March 1985 - September 15,
This hurts so much. Drifter was the cowhorse no one understood. I
got him in a trade with a friend who didn't understand him. He
was "hot"...but he was also the most intelligent animal I have ever known.
He could undo any gate latch, untie all the other horses in the trailer,
liberate himself in a moment of sneakiness you never saw coming. He was also
the best horse I have ever ridden. He was proud, and had a gigantic
ego, but was gentle and forgiving if need be. The power under that shiny
bay skin was awe-inspiring. He could spin like a top and you could feel the
real estate part when he slid.
We were troubled youths together. I can't count the times
I spent crying over something into his mane. The horse that friends
thought was a mind-blown runaway stood statue still with no bridle or saddle
and somehow knew. We went everywhere, did everything and won a little.
We were so close, knew each others thoughts, and understood our work to the
point where a simple notion would result in a slide, lead change or transition.
He put up with my pathetic roping efforts in the branding pen...I am sure
he is still laughing. Drifter laughed at me all the time...especially when
it was time to be caught. It was an ongoing theme in our
relationship...I pursue - he ran - bucking, kicking and squealing in joy.
Several times, he had saved my life out on the trail, in front of attacking
Our last ride was great...this summer was great. Somewhere
in the back of my mind, I had an idea this was coming...I felt the shadow
of loss lurking. Our last show was one of the best patterns we ever ran...we
didn't win, but my happiness was complete in how much I loved my horse, how
hard he tried for me. He never gave less than all. Our last ride
was perfect. The weather spectacular, no rush, no worries. We
went cutting at a friend's house on her buffalo. Drifter was very fresh and
showed it in spectacular leaps and jumps on his ends before he settled down
and cut proper. One of those jumps of joy caused a blood clot to part of
his small intestine. When I got home from work the next day, my beautiful
horse I shared 13 years with was dying. I knew it when I saw him. The
amount of blood he was scouring confirmed this. His pasture mates knew also
and and wouldn't leave his side. For the first time in 13 years of
hauling, he refused to get in the trailer. He knew also...my heart
broke when I got a little crop out and tried to get my horse in the trailer.
He just looked at me with sadness, he knew he couldn't do it.
I was able to back the trailer in a ditch and load him. The vet's
call two hours later brought no surprises. He was dying and his blood
was thickening to mud.
It's said God gives you no task you can't handle. I'll
have to believe that for now...I don't know yet. God gave me my horse in
the first place, so he was God's to take. I was blessed, even
up to the end with Drifter. He held on till I was able to drive the
25 miles back into town. He was barely standing when I arrived, the vet was
amazed he lasted that long. He was less than an hour away from death.
His beautiful mind was still there and his ears were up. I am
blessed in that I don't believe my horse suffered greatly. Drifty never suffered
like a colicking horse did, his beautiful coat was clean, shining and unmarred,
there was no panic, no agony, no terror...he knew and was ready, peaceful,
dignified and still standing.
God let me say goodbye to my best friend, God must have known I couldn't
bear to see my best friend suffer. God let me be there with him - I owed
him so much more - being there was the most I could do. God blessed him with
a gentle and fear-free passing. Horses are rarely given those gifts, and
my heart breaks for my friends who have lost their horses so violently. It's
the worst thing you can experience.
I am so lonesome. I know he's gone, I know there was nothing
I could have done, but I MISS HIM SO MUCH. I feel a little guilty,
he was my soulmate and I feel callous by this comparison, but losing him
was like losing a person or a child. People at work try to understand, and
my close friends have an idea but this is so painful. I feel like part of
my soul has died.
Thank you for this site...I feel like someone understands. Exactly
a week and 30 minutes ago, I held my Drifter as he went wherever it is horses
go to. I know he had a soul and I know it went somewhere...because he seemed
to have an idea where that was when he left. God must love all His
creation...and I don't know what I did to deserve one of His best works,
but I can't thank Him enough. I love you, Drifty and I miss you so
much. Thank you for being my best friend.