2 FEB 1989 – 4 AUG 2017
Scarlet’s doctor and I have decided to let her go across the bridge to Summer-land this Friday. Her old injury has caught up and she’s only on three legs now. She won’t even let me touch her right rear leg to brush it. I will go out early and she will gorge on baby carrots. I will groom her and talk to her and love on her.
How do you say goodbye to your best friend of 28 years? But she’s in pain and losing weight. She has never starved, never been overworked, never been beaten and never done a mean thing. We’ve laughed together and I’ve cried on her neck through the death of others I’ve been entrusted with.
I will get another horse, but not another colt, an older settled one. At 64, I don’t want to leave any orphans in my wake. And of course, she will leave very large hoof-prints on this earth to fill and in my heart. She is irreplaceable.
Some people say I rescued her. She was born solid red in a spotted Appaloosa world. She is bred to the purple, being a Great Granddaughter of Prince Plaudit and a Granddaughter of Colida. Her half brother, Impressive Powder won both World and National Reining Championships, Her half sister Powder Puff, won Texas Junior Reining horse and probably more I don’t know of. There were more, but I lost track of them when we moved to a boarding stable. But I think, she rescued me.
Scarlet was primarily raised to be my trail horse as the Appaloosa Horse Club didn’t allow showing of solid colored horses back in the 90s. We did a lot of trail riding and even a little endurance racing for fun. But her real job was to take care of me when I returned from Desert Storm with pulmonary problems and other issues. The joke around the stable was she cough broke, cane broke, crutch broke and cast broke.
At one point, we went a whole year without riding. When I did manage a saddle again, it was like we’d never stopped except of course I was heavier and slower. Since she was reining/cutting bred I occasionally left the saddle but she never left me behind. Scarlet would always wait for me to get up and get back on. She would stop, turn and berate me for embarrassing her in front of other horses. She also was sharp at chasing dogs who thought horses should run away. A true warrior in every way, she always carried the Appaloosa spirit whether chasing a dog, standing up to a running herd of cows or facing down a llama.
After abandoning the Appy people (who wouldn’t let us play with them), We turned to the welcoming arms of the American Indian Horse Registry. We never made a show or trail-ride with them because by now we were both a little to old to haul for hours to go to a function. But Scarlet and I excelled at Counting Coup and Trail-riding ultimately winning the Hall of Fame Award for their group. Not bad for a filly who was a misfit in her own bloodlines.
But three years ago, after a wonderful fall ride, she got cast in her stall and tore muscles in her right hind leg. I could tell she wasn’t ready to leave yet. After her initial recovery while she could trot out and even canter a bit but she was never stable enough to carry a rider. So I found her two places with two lovely ladies one after the other. Stacy Kirgen and her kids patted her and praised her while I took care of my Mom who passed in 2015. And when they moved their farm to another state, she introduced me to Kristen Brewer of Skull Crossing Ranch. There Scarlet has spent her last year standing under the beautiful Live Oak trees in her ½ acre pen.
But the time has come, my beauty, for you to cross the bridge leaving behind your old, aching body. You can run and play in green grass meeting my other horses who have passed before you. Say hello to Mike, Shadow, Charro, Flash, and Chili. You may even see your mother Spur’s Carrie Nation, your sire R Plaudit’s Bingo and your big brother Impressive Powder. You can tell them of our adventures at Bandera, Perdenales Falls and the many other trail adventures. May you all run free and happy in the tall grass. Play in the sweet water lakes and stand under the shade of the tree of knowledge.
Wait for me my darling. We will meet again.
You never hurt me until you left me.