Because I just haven't done enough lately to make this The Most Depressing Site On The Internet, and because if I don't talk about it I'll have a nervous breakdown, I'm telling you what's going on with my dear old Montrachet. He's a horse, a stallion, and he's made it to the age of 25, which is nothing to sneeze at for a horse. He hasn't always had the best life, and in fact did a leased stint in Oklahoma which very nearly killed him in his early teens, and from which he never really recovered, not to his former glory, which was considerable (this was at age 10):He and I have been together 3 times longer than I've known my husband, and 5 times longer than I've had Bella. So yeah, we've got a history. We also have an understanding, and I promised him the day I finally owned him (thank you, Mom & Dad--so much) that he would live easy for the rest of his years, and that those years would be with me, come what may.
He's been failing of late, and despite being fed astronomical amounts of high-quality food, keeps losing weight, while his young pasture-mate and concubine, Kate, gets tick-fat on the grain-mash bounty that they share. Doc has checked everything from his teeth to various blood panels, and not found much amiss, and yet there it is, right in front of my eyes. So tonight, all the alarm bells in my head and my heart went off when I saw this: To many, that's just a picture of a horse. But for me, the person who knows this horse best, it's a portrait of pain, and worse, of beginning to give up. I can see it in everything from the ears to the worried eyes to the stress in the tensed jaw, to the pain-wrinkled nostrils and fixed lips. He's thinking of quitting, and if that's what he wants, I have to be prepared to help him along. I owe him that much--I owe him more, Heaven knows, but this I can do, if I can only be strong enough.I find myself caught up in sorrowful thoughts of no longer having that wide white blaze to stroke; of missing that soft pink muzzle tickling my neck, looking for treats...even the fake bluster and stallion-bravado that he puts on when mares come to be bred. No more. I'll not have another stallion, for there aren't any more like this. Horses, yes, but stallions, no. He had the bursting-from-his-skin macho vitality to stand out in a show-ring with me riding, then could turn right around and carry a 3-year-old girl in a leadline class, looking for all the world as if he were walking on eggshells, such was his caution with the wee one.
I sat out on the ground tonight, waiting for the vet, with his head in my lap, stroking that broad cheek and scratching gently between those familiar ears...the ones that our coach, Nancy, used to ask me if I was going to bite, when I was perched too far forward in the saddle for her liking.
So now that the vet has been out, here's how it stands. This brave beast is failing. Something inside him has broken, but we don't know what, although he is mightily jaundiced. So for tonight, Doc gave him plenty of drugs to make him comfortable, and the morning will tell the tale of the bloodwork. If liver enzymes are off the chart, then that makes the decision for me, and I will do my part to ease him on to the proverbial Greener Pastures. Is it wrong to hope for that, to hope for something so obvious that it makes my part in this easier?
Because this I can say about Montrachet, to borrow a line from Anna Sewell's "Black Beauty": He is a good and noble horse; there is no vice in him. And in trying to explain to my husband what it IS with this horse--the bond between us may not be precisely what it is between Misha and myself, but the thing about, the essence of Montrachet, is that he is honest. Can non-horse people get that? I don't know, but it's the best I can do. I've always known what to expect of him, and he of me, because we've never lied to each other, neither of us. An honest horse is worth his weight in gold, and this one is definitely worth at least that.
So those of you who would pray for such beasts, do that for me, please, and for me, as well, that my hand would be guided to do what is right for him, should it come to that. If it is time for my friend to rest, I'd have him rest well, and with no further delay.