He came to me in 1999, a
throw-away who had been turned out to pasture with a herd of mares who chased
him away from the hay they were occasionally given. There was no grass on
which to graze and only dirty water. His hooves were grown so long and broken,
his coat patchy and crusty, ribs showing. He was painfully shy (and we named
him Shyboy Luke), but when he looked up at me fearfully, his huge liquid
eyes caught my soul, and I was his.
Over the next 2 years my
husband and I worked hard to slowly restore him. Gradually he reached his
optimum weight. He suffered horribly from gnat and fly allergies, and that
battle consumed much time and resources, but was finally won. His coat was
thick, full and shining. He loved to be groomed and was happiest with his
head buried in one's chest. A rather small boy, at 15 hh his head was the
perfect fit to hang over my shoulder for a hug. And he was free with them.
He had about 3 teeth, so 4 times a day over the last 7 years he received
a special mash of grain and ground alfalfa. Over the years he bounced back
from many ailments, and several times came back from death's door.
Finally, at the end, he succumbed
to a viral infection. We tried many treatments over several days, till he
told me in his way that he'd had enough. His right knee was buckled with
arthritis as well. He had been well loved and cared for and was ready to
go. It broke my heart but I had to be with him to the end. I held his head
against my chest, just as he'd always loved, and whispered to him of
He understood and gracefully
his spirit left his earthbound form. He is free now, free from pain and free
from restraint. I will forever be grateful to have shared my life with him,
to have been able to make his last years healthy and loving.