Gem Dandy

There was his face on a rescue website. He was supposed to be sent to slaughter. He looked like he had mud caked all over his body.

I knew I had to go get him. He was not sound, and they couldn't promise he'll ever be a sound riding horse, but it didn't matter to me. I knew I had to have him come live the rest of his life with me.

The day I walked into his pen, put the halter on him, and whispered in his ear, "Let's go home.", he marched right past me until he reached the end of the leadrope, turned around and looked at me like he was saying, "Well, what are YOU waiting for?". I knew I had found an old soul.

It took me 2.5 hours and 1 bottle of Cowboy Magic to get his mane and tail untangled, and we had to cut some of his fur off because he was so matted. Poor guy, until he shed out, he looked like a kid who got a really bad hair cut from his mom...he had about 2 inches of mud caked onto his hooves that even with soaking, it took the hoofpick to get it off.

Gem Dandy was with me for 3.5 years. He got me through a major surgery and a bad marriage that ended in a divorce. He was always there for me. Every time I walked out in the pasture, he walked up to me, as if he knew I needed a hug.

He was never 100% sound, but he was sound enough to take me bareback down to the mailbox every day. That was our little fun time we had. He went to a few fun shows and won ribbons in every class he took. Was he the best? No, but the judges always said we had the most fun, and he looked like he really enjoyed himself.

In the winter of 2006, his feet had gotten worse, and by spring he was diagnosed with Accute Lower Laminitis. In June of 2006, I had to go out of the country on business. I called home and was told he wasn't doing well. My vet, whom I called right away, went to check on him and said that she could make him comfortable enough until I got home a few days later. I came home on a Thursday night. He could barely walk and had been laying down a lot. But he still had that fight in his eyes.

On Sunday, I walked out to him and we had a chat. I told him that as long as he was fighting, I was going to fight with him. But if he was ready to go, he would have to let me know, I was going to be okay. I told him that seeing him in pain hurt me more than if I had to let him go.

I had just 2 weeks earlier gotten another rescue (Arrow) delivered, and to this day, I'm sure Gem waited for the right horse to take his place. That afternoon, I walked back out to the pasture to check on Gem. He was laying down, and when I called, he didn't lift his head like he usually did. I looked him in the eye and knew it was time. We had to say goodbye.

The vet was out within the hour. Arrow, the new rescue, was at Gem's head the whole time, nuzzling him. I have never seen horses say goodbye until that day. I layed with him for a little bit, just wanted to get that last hug in.

We covered him up so he would not be bothered by any coyotes, put the other horses in the barn. And while I was looking at Arrow, who was now in Gem's stall, I saw a shadow outside. I looked out, didn't see anything, except some dust in the air (it was a hot, no-wind day). I knew then Gem was okay, that was Fathers Day, June 18, 2006!

I still miss him, I still cry when I talk about him. I know he had an awesome rest of his life with me, and I know I had the best 3.5 years of my life with him.

RIP June 18, 2006

Name Index
Return to Hoofprints On My Heart home.

Copyright © 2008 Hoofbeats In Heaven. All rights reserved.
Text and photos may not be reproduced in any form.