A Lonely Horse

Three months ago, Cool, a horse I raised, died suddenly from acute colic.  Cool was a friendly, inquisitive character.  He investigated everything, knew when you forgot to shut a gate totally, knew how to open things, never missed anything that was occurring.  Fun and funny and well loved.


Cool, the other orphaned horse I raised.


So well loved in fact that the photo on the back of On the Rim of Wonder is of me holding his bridle while my friend’s exchange student from Austria, Klara Kamper rides him.  Apparently, I am not the only one who misses him.  Rosie, my other horse, decided this past week that she needed to be as close to the house as possible so she could see me through the window.  For the last several days, when I awaken, there she is complete with her nose prints on the window.




This morning I decided this had to stop for several reasons, one of which is that she is trampling all the flowers and grasses I have tried to grow in this caliche area.  It is also not easy to get her to leave.  I have to hike around the house and drive her reluctant self out along the edge of the canyon.  A fence around a propane tank covers part of the width between the house and canyon–the area through which she walks.  About fifteen feet in front of it a large old log sat mostly for decorative purposes.  It occurred to me that I could possibly move this back between the fence and house.  It is so heavy that to do so I had to pick up one end and move it six inches then go to the other end and do the same.  By doing this repeatedly, I did manage to move it.  However, a small gap on either side still existed.  Since horses can jump, she could jump the foot or so over it if determined.  I found another dead piece of juniper to put across the top and two old log pieces to put at either end.  Now I can only wait and see if this deters her.



When I return from my trip to Africa, I think I must find another horse to keep her company.  In the meantime, she must endure sadly.  Here are some photos of both of them when Cool was still alive and well.







While writing this, I heard neighing and checked to see.  Poor, sad Rosie stood at the other end of the obstacles I set up.  It was as if she were calling to me to please, please, please let her get back by the house.  I ignored her pleas.  Eventually she gave up and walked away.  Now I am just hoping that she does not find the little walkway by the garage that goes to the front door, which I frequently leave open for the summer breeze.  She would just walk into the house.



Cool Surf

Wednesday, I topped the little rise down the

long drive to my house.

Cool’s down, lying down,

not like a happy horse,

soaking up the afternoon sun.


Still dressed for work, I

rush, make him get up.

Instantly, I know, colic,

sadly go to the house,

change into jeans,

call the vet–he’s an

hour a way,

quirt banamine down Cool’s throat-

can’t hit his neck vein.

We walk and walk and walk,

waiting for the vet.

Cool’s hurting, distressed,

kicks my arm.

Vet and I load him in the

borrowed trailer as he

wobbles, half drugged.

Two giant bags drain into

his neck vein.

Vet listens, takes tests.

Result should read 2;

it reads 10.

In spite of hopeless odds,

the vet and staff work and

watch all night.

At 2:30 in the afternoon

a message on my cell phone:

Cool’s buried in the pasture with Miracle.

They’ve taken care of everything.

Stunned, trying not to cry at work.

Cool was fine when I left

Wednesday morning,

running the night before.

Stunned, remembering him as a baby,

the picture perfect paint.

Stunned, remembering how I

loved to watch him run,

head and tail up,

floating fast, joyous.

It’s Sunday now.

I walk out on my bedroom patio,

look up to his corral.

He always called to me, always.

Today, all I hear is the sound of silence.


Cool, the other orphaned horse I raised.



The phone rings.

“Star’s dead.  There’s blood everywhere.

He’s hanging from the gate.

Blood is all over Rosie’s face.

It’s dreadful.”

A tear choked voice.

“You can’t bring D’mitri home.”

D’mitri’s nine.  Star belongs to him.

Shock, tears, disbelief.

Last night he ran, bucked, reared,

chased around, playing.


The pen’s all pipe, no sharp edges,

nothing harmful, consistently inspected.

D’mitri goes home with me.  He says,

“Nana, I have to see him;

I have to know what happened.”

Slowly, in dread, we walk behind the barn.

Star’s hanging by one hoof in the three inch

space between the gate and fence,

ankle broken.

The blood covered fence, gate, and ground

stare at me.

It’s hot, his body’s stiff.

He must be moved.

The coyotes will come in the night,

drawn by the smell of blood, of death.

The neighbor brings his big, red tractor;

a wench pulls Star’s young body free,

and gently lays him on the cold, grey, barn floor.

His shining copper coat no longer shines.

D’mitri and I remember bottle feeding him

after Miracle died, teaching him to lead.

We stare at Star’s body in disbelief.

Kindly, the neighbor says,

“He died quick, femoral artery cut by bone,

bled out.”

For hours Rosie and Cool stand at the spot

where Star died.

They do not even leave to eat alfalfa.

It takes me hours to wash away the blood.

It took D’mitri ten months to go back to the barn,

to ride Rosie again.

Miracle and Star as a newborn



Note:  This is a photo of Star and Miracle in July 2010 shortly after Star’s birth.  Miracle died of colic three days later.  Star died last May.