Monday, June 14, 2010

Dynamite R.I.P.

It seems that of late there have been many mishaps resulting in the loss of good horses. For me, the passing of a noble steed is truly a cause for grief. The following piece was written by my close friend and arch intellectual adversary, Lisa Blessing, a local Rocky Mountain Horse breeder. Check out their website by clicking on the link for Rocky Mountain Horses on the left side of this page under Horse Links. Our sympathies go to Lisa and Ken on the loss of this wonderful horse.


When Dynamite stepped out of Leroy Reed’s Ohio trailer in Chelan, he was a leggy, wide eyed 4 year old away from home for the first time. He had his pregnant dam for company and they were our first Rockies, far from their familiar flatlands of the Midwest. In short order, Dynamite was drafted into our pack string and discovered steep peaks and life in the backcountry. Bewildered but willing, he learned to tote loads, spend his nights on highlines and cross streams swollen with early snow melt off. Over time, he graduated to my riding horse.

Doing what he was born to do
Dynamite was stout hearted, more than able to pirouette on steep switchbacks, hug the uphill on tiny trails with deep dropoffs and hang around the camp on his days off usually wandering over to stick his head under the tarp to see what was cooking on the roll top table. In all his backcountry travel, only once did he experience something he had difficulty handling. We were almost at the end of a long wooden causeway built over deep mud when rotten planks collapsed and we fell thru them into the deep mud. Terrified and caught by the bridge sinking into chest deep mud, he fought his way up and out, but forever after distrusted any footing made of wood. Rather sensible, under the circumstances.

Despite having a mostly affable disposition, he rose thru the ranks to become our herd leader ruling with the flick of an ear, cock of a hoof, swish of a tail. He never found it necessary to use more aggressive measures no matter the unruly youngsters passing thru his pasture. Everyone just accepted his position.

Whenever one of our mares foaled—always spurning their plush foaling stalls preferring the earth in their paddocks—he was a sentinel standing motionless on his side of the fence as close as he could get until the foal was out on the ground and then he would quietly wander away.

He was our go-to guy to ease just started young horses out and about in the great beyond. His mellow presence calmed the myriad fears of the youngsters so they could start to concentrate on becoming a trail horse. And he was our hospitality horse, carrying many a guest and family member over hill and dale as these camping pictures attest.

Last year he was diagnosed with high ringbone and has been gimpy on and off despite shots and laser therapy. Still, he seemed happy enough wandering around until yesterday afternoon. His behavior was odd, not eating much, standing around. When we pulled him out to see what was going on, we found his pupils widely dilated and realized he was blind. He also was unable to smell and we had to hold his feed to his lips for him to be able to find it. Our vets said that he must have suffered either a stroke or an aneurysm, either occurrence incredibly rare in the equine world.

Today, with a prick of the needle, he slipped his halter and left this harsh high desert country. I see him happy in meadows of belly deep sweet grass alongside crystalline streams, shaded by heavily laden apple trees. It is where he belongs, but more than his paddock is horribly empty.


In Green Pastures

1 comment:

The Equestrian Team said...

I am so sorry about your friend's's always so hard to go through.

I'm a friend of Rocky Woolman and also a Far Rider (have done trips on horseback in excess of 300 miles) and that is how I found your blog.

Anyway, I have been long riding for Dynamite and all the horses who were lost on trail, including Blackie... Rocky's horse--- who he lost on the last day of his journey.

Be well and ride on in Dynamite's memory.

Megan Gist