, he was a horse...not my wife or my kids or my best dog. I saw him almost every day.  Brushed him, did everything that had to be done for him. Played with him.  He did love games. We would play for hours...hide and seek, how low can you go. He loved games.
Now let's talk food.  Buddy would nicker and shake his head for grain, hay, cookies, carrots, apples, not watermelon or Peanut M&Ms.  Peanuts were okay, but not chocolate.

I miss my friend more then I can try to explain. It's like a hole that you just can't fill with anything else. I love to ride.  I have tried other horses, even my son's horse. It's just not the same. So I'll give it a break for a while and see how I feel. I know there is another horse for me.  He just hasn't found me yet.  After all, my last one found me.

Buddy, I will see you at the Bridge one day.  I miss you, love you and think about you every day.

Buddy's Friend,

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