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Tess and Mayo

Posted by greygelding , 22 September 2017 · 134 views

It was time to unite the herd to the stable where Mayo was kept, but it would be bittersweet. About two weeks before the move, Pam went to see them and found that Shady was down and apparently had been for some time. The vet came out immediately and it wasn't good but we had to try. We rushed her to UC Davis and she was examined immediately. They were astonished that she was 32 years old and in such excellent condition. Unfortunately her condition was inoperable so with a great sense of loss we said goodbye to one of two horses we had for over 27 years. She was Tezza's and Tess's mother which compounded our loss. The rest of the herd was moved without problem but more trouble was unexpectedly right around the corner.

Bo was apparently a committed partner to Shady. We bought him shortly after we bought Shady and he was 33 years old when we lost her. Bo went into what seemed to be a depression. Our normally perky gelding was suddenly lacking in energy and no longer enjoying his arena time. We moved him into his new corral right next to Tess and we watched him carefully. Something we hadn't noticed was that his vision was going. One day we took Tess up to Mayo's stall for a bath. When she was washed I went down to get Bo. As we walked up the hill he started to call out. He never missed a step and continued to neigh. When we turned into Mayo's corral, Tess nickered to him, he perked right up and was instantly quiet. At that moment we realized that his vision was compromised even though he could manage his stall and playtime in the arena. His other big problem which was slowly worsening was his arthritis. After rolling in the arena, one of his favorite things to do, he would really struggle to get up. It was almost painful for us to watch him and we knew that it was becoming an issue. About 3 months after the loss of Shady we received a call from the boarding stable, Bo was down and couldn't get up. We told them to call the vet, they already had per my standing instructions, and we jumped in the car racing to the stable. On our arrival we found a crowd of stable workers, the vet, and the board owner standing over Bo who was stretched out in his stall. Working with the assembled cast, Pam and I tried our best to get him to his feet but he just couldn't. The vet gave the option of calling in a tow truck to try to winch him to his feet. My reply was "What about next time? No, he's had a good, long, happy life and it's time to say goodbye." I kneeled by his head, said my farewell, and then took Tess out of her stall for a walk. I placed her in with Mayo while the vet took care of business. While we were grieving we knew it was the way of senior horses, their time is short so you must care for and love them while you can.


Tess was Shady's last foal and she was Pam's horse. She allowed me to ride and play with her but she made it clear that Pam was her favorite person in the whole world. She was the embodiment of dominance deferring only to her mother. She took no notice as to breed, size, or gender of the horse, it would recognize her place as leader. She was smooth as glass to ride and extremely intelligent. Pushing around the footlocker in front of her stall was her speciality and if it wasn't locked, she would raid it for whatever was edible inside.
She could be argumentative on the trail but her biggest flaw was she would sometimes make bad decisions. The other thing she inherited from Shady was her loud neigh and once she arrived at the new boarding stable the other boarders found her annoying. As soon as she became aware of Pam's arrival she would sound off. If Pam didn't show up at her stall quick enough she would sound off again and when it was time for Pam to go home, she always said goodbye, loudly. As a trail ride on her required constant attention and Mayo was a very relaxing ride we would take turns with the horses when we would take a ride together.
On one of my solo rides with Mayo, we were riding a narrow mountain trail when I came upon a tree down across the trail. It was too big to step over so I decided that the best path was uphill to go around it. One should always listen to your horse as they just may know something you don't but in this case I didn't. He refused to go uphill and I kept insisting. He finally gave in and we started up the bank which quickly gave way spilling both of us on the trail. I smacked my head on the hard trail and found myself looking at the underside of the horse. He carefully stepped over me and took off at the gallop back down the trail. Before moving I too a quick inventory and other than a splitting headache I seemed fine. Quickly I realized he was heading toward a switchback in the trail then back to the stable. I could see the return trail below me so I slid down the hillside and waited in the trail for him. When he saw me he ran up to me, stopped so I could mount, and we headed home. Two important things came out of that, the first being a helmet. I never rode on the trail again without one and usually wore one in the arena also. The second thing was that I now knew to trust his judgement on the trail. I also got a helmet for Pam and its a good thing I did.
A few weeks later I was on Mayo and Pam was on Tess as we were riding the mountain trails behind the stable. At one point in the trail, it split in two with the upper part safe and the lower one had a rough rocky stretch. Mayo went up but Tess insisted on going left, bad decision, and she refused to listen to Pam. She then stepped left to avoid the rocks and started to slide downhill. Unable to stop they went into a tree with Pam striking her head. I watched in horror and was certain I might lose both of them. With Pam off to one side and Tess stuck in the tree branches, I dismounted,tied Mayo to a tree on the trail, and descended to them. Pam assured me she was alright and was more concerned with Tess's condition so I went to her first. Other than a few scratches she was fine, so I worked her out of her predicament and took her to a lower trail where I tied her. Helping Pam down the hill while not seriously hurt she was far from fine. I went back up and brought Mayo down. Pam was too sore to walk out but we managed to get her upon Mayo so she could ride out. Mayo was such a gem, realizing something was not quite right he gave Pam a slow, gentle, trouble free ride that she still remembers to this day.

July 2018

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