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Otis 2/3/83-6/5/11

nancy in AZ

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This morning I bid farewell to my cherished old friend. At 28 years old, his aged legs were failing him. Some of the most utterly joyful, uplifting, and most serene moments of my life were those I spent astride him. I treasure all the time we spent together, but especially, those moments when I used to ride him bareback, in a halter, at a flat gallop across the vast open range.


I could only repay the gift he has given me by releasing him from his pain. I'll miss the sweet scent of his breath when we greeted each other in the morning by exchanging nostril breaths. And the soft snuffling nicker that he would greet me with when I crossed the bridge from my house to his paddock. Rest in peace, Otis. You have left an un-fillable void in my life, and in my heart.

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Just about 2 years ago, my best friend had to have her first horse put down. She had wanted a horse well before I met her, in 6th grade, in 1957. She'd gotten Penny as a rescue because Penny was a riding-stable horse with leg problems. It took special shoes from a special farrier and a lot of care. But Penny had 6 great years - as did my friend. Evidently, Penny was a "hot" horse who lived to gallop. And my friend loved that, too.


But Penny had some medical thing in her legs that I can't remember. I think it was eventually bone spurs in the tendons. Does that make any sense? And my friend had to let her friend go.


It was tough. Luckily, she had a great vet. And a great stable friend with land and all to bury Penny where she died. But it still hurts.


My friend had another rescue horse at the time. Right after Penny died, she took in a temp who needed temporary love and care. She now has a permanent second horse.


But Penny will always be "her" horse.


You did for Otis what my friend did for Penny. What had to be done. Bless you. Otis does.

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I'm sorry to hear about Otis. I've always wanted a horse and can only imagine what it must be like to ride the way you rode Otis...It's a lovely picture you paint of the freedom and joy.


Run free on the plains Otis.

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Somewhere...somewhere in time's own space

There must be some sweet pastured place

Where creeks sing on and tall trees grow

Some Paradise where horses go.

For by the love that guides my pen

I know great horses live again.


~ Stanley Harrison


Vaya con Dios, Otis. Horses also wait at Rainbow Bridge; and instead of walking across, Nancy will ride in style.

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