My Horse’s Wish
Could you bed me down
On the soft sweet words
Could you ride me in
With hands light as
Could you teach me with
By the laws of just
Could you be my friend
With a trust so true
Could you meet me on
With grasses green
Could you free me with
On the plains of loam
Could you say farewell
On the day my life is through...
And remember me
As I shall remember
Barbara Dunne Reeves 1998
We lost a gentle and well-minded mare named Lucy on Sunday, July 29th. Her foal, Carrie, is nearly old enough to be weaned. The experience that so many people shared in trying to save Lucy's life needs to be recognized and shared with all those whose lives which have been touched by experience with horses.
Saturday afternoon Juan found Lucy down and couldn't get her up. We were at Idyllwild riding (a fabulous time, Tiger was great, wonderful time with Bernie, Pop and Geri). Chris Harth was at the ranch and helped in contacting Craig Chandler who diagnosed a neurological problem of unknown cause which resulted in profound hind end weakness. His prognosis was dire.
We came home late Saturday night and with effort were able to get her up again (Craig had instructed us). In the morning we weren't able to get her up and were resolved to put her down; when Craig arrived he concurred but with his help we got her up. It bought her another 12 hours to watch and treat. He gave her more steroids, DMSO and bute and instructions to get her up every two hours. She seemed to be doing better midday, staying up and with better balance between 11-1:30. We were hopeful.
Bernie and I went to a fraternity reunion at 2, returning at 3:30. We got her up with more difficulty and for a short time and the last time. Vickie and John were there. Chris Fleury (a boarder who is a nurse) was there all day helping (get me water, keep me company, offer support). Carrie had been nursing as able with Lucy down or up, getting frustrated as there was less milk, but still trying and getting some.
From the beginning to the end Lucy was eager to eat and drink, munching hay that we filled her corral with. Later Chris Harth arrived and stayed. Lucy became more weak, her hind legs blocked rather than helped in our efforts to help her up. Each effort took more out of her. We had lots of help but to no avail.
We called Craig about 6:00, Bernie dug the hole, I sat with Lucy (and Carrie lying along side) until Craig arrived about 8. Patty and Larry arrived soon after. She went peacefully, and our efforts have turned to helping Carrie. Bernie had gone down earlier to get Foal Lac pellets (which she doesn't like). We are keeping her in the home she knows
with the smells of her mother and Bordeaux next to her.
As Carrie starts eating better, we'll move Choctaw with her. Carrie loves the water bucket, playing in the water (we nicknamed her Baleen as she sifts hay out of the water). We left her mother's manure as she seems to find comfort standing by it.
It's heart breaking. So sudden and tragic. Carrie will be fine. Bernie and Juan raised an orphan 10 day old filly. It's just so hard to believe what has happened. I will miss Lucy and all the rides I dreamed of that won't be...
Dillon and Erika
Dillon and Gen
Dillon and granddaughter Katie
Dillon came to me from Bernie's friend Keith
Kaeser who had ridden Dillon from the time he
was a youngster, especially enjoying times
with his buddy Jimmie Foster and the Wilderness
Riders in the Sierras. Dillon was a
wonderful teacher, building confidence and
introducing many to the way of the horse.
On Friday, as Bernie and I were enjoying my
Stanford reunion, we received a call that Dillon
was colicking. Fred was at the ranch helping
Juan. The vet arrived to find Dillon in pretty
bad shape, wanting to be down. When Dillon got up
with Jeannie's encouragement,,
he was uncoordinated as if he’d had a stroke or
something was wrong neurologically. Despite all
efforts by our wonderful vet he continued to get
worse. With Jean (who was staying at our horse
keeping the dogs company) and Jeannie (who has
been leasing Dillon from me) present, Dillon was
put out of his suffering. His buddies from his
pasture were brought down to say goodbye.
Jeannie put his halter over the gate to his
pasture with a black ribbon and cut off some
tail and mane hair to keep as a memento. He
was only 11 years old and had helped so many
people in his short life.
I am so sorry to hear about Dillon. I called
the ranch last night to leave a message for
Bernie about riding on Monday and Fred answered
hanging up with Fred I called Chuck in Hawaii
and told him the sad news. As I sit here this
morning my thoughts are surrounded by the
incredible memories of Dillon. I know he has
touched many people's lives over the years. I
can't speak for Chuck but I know he had a major
impact on Chuck's love for horses. Since
boarding our horses with you, he has been that
horse that has allowed my family and friends to
come to Oakzanita and experience the beauty of
your ranch and experience the beauty on
horseback. He was so tolerant and willing and
patient for many people and many riders.
think of how much he brought to you
Peggy.....how much you gave to him, what a
blessing to have shared the time you have had
with him and many riders.
I will miss calling Prince and having Dillon be
the first one at the gate, willing to go! I
will miss watching the new riders working
through their fears while Dillon waits contently. I will miss seeing him and knowing exactly
who he is and how special he is. Dillon will
always be a horse that Chuck and I will remember
in our hearts and in our souls.
Dillon was the very first
horse I rode at your place during my visit with
Scott, Ed and Justyn (Rose Bowl trip).
I will never forget the
calm but smug attitude of Dillon especially when
he wanted to nip on some food :)
I really am sorry to hear what happened to
Dillon, especially because he is the only horse
that I have ever rode so far.
I always think of him and smile when I look back
at the pictures I have with him.
I had a very good ride, and I could really feel
the connection. He would listen to me and I
would listen to him.
I will always miss Dillon, and I know that
whenever I see horses I think of him as my
In memory of Dillon....
Dillon’s name could have been “Old Faithful.”
It seemed that whatever someone needed him to
be, he would take that into account, see if he
agreed, and then come to some place of
understanding as to how this relationship was
going to evolve.
I’m recalling three different folks who had
leased him and to whom Dillon, in his wisdom,
presented three seemingly different horses. The
first was a long time rider from the show world
who was used to high spirited horses in the show
arena. She had never experienced caring for a
horse or riding trails. Her perception was that
Dillon was slow and non-responsive to her cues.
For some of us, it looked as if Dillon was
absolutely taking care of a fearful rider in a
variety of new situations.
The second was Chuck....Rita has already talked
about that. My memory is of being on the fire
road in back of Bernie and Peggy’s place, and in
the distance we saw a horse and rider galloping
with great ease and joy, no runaway this pair.
As we drew closer, there was Dillon and Chuck,
just out for a Saturday morning romp. Chuck
with a great grin on his face and Dillon looking
mighty fine and happy.
The third is Jeannie and the memory of a
continually evolving relationship between
Jeannie and Dillon. As a new rider, it seemed
that each time Jeannie was ready, in Dillon’s
understanding, to learn a new facet of
horse/human dynamic, he would present that
opportunity. Jeannie, in turn, gave Dillon the
consistent care and time in the saddle to meet
his concerns. It was a pleasure for all of us
to watch their progress.
Dillon and his “Old Faithful” self will be
missed and remembered. I am so grateful for the
opportunity to know these wonderful beings and
for Peggy and Bernie who continue to “hang in
there” with all of us on this journey to
no words can express my sorrow over your loss. dillon was an amazing horse. he was so beautiful and gentle. and he was such an amazingly patient and kind teacher. i know that
gen is mourning him terribly. even though he only met him once, he felt like dillon taught him so much in one short lesson. we both cried when we heard.