I would like to introduce you to two of my beloved friends, Cheyenne (red paint) and Princess (appaloosa). I got Princess in 1984 when she was approximately 5 years old. I loved her from the moment I laid eyes on her. A horse trader had just purchased her from a friend in North Carolina and she was so beautiful. I told my friend if they ever decided to get rid of her - to please let me know. That took about a year when they called me one day to say if I wanted that horse she was up for sale. As was normal for us , we were short on money so my dear husband sold one of his guns to get the money. The morning we were leaving to go pick her up I was doing chores and I fell off the back of the truck throwing off hay and I cracked my ankle. I was in so much pain for the duration of the trip . When we arrived at our destination I was scanning the area looking for the face of the horse that had won my heart and I just could not see her anywhere on this man's property. There was a horse that looked like a mud statue standing up to her knees in mire and gone was her lovely mane - shaved off - gone, and she was so thin. I could not believe this was the same magical animal I had laid my eyes on a year past. I almost backed out of the deal, but we loaded her up and I covered her with a blanket so she would not get chilled and get sick on our 3 hour ride home. She was very happy to finally step off of the little horse trailer and into a pasture with a creek running through it. That night it rained and the next morning at least she was closer to the color I had remembered , but her mane never did grow back in full - it was always a skimpy little piece of hair here and there. After 4 months of nice pasture to graze on she filled back out and my main joy was watching her fly through the pasture with that lovely head up high and her tail in the breeze. She would come to a stop and rear and snort at imagined monsters and throw her tail up in the air and be off again - just so full of herself and enjoying life. I always loved to take her treats and just soak up the horsey smell that was like a perfume to me. Just looking at her made my heart beat with joy - she was so beautiful and so happy just being a horse.
I read the history of the appaloosa and discovered the Nez Perce people of the American Pacific Northwest developed the American breed.Then at the end of one of the Indian Wars the white man herded all they could find into a gully and shot them all to death.It absolutely broke my heart - yet here I had one of these magical creatures in my pasture - just making my life better by her presence.
Cheyenne came into our lives MANY years later when Princess was an elderly horse . I ran into a young lady who had rescued her from a "wantabe" cowboy who had abused her-broken her spirit and her body. From some injuries she sustained she could not raise her head up straight - only half way up. Nickie was looking for a home to retire her in since she was 29 when we got her.She and Princess became fast friends and when Princess lost the sight in one of her eyes - Cheyenne took over and became her "guide" leading her away from dangers. They were the best of buds as they roamed the pasture and drank clean water from the free flowing creek.
This went on for 7 years and then last February Princess started going down hill and in a weeks time she was gone from me. I was so devasted and I cried for weeks on end. My beloved dream come true was gone. Then Cheyenne started grieving also and she lost weight. It was horrible. I thought when the green grass came in maybe she would do better and she did for a while. But then this week we had some torrential rains and one night she slipped and fell , ending up where she could not right herself. We found her that morning and we got her turned , but she was too stiff to get to her feet. I checked her mouth to see if she was going into shock and that was when I discovered that she had lost most of her teeth during the Winter and Spring - so I knew it was a hopeless battle , no reason to put her through anymore. I called the vet and a wonderful lady vet came to set her spirit free.
Once again my heart was broken. When you have had animals in your life that long -they become a part of you. I was already in counseling because of post tramatic stress from a car accident where a teenager had hit hubby and I head on - And - this couselor introduced me to "The Rainbow Bridege" , where animals go to be in perfect health to wait to be reunited with human friends and that helped to ease my broken heart. They were my beloved friends and my tears still fall for them, but I was so lucky to have their love in my life. It is just hard for us that are left behind - whether from 4 legged or 2 legged loves gone on.