Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Chocolate Moose~would be 30 years old today

So I started this post on March 17th because Moose was born on that date in 1978, but I wanted to tell her whole story and so it took me a while longer. She died March 26th, 1997.

Chocolate Moose aka Bell's Knowledge was my first horse I got when I was 11. Family went to an auction one Saturday in 1988? (we lived in California at the time) and Daddy bought 2 horses:-) (Raspilla was the other horse) I think he enjoyed the bidding wars...
We had our trainer with us and she did have an "eye" for horses. Moose was 10 years old and 17 hands tall and had a very kind eye. Even though she was unkept and dirty my trainer saw right threw that. She had been a broodmare (records show she had 1 foal, a filly, Newbury Port. ) other than that we have no idea what her previous life was like. I do remember the man that brought her to auction wore hideous red plaid pants. And there was this little white horse that screamed for Moose when we took her out of the stall to jog her, the little white horse was heart broken. Moose had that effect on horses though, they would get so attached. We did hunter/ jumper stuff and she did it well. She was the type of horse that if you were falling off or off balance she would slow down and stop~ trying to save you. And when I did hit the ground she usually just stood over me like, "how'd that happen". Gosh she was perfect too bad I was a temperamental child back then who couldn't "see it":-(
We moved to Georgia in 1993 and brought both horses with us. Shortly after, Jennifer gave Raspilla to our vet's wife at the time (due to lameness reasons), Reesa Frank. They had a big pasture with a lake and some other horses. Sounded perfect and it was for about 2-4 years? I can't remember the timeline exactly.
Moose sustained a hock injury in her stall one day while I was at work. Assuming it was broken, though stupidly I didn't have it xrayed, (ETA: my sis remembered that we did x-ray it and found a hairline fracture )we kept her stalled for 3 months. The first vet that looked at her said it could be an infection, I thought he was crazy as she wouldn't move on it. He was terrible, as he pulled out hoof testers when it was obvious that it was her hock that was bothering her. It was over 13 years ago, but I still remember thinking - this guy doesn't know anything?
After her leg healed everyone told me it was time to part with her because she'd become arthritic.
Gosh how did I ever have the strength to let her go? or was it weakness? I fell to the peer pressure that I had to find her a new home and find another horse if I wanted to ride and show. Damnit I would have been happy just tool'n around with her- we went on some big adventures together! She was an AWESOME trail horse when it was just the two of us or there were no cows around:-) I can remember riding along side the road and running along side school buses! I wanted to retire her, but my parent's backyard just didn't seem like the place and if I were to get another horse, there just wouldn't be room. Plus I always pictured horse retirement = 'd huge grassy field, lakes and turn out 24 x7 ...I've changed my mind on that now. It's not about the property, but the love and attention and CARE that = 's a good retirement.
So I gave her to my farrier's daughter first, but Moose was too much horse for her, can't remember how long he kept her, but I did get to visit her a couple of times. Then we gave her to Reesa Frank, remember she took Raspilla a couple of years earlier... Perfect huh? WRONG.
Moose and Raspilla lived out there a total of 2 years together. Jennifer and I both horse sat a couple of times and visited them lots of times. So all is well, right- got a new horse, Lester, Jen had a new horse too and we were both taking lessons and starting to show.
Then I just happened to run into Reesa Frank at a store in the winter of 1996...and naturally I asked how Moose was. "Oh I don't have her anymore" she replied. My heart stopped as she continued to talk and tried to assure me she was OK. She had donated Moose to the Murphy Harp Center- a home for abused kids and sold Raspilla- I don't remember what happened to the other 2 horses she had. Now what I can't understand is why didn't the bitch Reesa call us and tell us she didn't want the horses anymore? That still pisses me off to this day! ...I got the phone number from Reesa to call the MHC and check up on Moose. I gave them a call and told them that Moose was my first horse and I just wanted to come visit her. At first they didn't want me to I guess because they didn't want me around the kids, but I finally convinced them and arranged a date and time to come see her. Again I don't remember the exact timeline... so me with my fantastic ability to take the LONG WAY of directions set out to go visit her. I think it took me about 2 hours to get to her when really I think it could have been less than an hour's drive. The MHC is in Cedartown on a lot of acreage and had lots of horses and kind of an old timey barn. I arrived to find Moose too skinny and her feet just in awful shape. She was always a "hard" keeper, but she was never in this condition with me. I did the only sensible thing I could think of and that was to "volunteer" my time and money and provide the care that Moose needed. They could keep her there and I would just be like a sponsor. They thought that sounded great.
So with my new plan in mind I get my new school schedule (I was in college at the time) and call them up about a week or so later to set up a schedule with them. So I make the call and I get "Oh, we don't want her anymore, she has too many problems, we're always having to have the vet out for her". IMMEDIATELY without hesitation I tell her that I will take her back. She didn't think I was serious, but I convinced her and she told me about the paperwork that would need to be signed and all. I hang up the phone just gut wrenched. Though I said I would take her back something in me knew it wasn't going to happen. I moped around the house for a couple of weeks waiting on paper work to arrive that never came. My spring break was coming up and I wanted to spend it rehabbing Moose so I called up MHC and told them that I never got the papers and to fax them to me now and I would take them to Reesa Frank to have them singed and then I will bring the papers with me when we came to get Moose the following day. They agreed, papers were faxed, I got them signed. Again I'm just overcome with a "knowing" sadness yet I don't don't what it is exactly. My mom asked what was wrong and I said "I don't know, I just feel like she's going to die before I get her back".
Even though I "knew" something I still had to go through the motions of the day and picking her up. Jen and I set out with the horse trailer and followed my horrible directions, that's when I learned there was a shorter way there. When we got about 15 minutes away for the center I called to give them a heads up and I get a long pause... " she didn't come to the barn this morning to eat and we have someone looking for her now".
I hang up the phone and No Doubt's song, Don't Speak comes on the radio...
Verse 1 You and me We used to be together Every day together always Verse 2 I really feel I'm losing my best friend I can't believe This could be the end Verse 3 It looks as though you're letting go And it it's real, Well I don't want to know Chorus Don't speak I know just what you're saying So please stop explaining Don't tell me 'cause it hurts Don't speak I know what you're thinking I don't need your reasons Don't tell me 'cause it hurts
To this day I still think of that day when I hear that song. :-( and I still think about Moose daily.
Jen and I arrive and I get out of the truck to some woman saying "you can't take her home today, she's hurt her leg". She said the vet was on his way, and I say that I want to have her put down. Without seeing her that is what I say I want. The lady points me in the direction that Moose is in and I climb up a hill and look down and there she is standing all alone and she nickers for me which brings me to instant tears. Same scenario as before when she injured her hock. Same swelling, same heat same reluctance to move anywhere. I mutter the words if I knew it was going to be your last day I would have brought you a carrot so Jen set off to find a store to do just that. I get some alone time with Moose and it felt like she was already gone as weird as that sounds. I apologize for EVERYTHING and just hug her and cry into her neck.
The vet arrives and wants to begin his examination, I tell him also that I would like for her to be put to rest. I BEG them to put her down, there is no reason to put her through the pain of an exam. The exam begins and the jack ass vet goes right for her injured leg, no soothing words or warning touches, just grabs her leg which of course she tries her best to hobble away from him. Jen and I are screaming and crying to PLEASE just put her down, there is no need to put her through any of this. The head of the MHC comes out in his suit and tie in the middle of this pasture and threw his rank around and tells me that before she can be put down that there has to be an exam and good cause to do so because of the tax write off B.S. They acted as if I had no authority over her and man did they make me feel powerless to help her. The exam continues and Moose tries to get away from the uncaring vet and she falls over in the process, moaning and groaning as he continued with the exam :-( When Jen and I had another outburst of tears and pleading after she fell the head of the center told some chick to "take the girls to the barn" (meaning us) and Jen stood our ground and said "No, we are staying." I stayed at her head and tried to soothe her as best I could and finally - I don't even know or cared what the vet diagnosed - she was put down. I was just disgusted with the swarm of people surrounding her claiming to have known her and crying over her they had no idea what this horse meant to me.
Not a day goes by that I do not regret 2 decisions. First that I ever gave her away in the first place (to what? further a riding career that never was?! - don't get me wrong, I love Lester, but he and I aren't doing anything that Moose and I couldn't have done, Less and I never made it past 1st level) and 2nd that I had her put down that day. I guess the words "you can't take her home today" struck me too hard and if I couldn't take her home and care for her like she needed to be then I wasn't going to leave her in their hands another day. But I do wish I had given her another chance. At least long enough to show her how loved she was and that I had not forgotten her. I still have dreams well I guess somewhat nightmares where I almost get her to SummerWind farm to retire her, but then I remember I had her put down.
There's not a day that goes by that I don't think about you Moose...forever in my heart and forever on my mind.
Raspilla, though sold numerous times ended up with a pretty good home... I posted about her last summer... http://lessismore17.blogspot.com/2007/08/raspilla10-year-reunion.html


greytblackdog said...

I don't know what to say. I'm in tears. Why didn't you and Jen bust out some wonder twin powers and knock out that vet and show him who's boss? I love the name Chocolate Moose. At 17 hands high, I bet her head was as big as a moose :).

Denise- LessIsMore17 said...

She was AWESOME. Her story is why I will never give up Lester, for one he would run off with handicapped or abused kids :-o and 2 you just never know what comes next for them? Moose would have surely been sent to an auction after the MHC decided they no longer wanted her.
Oh, and Raspilla's story turned out good, even though she was sold 2 more times, she settled with a loving family in KY, we saw her this past summer...

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

I can just picture Lester running off with some disabled child strapped to his back.

Denise, I'm certain that she was X-rayed and a hairline fracture in the hock was found. There is no way we would have assumed that. We x-rayed joints on horses all of the time, there is no way that we wouldn't have x-rayed Moose's hock. After Dr. Potts came out that night and gave her the treatment I suggested, we had Dr. Frank come out later and do the X-ray to confirm. The swelling was so bad we had no idea what the problem was. Her leg was like a log from teat to hoof.

Anyways, I'm sure Moose and Spooky are keeping watch over you. Maybe there is a method to all this madness. Maybe Lester was suppose to be in your life and it was time for her to step away.

That was definitely one of the worst days of my life.


Denise- LessIsMore17 said...

Gosh Jen you're right. we did have it x-rayed, it was so long ago, yet the wounds still run so deep for me. My mind gets fuzzy on the details a bit.
Thanks for being there that day, it was a hard one :-(

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

Heather, I really wanted to knock out the vet. He was so stupid. Her entire leg was so very swollen that the skin was pulled very tight and she could hardly flex any of the joints. The stupid vet was out there digging in her hoof for an abcess which is why she lost her balance and fell down. Once she fell down, I really felt that there was no way she would get up again. She was far out into this pasture and there was no way to get her up and into a barn. We just couldn't leave her out in the elements, where she was not wanted, and the care was mediocre at best.


allhorsestuff said...

What a lovely mare and memory of her good times(and bad) but the good will remain.
She was so special, and now I too have a place in my heart for her...sob..thanks for sharing her today!