Monday, February 7, 2011

The Arabians, the Quarter Horses, and the Journey Final Chapter

The story begins here.

I was extremely picky as to who would be able to take my Koalty-man home. They had to absolutely guarantee me that he would never be ridden, and be kept in the best conditions until he finally passed. The third woman interested owned a breeding facility in Yakima. She wanted to use Koalt as an "Uncle" to the weaned babies. I thought Koalt would love that idea. He was a very young at heart horse, and I knew he would love to play with the young horses and teach them how to be a horse. I agreed, and we set a date for her to pick him up.

I awaited her arrival with my Dad. I was housesitting for J at the time, so got to spend lots of time with Koalt that morning, crying throughout it all as I fed him breakfast for the last time, and thoroughly groomed him in the indoor arena. She arrived on a grey day in June with a beautiful aluminum goosneck trailer, and clean padded shipping boots ready for Koalt. I will never forget the look in his eyes when she took the lead rope from my hands. Koalt stood outside back of the open trailer. Standing firm for a moment, unusual for him as he was always an easy loader. She tugged on the line gently, and he looked over his back at me standing behind him. He met my eye with a steady gaze. He sighed, and loaded onto the immaculent trailer. And then it began to rain.

She pulled the trailer down the long drive slowly, and I stood in J's living room window, watching as it finally turned the last corner. My Dad followed soon after. And I lapsed into hysterical sobs.


I realized that I didnt give a great description of who Koalt was. While the photos speak for themselves on what he looked like, they dont give the inner workings of the horse that Koalt was. Koalt was a very young horse at heart. The journey I had with him was amazing. He was an angry, used up lesson horse who really didnt care for people at all. Over the course of gentle persistent work by a young girl, he transformed into a huge teddy bear of a horse.  He could cuddle the best of any horse Ive ever known, loved Twizlers, and was loved by all who met him. He was patient, he tried hard, and he knew who his Mom was. He could be jealous at times, but never stubborn. He taught me more things than I could ever recount. I would not be who I am today without the aid of that truly special gelding.

I am extremely saddened to say, that I havent been able to keep tabs on him. I was in contact with the owner for about six months after she took him, even sending some photos. Then she stopped responding to my emails. I can only hope that Koalt, who would now be 24, is living a happy life in Yakima still.

When depicting this story to others, I always mention how I feel that I failed Koalt. It was and is my responsibility as a horse owner to see to it that any horse under may care receives the best possible care until they finally pass. With the lack of knowledge at present as to the exact status of Koalt makes me feel extremely guilty. I solemny have sworn that such fate will not happen to Milo. I will not make the same mistakes twice.

I find some solace however, in the knowledge that Koalt was swapped from ownership, to ownership. And I suspect he doesnt feel betrayed by me. I assume that in the first few months he was in his new home, he wonderd where that sparky kid was and when she would come see him. But after three years now, I think he has simply  concluded my time with him as just another page in his horse life. One can only hope.

My old friend, I recall
The times we had hanging on my wall
I wouldn't trade them for gold
Cause they laugh and they cry me
Somehow sanctify me
They're woven in the stories I have told
And tell again

My old friend, I apologize
For the years that have passed
Since the last time you and I
Dusted off those memories
But the running and the races
The people and the places
There's always somewhere else I had to be
Time gets slim, my old friend

My old friend, this song's for you
Cause a few simple verses
Was the least that I could do
To tell the world that you were here
Cause the love and the laughter
Will live on long after
All of the sadness and the tears
We'll meet again, my old friend
Goodbye, goodbye
Goodbye, goodbye
My old friend, my old friend
Goodbye, goodbye


Rising Rainbow said...

It would be so hard to part with a horse like Koalt but then to loose contact with the new owner. That would be torture.

I have a couple of old geldings I have passed onto other homes. Both of those owners keep in touch with me and I feel secure with that. But a couple of the young geldings I have sold I no longer have contact with those people and my heart breaks just thinking about them.

Sometimes I think I wasn't meant to be a breeder because I can't bear to part with the horses I love. Still when they find just the right home, it is somehow worth the heart ache giving them up as been.

I know that sobbing well, that comes after the transport is out of view. My only real solice is I've done the best by them I possibly could. Sounds to me like that's what you did for Koalt. You actually rehabilitated him from that grouchy untrusting horse back into the sweet loving horse he'd been born. You gave him the skills to one again be loved by other humans after you. I doubt any horse can ask for more than that, nor any breeder.

paint_horse_milo said...

Thanks for the kind words. This series was hard to make, as it brought up old painful memories. Especially when I went through my photo albums to pick which ones to post.

My BO has a hard time breeding too. She loves the foals every season (although not in the last two with this economy) but I know its hard on her when they leave. She in fact has tabs kept on all of her foals. In fact, I found on on criaglist by accident and sent it to her. She was so grateful as that was the only foal she wasnt able to track down. This is would the reason I couldnt breed. Simply because of what I went through with Koalt.

Angelina said...

Aww, you almost made me cry now... I can relate to how you feel, i sold my old Standardbred some years back, and i had to try three times, buy her back and sell her again, before i found someone who'd give her a good life.

I stopped responding to the new owner's text messages, because it hurt so much that i wasn't a part of her life anymore. Then when i finally contacted her, she said she'd tried to get a hold of me last year, to tell me that my old friend had slipped and fell on the ice, broken her hip and had to be put down. I was devastated. I feel so guilty that i couldn't keep her until she passed, so guilty to have sold her to someone so horrible that i had to buy her back, so guilty about every mistake i ever made, so guilty that i didn't keep in touch with the new owner. But she had a good life, with me and the other owners. It sounds like Koalt got a nice place to be as well, from how the trailer and equipment looked and that you got pictures from his first months there. You did the best you could, and it sure sounds like he'd get a great life at his new owner's place, being the cool uncle :o)