When a life ends…

Jazz Posing for the Ladies

Today we have to put down our Tennessee Walker stallion. He was coming on to four years old. We believe the timber wolf we have seen around the farm may have attacked or spooked the horses. The stallion ended up in the barb wire fence. It wrapped around his leg and sawed all the way around until the bone was exposed. By the time we caught the injury too many hours had passed with the bone exposed. The vet said there is nothing to graft and things would go down hill fast.

I hate barb wire. This was new fence; no saggy pieces.  I just hate using it but the cows go through everything else. If it is electric, they know when the power is off and they take the hit if they really want through.

We are so busy on the farm. The garden is ready to be put in. Getting the farmstead started is difficult and time consuming. I would not have it any other way, but, at this moment I am crushed. Jazz Cat is such a beautiful stallion. He is so quiet you would think him a gelding. I was so looking forward to beginning his training; getting the corral fixed and turned into a training pen. My niece and I have been discussing it all week. Now I have to go look my young stallion in the eye and tell him goodbye. It just knocks the heart right out of me, but, you have to keep on going.

When an animal must pass I tell myself I gave it a good life. Lots of pasture to run in and time to be as free as a horse can be. Cows, you know their time will come. I thank the animal for its sacrifice so I might eat. Even the deer and other wild game. I honor their life by not wasting. A horse, however, is different. He is a big fuzzy pal who lets me sit on him so we can go places. He listens to me chatter about all my problems then puts his head on my shoulder as if to say, “It’s all right. Come back with a carrot for our next session.”

It is so therapeutic to run a brush over his coat. When you stand back and see his long mane and tail laying so smooth and flowing you feel like you accomplished something. You take him for a ride and your neighbors “eww and aww.” You proudly put him back in the field and he trots right over to his favorite spot and rolls off all your hard work.

Jazz Cat and I will never know this relationship. We never got to ride together. I will miss the beauty of his painted face and marbled blue eye. Such a picturesque beauty destroyed in a single stroke; a butterfly caught in a bird’s beak. He has been swept away. There are two foals about to be brought into this world. I can only hope one of them is a colt with a blue eye and painted face. I don’t know if the mare running with him is pregnant, but there might be a third life. It’s small console, for none is like the original. I will miss seeing my Jazz streak through the field, his mane floating like a white banner and his tail a streaming flag.

Jazz Looking QuirkyI loved you, you big quirky gentle goof. May your foals be born healthy and just as goofy.

Author: cynthia queen

Living on a small farm just three miles short of the West Virginia border I am kept extremely busy with writing, working part time, remodeling our rental mobile homes and running the farm. I lived most of my life on the New York border in the Tyoga County backwoods. Our family has known nothing but hardship and scraping by. I bought this farm with the intent of bringing my family to a better place. I'm hoping my writing will begin to supplement the income and make bringing the family here a reality.