After many years of no riding, I decided to take lessons to refresh my memory and lack of skills, along with my youngest son, Ken. Start from the ground up as it were. In December 2005, I arrived at Misty Grove Stables in Concord, NC, and met Miss Crystal. I was so excited about getting back up on a horse again, I could remember how to tack up. You see, since I was a wee girl I’ve wanted a horse of my own – specifically a white Arabian. When I was 7, my dad gave me a Breyer-like model of an Arabian foal. I still have it packed away somewhere.
Lo and behold, the horse assigned to me that first day was a flea-bitten grey Arabian, better known as Gypsy. He usually worked in the English classes, jumping, cantering, trotting, but also moonlighted in the Western classes. Lucky me! There he was, my dream horse I always wanted.
My son drew a Quarter Horse called Fella, aka, Doc Bars Foxy Fellow. He fell in love with Fella, I fell in love with Gypsy, and when both of them became available For Sale, I was there quicker than a bee to honey!
I spent many hours with Gypsy, just letting him graze while I proudly watched and listened to all the nuances that horses have. Once we moved to Barr W Stables, we went on trail rides, we rode in the arena and we worked in the round pen. He may have been a senior horse, but looking at him one would not have been certain. He was your typical Arabian, and he loved to show himself. And I loved him more than words could ever express. Didn’t matter if I rode him or just hung out – he was my dream horse and best animal friend. He could look at me with those big brown eyes and I would melt. Treats were regularly given…horse treats, apples, carrots and lots and lots of love.
He had a couple of bouts of colic, and what I refer to as a sprained ankle that landed him on stall rest for a month, but other than that he was fine. Until this afternoon. Ken called me at work around 4:15 to tell me Gypsy was colicking and it was a bad episode. I called the vet, Dr. Amy Betka, who has been taking care of Gypsy and Fella for some years now.
By the time I arrived at the barn after work, I could tell he wasn’t any better. I had never seen him look so sad, depressed and just full of pain. Banamine didn’t work, neither did another pain med; he had reflux through his nasogastric tube, and he just wanted to lie down. After another hour, it was apparent Gypsy was not getting better, his heart rate was increasing and at one point he literally fell down.
The moment in time I have dreaded had arrived and it was time for a decision. Being 28 years old, and not responding to pain meds more or less cancelled the option to transport to NC State for possible surgery. Which surgery was not even a certainty until tests and scans had been run. Then there is the financial consideration of an expensive surgery with no guarantee that he would be able to survive or recuperate. A long road of recovery ahead, and months of stall rest if he did make it. I couldn’t do that to my beloved Gypsy, and there comes a time when it is time to end the pain and let him go to Rainbow Bridge.
It’s only been 4+ hours but I have missed him every second. I know when I go to the barn, I will only see one guy happy to see me – Fella. I suppose the heartache will be less as time goes by, but my memories, and my love, will never ebb.
Gypsy, you were the best boy ever, my “noble companion.” I love you, forever. Hope I see you at Rainbow Bridge. God Speed, Gypsy.
Karen Van Allen
A stubborn horse walks behind you, an impatient horse walks in front of you, but a noble companion walks beside you.