14.2 hh Welsh/Dartmoor pony
April 27, 1991 - March 21, 2011

Pyxus came into my life in December 2001 when I was 11.  I had a pony at the time who was just too much for me.  She was hot and spooky, and I fell off so often that by the end I was absolutely terrified of her.  It wasn’t her fault - again, she was just too much for me at the time.  I, being 11, was absolutely in love with my first pony, and as scared as I was of her, was sad to see her go. 

We found Pyxus one day by accident.  I had been searching for a new horse for about a month when I took the day off school to go look at a few with my trainer.  After looking at a few horses, we went to a barn to look at this little palomino pony.  She had a sweet face, but was built so downhill that every stride at the canter was quite literally a kick in the butt.  I took her over one small crossrail and was promptly ejected onto her neck.  Obviously, she wasn’t the horse for me.

Disappointed, my trainer and I brought her back to the cross ties to untack her.  It was then that my trainer spotted Pyxus.  He had been a show horse most of his life, but had been sent to this barn to be sold.  They quickly figured out what a great lesson horse he was (they claimed they put everyone on him, from 3 year olds just off the lead line to students jumping 3 ft courses), and stopped advertising him.  It showed. He was by no stretch of the imagination presentable.  It was the beginning of December and he hadn’t been shaved, so his polar bear-like coat was as thick as could be.  He was absolutely caked in mud, his halter looked like it had been chewed on to great lengths, and the first glimpse I caught of him was of him grabbing a hoof pick out of a girl’s hand.  The second glimpse was of Pyxus grabbing pieces of his bridle out of the same girl’s hand, reins disappearing far into his mouth while the poor girl struggled to recover her tack.  I can’t lie - I didn’t like him.  I was 11, what did I know?  But my trainer saw beyond the mud and the mouthiness, and insisted we try him.  I rode him and well...still didn’t like him.  I could barely get him to go, and when I did, it was slow as could be.  Still, my trainer loved him, and decided we should take him on trial.

And so we did.  I remember my trainer calling my mom the day he got in.  She told us simply, “You’re screwed.”.  My mom asked why and my trainer said, “Because he’s PERFECT, but so expensive.”.  Years later I had an animal communicator talk to Pyxus.  He told me that I didn’t pick him, that he picked me.  He said he saw me that day and knew that was her, that was the girl he had been waiting for, that’s the one he was going to spend the rest of his life with.  He worried he was too expensive for us, that we might not buy him because of that.  But once I got on that horse at home, there was no way I was ever giving him up.  My trainer was right - he was absolutely perfect.  He was sweet and kind, and I fell in love instantly.  But even more so, he was smart.  He knew how timid I was when it came to riding, and he was my babysitter.  He was never bad.  In fact, I don’t believe a bad thought ever crossed his mind.  Pyxus knew he had a job to do and he did it willingly and with great pleasure.  He made riding fun again, and frankly if I had never found him, I doubt I would have stuck with the sport.  I shudder to think what my life would have been had that pony never found me.

He had the kindest eyes and the loudest neigh of any horse I’ve ever met.  The second he saw me at the barn, he would start neighing until I came over to get him out.  No matter how awful my day got, the second I heard that pony’s neigh everything was magically better.  That’s just how much I loved him.  He was so beautiful, both inside and out.  I could sit and tell stories for hours and couldn’t possibly even begin to give you a taste of what this horse was like.  He was loved by horse people and non-horse people alike.  I always loved bringing people out to the barn and watching their amazement at how much personality Pyxus had.  He was so personable, yet never became obnoxious.  If I was holding him and talking to someone, he would set his muzzle on my shoulder and breathe into my ear until I turned around to give him attention.  He would follow me anywhere, whether haltered or not.  He was the king of pony rides, whether given to toddlers or adults.  He was simply the sweetest being, human or animal, that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.

I always put Pyxus first.  I visited him 5 days a week all through middle school and high school.  I remember dumping a boyfriend because he took too much of my time away from Pyxus.  Come college, I had to reduce it to 4 days a week, but I still went religiously.  Even if it was raining, I would go just to visit with him.  A day didn’t go by without me telling that pony how much I loved him.  We jumped and showed for a few years, but after a while he started refusing to jump.  Despite wanting to jump, I didn’t want to force him, nor did I want to get rid of him.  I had found my soulmate - I was never letting him go.  So Pyxus lived with me for years as my hacking pony, taking leisurely rides around our barn and occasionally on trail.  We went to the beach a few times and he while was unamused by the waves (he had a hard time processing the kayaks, too), as always, he did anything I asked of him.  I am so thankful I was able to give him this life for so long.  I know many show horses don’t get this, and are passed from owner to owner each time they are outgrown.  But I knew early on that Pyxus had found his forever home with me, and nothing was ever going to change that.  I did ride other horses on and off through the years, but they never compared to Pyxus.  No one ever could.

I had to put Pyxus down on March 21, 2011, just short of a month before his 20th birthday.  He had hemangiosarcoma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer.  I had always told Pyxus he was going to live till he was 40, with many of his later years spent in my backyard, giving my kids pony rides.  I had no idea anything was wrong until just two weeks before we had to put him down, and even then I didn’t think it was serious - a few nosebleeds here and there, nothing to worry about.  Thankfully he wasn’t in pain long.  We were able to take him to a wonderful equine hospital the night before he died, and I cannot stress enough how amazing the staff was.  They gave him every chance they possibly could, I can’t thank them enough.  I was with him late into the night and came back early in the morning to say goodbye.  I was able to hold his head as the vet gave him the injection.  He passed quickly and peacefully - he was ready to go.  All the while I whispered how much I loved and would miss him into his little ear.  I told him wherever he was going to wait for me, cause I would meet him there one day.  Upon the death of his first wife, Theodore Roosevelt said, “The light has gone out of my life.”.  When Pyxus passed on, those were the only words I could muster.

I can’t even say that fate dealt us a bad hand because fate gave us almost ten wonderful years together.  Without that pony my life would not have been what it is today.  From the day he stepped into my life, he changed me.  He taught me how to love and be loved, he taught me how to trust, how to laugh and how to cry.  When he was sick and things got hard, I couldn’t run away.  My baby needed me.  And no matter how hard it got to see him suffering, I knew that there were more important things than what I was feeling.  He taught me to be selfless.  I will never forget what a special connection Pyxus and I had.  He truly was my soulmate.  I have loved and been loved, and though the pain of losing him is like nothing I’ve ever known, the time we had together was nothing short of magical.  I doubt a day in my life will go by that I won’t think of Pyxus, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I’ll see you again one day baby, wait for me.

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