|Posted by Kimberly Bench on July 6, 2012 at 10:05 AM|
Yesterday I did was what quite possibly one of the most difficult things I've ever had to do; I said goodbye to a very dear friend, my old school horse, Timmy.
I first met Timmy when I started at Rockford Equestrian Center. It must have been in 2005. This horse did everything! He had been a reiner in his "previous" life before coming to REC to teach primarily Hunter/Jumpers to a myeriad of children and adult riders. I could trust this little horse (okay, not that little, 15.2 to be exact) to pack around ANY one safely.... but not without teaching them something during every ride. Eventually, he started helping me in Dressage lessons as well, and took more then one kid (young or old!) to thier very first show.
It could be said that Timmy preferred people over horses. He loved his humans. In the pasture he seemed to think his life should have been spent as a breeding stallion, and he loved to let all the other boys know that any girls around best be his. LOL It still makes me giggle to think about how he used to puff up as big as 15.2 allows and prance around. His very shrill, little girl like whinny never really helped his cause.
In the fall of 2011, I purchased Timmy from his former owner, Heidi Jackson, who was the owner of REC when I taught there. After I left the barn was sold and Timmy enjoyed a life of liesure at Heidi's new private barn.
When I called her and asked if Timmy could rejoin my team as a school horse at my new barn, she kindly allowed me. I was thrilled. As students began to meet Timmy, they understood why I insisted on having HIM. He was the perfect school horse; He was safe enough for the most timid beginner but knew enough to challenge even more advanced riders. He had personality to spare. And he was the most beautiful copper penny red.
We struggled to keep Timmy sound from the moment he got to BMD. At first we thought he had sore feet, so we put shoes and pads on and started him on a hoof supplement. This seemed to help at first and he continued to work happily.
In early June Timmy made it to what was to be his only show with Team Benchmark. Betsy N, who rode Timmy 3 times a week since he came to the farm took him to Serenity Farms for an ADA show. They rode 3 tests and earned Grand Champion in thier Division. It was a proud moment then, but we couldn't have known how bitter-sweet it really was until now.
Eventually, it became harder to keep him sound and comfortable. Several visits to the vet yielded an injection into his coffin bone and a prescription for Adequan. Soon this didn't seem to manage the discomfort either.
Finally, x-rays confirmed our worst fear; untreatable and irreversable damage to the deep digital flexor tendon due to changes on the navicular bone. De-nerving the area was discussed but it was decided that the damage was already too significant.
The decision to euthanize was horrible. I spent many sleepless nights wondering if there could possibly be anything else done for him. We even tried an herbal supplement recommended by a vet in California, but it still couldn't manage his pain.
Timmy spent the last 4 weeks of his life 'wild mustang' style. Well, not quite, he did have a stall with a fan at night and 2 square meals a day. LOL But during the day he was out on our biggest, most lush pasture with his best friend, Prince. He got cold showers on hot days and stuffed full of cookies from myself and his adoring fans.
There have been a lot of special horses during my nearly 15 years working in the horse business. But I can confidently say that Timmy was truly a once in a lifetime horse and he will NEVER be forgotten by anyone who knew him. As word of his passing spread, I have recieved many messages of condolenses by people who knew him that I've never even met! There are probably a 1,000 riders spread in barns all over Michigan who learned to ride on the little copper red Quarter Horse with the Stud Muffin attitude.
My heart breaks over and over when I think of his empty stall and the very large shoes he leaves behind for a new horse to fill (actually, he had tiny little feet!) But knowing that my life was blessed with the presence of such an amazing animal soothes the pain a little. Just like with people, all too often the good ones die young. Timmy is no exception.
We will all love and miss you forever big man. I know that there is a place for animals in Heaven, so I'll see you on the other side some day. Please say hi to Remington for me.
Two Eyed Tim AKA "Timmy" 1993-2012