Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Brandon

This is Brandon.  The bay, 15.1 or 15.2 gelding....   my Mom bought him for $1,200.00 in 1986 for me.  He was 8 yrs old and I was 16 at the time.  I send the woman I bought him from an update every Christmas. 
 I started riding him as a hunter/jumper.  We jumped 3'6" fences... he rushed his fences.  Always rushed and used that giant neck o' his to get him up and over the jumps.  His sire was an Appaloosa, his dam a Quarter Horse. 

I took some eventing lessons on him back in the early 90's.  He didn't rush the cross country jumps, he really enjoyed them and went right along jumping all of them.  I almost entered a 3 day event show but the entry fee was too high for me so I never did.

When I was 16, I was in a bad car accident that broke my leg cuz of a drunk driver running a stop sign.  The very next weekend I was supposed to go on a mock fox hunt with Brandon.  I woke up in the hospital wondering if I could ride in the hunt with a cast....
 I started taking Dressage lessons on Brandon in 89' I think... walked up to a house that someone told me the woman inside gave lessons.... knocked on the door. 

She and her family were getting ready for church but she took down my number and I started taking lessons in Dressage from her.  I'm still good friends with that woman and joke that she is my 2nd mother.  She has 3 daughters and 1 son ... one of her daughters is my age.  I began taking lessons from her oldest daughter when she retired from teaching.  And her son is one of our neighbors...

They all know Brandon and have known him since I knocked on that door one Sunday....

 Brandon used to throw riders that couldn't sit his trot and I was dumb enough to put beginner riders on him thinking THIS time, he'd be good.  He had a wide back and didn't move much but the trot is hard for people who don't ride. 

He was really comfortable to ride bareback...  I used to try to hop on him like some people can without the aid of a fence or step up.   Poor Brandon would stand there and tense up cuz every time I tried, I just kneed him in his kidneys and never really made it up.   I gave up the idea and Brandon breathed and I'm sure, peed, a little easier.
 The last show I rode him in was at First Level  in Casper, WY.  He took a first place and a second place. 

I used to ride him before Dressage was very well known around here and he used to get first or second placings in the Dressage Suitability classes.  This was definately pre-warmblood horses and way before Dressage took off in CO!
As he aged, he had ringbone and Cushings.  We bought him boots to help his feet when they got sore from the founder Cushings causes... sometimes they worked, sometimes not.   Most recently he was on Previcox and was really doing well. 

I groomed him this past Thursday night - got his top lip going cuz he was itchy with winter hair - Furry Husband fed before I was done grooming and Brandon was prancing and trotting ahead of me on the way back to his pen cuz he wanted to get to his mush.  It made me laugh at his old man antics. 

Even tho' he couldn't eat hay anymore, he still was the boss of everything...

Anywhere I'd ever boarded him or kept him, he was always the top horse.  When I brought home young TB horses he kept them in line and they looked to him for comfort.  He was a very wise babysitter and disciplinarian.  One look would put Sera and Rosso on their best behavior.

When our young Holsteiner colt hurt himself so badly one night long ago, Brandon nickered and nickered until we came to see why he was calling softly over and over and over.   If not for Brandon, we wouldn't have found our colt til morning.   Our colt still died but at least his suffering didn't last all night long.
 He used to look in our bedroom window when we first moved into this house - before we had our pens set up.  He would stare and when he caught sight of movement or heard us talking, he would nicker until we got up.  When we came out of the house, he'd be standing next to his food tub.  We always got a kick out of that.

Brandon was a good friend. I enjoyed his friendship for a long, long time and he was a really great little horse.
Sunday afternoon Brandon colicked.  He was very painful - normally stoic - not so much with this one and I knew it was bad.  Our vet lives 4 houses down and was over in 10 minutes.  He either had a twist or a tumor strangling his intestines.  We put him down in our front pasture before he was in agony.  He didn't suffer long or much.

A service called Greener Pastures came to get him the next morning.  We weren't home.  Didn't wanna be home.  She takes them to Ault, CO and buries them individually - said she says a prayer for them before they are buried.  That felt comforting.

I'm doing o.k.  I knew he was old and wouldn't last forever.... he was 33.  It brings me great comfort and peace of mind to know I was there to help him quietly and peacefully out of this world.  He brought me so much happiness and taught me so very much. 

We loved him and he will be missed.

10 comments:

mommyrides said...

Shanster I'm so sorry for your loss and I do grieve with you. You gave Brandon a wonderful life right up until the end. Every horse should have an owner so kind and loving and willing to put the horses well being above their own feelings. It seems like Brandon was just giving back the love you gave to him. And he will always live in your heart and memories. Have a peaceful day my sweet friend.

Melinda said...

OH my..Im crying...

Brandon had a great life with you. That is evident. Dont you wish all animals were loved as much?
Im sorry for what you have to go through in letting go. It was good that you were there with him even tho its the hardest position to be in. Rest in peace Brandon, you were surely loved and will be missed. What a good horse you have been...

Heather said...

What a wonderful life the two of you had together!

DebH said...

I couldn't even post a comment last night when I read this. I couldn't see to type..and not to worry though..I know you took the very very best of care of him and your post was not meant to be sad. It just had me crying so bad it just started a real bawlfest. So today as I comment I will just tear up the entire time I type and realize I have to stay in control...I am at work!
Beautiful tribute and you were so fortunate to have such a friend for all those years. They are the best! Like you've said..life just keeps on moving on but with every day something glorious comes along. I send my biggest hug!

Funder said...

He sounds like a fantastic fellow! You two are fortunate to have had each other for so many years. :) Thanks for telling us about him. My condolences.

Anonymous said...

Great post to celebrate your horse's life! I too got my first horse at 16 and had him for 25 years. A horse like that sees you through a lot of changes that are part of growing up.

Cheryl said...

I'm so sorry... What a long, full, wonderful life he had though with you, Furry Husband and all the other animals there!

Big, big hugs. xoxo

Kelley said...

There were a number of stories I'd never heard. Thanks for sharing, and I'm so sorry ponies don't stay in their prime and happy forever.... but Brandon sure did give it a good try!!

WeldrBrat said...

Awwww... all packed into one posting. But I see a beautiful relationship that could make for some wonderful children's books - perfect legacy to honor him! I hope ya' go ahead and find another buddy to compete with. Woudn't matter who ya' find. "The Boss of Everything" will be there to supervise!

Shanster said...

Thank-you everyone. I'm still sad and life, of course, continues on.

I know he had a great life and I have so many good, good memories of him. I am honored to have him in my life and to be able to provide for him to the end.

Time heals all wounds and one day my memories will bring me warm smiles vs. sadness... I sure appreciate all of you and your understanding.