Friday, January 30, 2009

A Great Friend Passed...

Joker died Saturday morning, January 24, 2009.

As near as we can pinpoint her age, she was 36 years old--ancient in horse terms, and I am sure we kept her alive with extraordinary care for long past her time.

I have not been able to write this up to this time, and it is hard to do so now.

If you have ever in your life loved an animal, you will have some understanding of what I am experiencing right now--maybe. But a piece of our family left with her.

I buried her in her favorite spot, under the trees behind the house. She was placed with her legs under her, her head looking towards the home of the folks with whom she shared her life for 28 years.

If you wish to read more about the best-riding horse God ever blessed upon any undeserving individual, go to "Older Posts" at the bottom of these postings.

I promise not to get so maudlin on any subject again.

REQUIEM

Under the wide and starry sky,
Dig the grave and let me lie.
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will.

This be the verse you grave for me:
Here he lies where he longed to be,
Home is the sailor, home from the sea,
And the hunter, home from the hill.

Robert Louis Stevenson, 1884

8 comments:

James A. Zachary Jr. said...

So very sorry for your loss. Hope the memories soon heal the heartbreak.

Wayne Conrad said...

The manner in which you buried Joker is a beautiful tribute. You have my condolences.

MaddMedic said...

Sorry to hear that. I had a Joker also, great name btw! A 14 yo Brittany when I had to send him home. Best damn dog I ever had!! Losing a loved animal whom often is a family member can be tough

Xavier said...

Awwwwwwwww Gordon......

I'm so very sorry. Very sorry.

James E. Griffin said...

You, my friend, are a better man for knowing her. God bless.

Walter Berg said...

I was in tears when I read about your loss because it brought back the heartache I felt when I lost my best friend, a German Shepherd.
Your compassion suggests that you gave this animal a great life. That must surely be gratifying.Very sorry for your loss.

GORDON said...

This is an excerpt of a piece I wrote only two months before Joker died. The full account can be found waaay down the blog under older posts. Look for the photo of Jessica and Joker again--this has been seriously cut...

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 6, 2008
Joker at 35
I probably shouldn't post this on this on a site about guns and gun talk, but I wanted to say something about an important female who has shared a large portion of my life.


The other important female in my life opined as to I would probably be arrested for animal abuse for posting such a photo. And come to think of it, our 21-year-old daughter is not going to be very happy about the photo with herself NOT all gussied up, and bad hair to boot ("Dad! You didn't post THAT photo!")

But I don't know how you show a picture of a 35-year old mare without the bad hair, bony structure, and the look of pained but resolute acceptance shown here--and it's probably the best we are going to get of an animal that suffers the chronic aches and pains of advanced age. We could probably do better about displaying Jessica, but I wanted the two of them together, and it is getting difficult to even move Joker around.

Joker has been with me since she was a young mare of eight. She has given me a colt ( but never a filly, dammit.) She was, and remained until she became too crippled with arthritis, the absolute best ride on a horse I or anyone else ever experienced. We watched once as a trainer put her through her paces, and spotted four--count 'em--four different gaits.

She remains the only horse on which I ever experienced that almost Zen state of existence, becoming one with the animal, where the contact between horse and man became one flesh, and the blood flowing through her veins flowed into mine, and vice versa.

At a run, it was as if I were a part of her, and she me. It was the closest I have ever come to the feeling of becoming a centaur, but I felt it on several occasions. At a run, I could not be pried from her back. I could not fall, I could not be lifted nor thrown. I doubt I can really explain this very well, but it was as if I was attached--a living part of the horse--and I have never felt that with any horse before or since.

GORDON said...

This is an excerpt of a piece I wrote only two months before Joker died. The full account can be found waaay down the blog under older posts. Look for the photo of Jessica and Joker again--this has been seriously cut...

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 6, 2008
Joker at 35
I probably shouldn't post this on this on a site about guns and gun talk, but I wanted to say something about an important female who has shared a large portion of my life.


The other important female in my life opined as to I would probably be arrested for animal abuse for posting such a photo. And come to think of it, our 21-year-old daughter is not going to be very happy about the photo with herself NOT all gussied up, and bad hair to boot ("Dad! You didn't post THAT photo!")

But I don't know how you show a picture of a 35-year old mare without the bad hair, bony structure, and the look of pained but resolute acceptance shown here--and it's probably the best we are going to get of an animal that suffers the chronic aches and pains of advanced age. We could probably do better about displaying Jessica, but I wanted the two of them together, and it is getting difficult to even move Joker around.

Joker has been with me since she was a young mare of eight. She has given me a colt ( but never a filly, dammit.) She was, and remained until she became too crippled with arthritis, the absolute best ride on a horse I or anyone else ever experienced. We watched once as a trainer put her through her paces, and spotted four--count 'em--four different gaits.

She remains the only horse on which I ever experienced that almost Zen state of existence, becoming one with the animal, where the contact between horse and man became one flesh, and the blood flowing through her veins flowed into mine, and vice versa.

At a run, it was as if I were a part of her, and she me. It was the closest I have ever come to the feeling of becoming a centaur, but I felt it on several occasions. At a run, I could not be pried from her back. I could not fall, I could not be lifted nor thrown. I doubt I can really explain this very well, but it was as if I was attached--a living part of the horse--and I have never felt that with any horse before or since.