Exceleratorr, or as he was known around the barn and local shows, Xman, came to live with us as a 14 year old horse. We were for the most part his retirement home. Xman had spent his life as a class A show horse, and show horse he was. He was a reserve National Champion and several times throughout his show career had been in the Top 10 at Arabian Nationals. We were friends with his show owner and when she decided that he was no longer class A caliber she decided to sell him. Well, in a strange round about way we ended up buying him.
My son had been riding and had shown him a few times in walk and trot classes at a couple local shows while he was being sold, and needless to say my son fell in love with him. When the original sale fell through due to Xman failing the lameness exam we talked the seller into cutting the price a lot and we bought him for my son.
We had a lot to learn about this old boy and he had a lot to learn about life as a non-class A show horse. From what we could tell, Xman had not had a lot of just fun in his life, not to say that he had been abused, but just a show horse, do your job and go want for the next day to do your job again. When Xman came to live with us we weren’t sure he had even eaten much grass, he wasn’t sure about putting his head down to get it. We spent some time picking it and giving it to him by hand. Within the first week of us having him he got to go out and play in the outside ring with another horse, he snorted and blew and my old faithful Arabian Surroban just looked at him like “Really, eat or you will miss out”.
Xman was very sway back and had been as long as I had known him, but he was such a beauty that it obviously didn’t matter. I think that the sway back and silly personality that we ended up learning he had is why he and my son became such quick buddies. My son Patrick is Autistic and has a severe curvature of his spine. We had gotten him a Welsh pony to play with and he was fast outgrowing the pony so that is why he had started to show Xman.
As time went by Xman really began to bloom in his personality that I don’t think he had ever really been allowed to have. He was an expert at opening stall doors, and he didn’t want to have fun all by himself he would go let everyone else out too, except for the lead mare, he was smart enough to leave her in her stall. The best way that I can describe Xman was happy, he ALWAYS seemed happy, no matter what you were asking him to do, or if his feet hurt that day he always had his ears up and eyes bright. Of course he loved treats, strawberry pop tarts were one of his favorites but pretty much anything we were eating he felt entitled to at least be allowed a bite.
As Xman aged he became my go-to lesson horse, he had the best canter of any of my horses. I am sure that was due to so many years of perfect training but again it was just part of his personality, he wanted to please, and he loved to hear the kids laugh. Xman gave my son many hours of laughter, he taught Patrick to become an expert driver, and got him his first Class A ribbon at the American Royal, and their favorite class together was Arabian Native Costume, they got to hand gallop and the crowd would really cheer Patrick on because he was usually competing against his sister and her white Arabian that was undefeated for numerous years in Arabian Native Costume, the horses were best friends and of course the siblings loved the race and competition.
Last July Xman showed lameness one day when we went to work him, so we did the normal gave him some bute and usually after a day or two off Xman would be good for a month or two, just old worn out feet the shoer said. The Class A type showing is hard on a horses feet and legs, too many hours in a trailer and standing in stalls on concrete. This time he just didn’t get better, we called the vet out and he took Xrays and said Xman’s feet were sinking but he had an idea and wanted to know if we would be willing to try some new techniques where they make him shoes out of wood. We of course said yes, let's do it. Xman seemed to really do well with the wooden shoes, within a couple days of them being on he was trotting and even cantering when turned out in the soft arena.
The new shoes seemed to be a miracle but it only lasted for about 6 months and Xman started showing signs of lameness again. Resets and adjustments of the shoes would buy us a few weeks but eventually the vet said the feet had sank to a critical level and there really wasn’t anything else that could be done. The wooden shoes were pulled off and we put our beautiful and gentle giant to rest on April 13th of 2012. And just like he always was he walked to his final resting place with ears up and bright eyes even though he could barley move. My husband fed him baby carrots and loved him and petted him till he took his last breath, my son and I had said goodbye that morning, we just felt it would be more than my son could handle, and I am glad that his last memories of Xman were sweet and happy.
Good bye my sweet gentle giant; I and the many children that you taught will forever miss you.