Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Best Horse, His Name was Roy

Around the winter of 2001, I first met Roy when I went to take a look at several other horses.  As I got out of my truck I noticed a Bay colored horse around 15 hh, at least a hundred pounds under fed, looking at me.  As I walked up to the pens with the owner, this horse who I came to call Roy softly nickered at me.  The owner pointed to the other horses and said "these are the horses I was telling you about." I replied "I ain't interested in them, I'm interested in this one" pointing to Roy. 
The owner said "I wasn't planning on selling him, but I'm willing to talk."  The owner was a horse trader who cut corners on his horse care and was on the verge of abusing his stock.  He was in a mood to get out of the horse business, so I ended up cuting a deal with him. As I was leaving I noticed a stack of moldy alfafa near the pens.  I pointed that out to him and said "I'm buying that horse so don't be feeding him that moldy hay, in fact don't feed that to any of your horses".
The next day I brought a Vet out to check him over.  The Vet told me that Roy had a bad left knee and a heart mumur.  The Vet actually said, "I wouldn't buy him."  But I decided to anyway.  Roy was an excellent looking horse conformationally wise, was the right size,...most importantly he has a kind eye.  I took the chance that his only problems were nutrition based and having the right owner. 
The day after that the Vet called me to tell me he responsded to a colic call on the horse I was going buy.  I immediately drove out to the barn and found out that Roy had been moved to another barn down the road.  I drove over to that barn and talked to the manager and told him that I would appreciate it he only fed grass hay to Roy until the next day when I could pick him up.   
A day later the owner sent his wife out to complete the transaction, money for horse, then I moved Roy into quaratine at the facility I managed.  Near as we could figure we was about 17 to 18 years old then. 
Good care, mostly from my wife, using good quality grass and afalfa hay, a small amount of calf manna and corn oil each day, and alittle Red Cell, plus a good shoer brought Roy into good condition within a couple months.   

He was a pleasure to ride, having a slow jog that you could fall asleep on.  I was pleased to find out that he was broke to a rope, so I used him for a couple seasons as a team roping horse.  He wasn't the biggest, nor fastest horse in any arena, but I have no doubt he had the biggest heart. 
My daughter also rode him in gymkhana's doing barrels, pole bending, flag racing and goat tying.  She also took him on trail rides and despite his age she and Roy kept up with the other horses in our game of brush popping.   That's my daughter on Roy from several years ago in the below photo.
Roy just did as you asked of him, and never had any quit at all.  In fact, a couple times I was caught on him in hail storms,....doesn't say much about my weather forecasting abilities, but the fact that he stayed calm with marble sized hail hitting him in the head say's alot about him.  One time I had to take my vest off and cover his face, leading him blind until the hail ceased. 
Also had him in a couple dust storms that came out of nowhere.  He just put his head down and continued on, taking me back to the barn.  Roy became the leader in my herd helping to raise a yearling paint gelding teaching him how to be a horse and teaching other horses their manners. 
My wife, before she was my wife, used Roy for several years teaching horsemanship to dozens of children and a couple of adults.  Roy would carry those children on his back like he was toting an expensive crystal vase. Those children, some of whom are now grown, continue to call my wife and ask about Roy.  I have long thought that my wife just might have married me to get partial ownership of Roy.   
On the 4th of July 2005 My wife called me when I was on duty to tell me Roy was three legged lame.  Subsequent X-rays showed that Roy broke a coffin bone wing in his back right hoof.  The Vet said as old as he was, it would not heal.  We tried anyway, and using one of the best shoers around with bar shoes, Roy became sound again.  
By this time, Roy was regulated to a lesson horse but was always at the gate of the corral asking to be ridden.  I have used him in several videos and was riding him more and more getting him ready for the fall and winter.

I would sometimes sit out by my geldings corral just to watch the horses interact,...thinking maybe if I pay attention I could learn something.  I would see Roy playing the biting game with another horse.  Once that other horse extended his head and neck and had most of his weight on his front end, Roy would quickly spin placing his butt to the other horse then back him into at speeds I could never get him to back when I was on his back.   He also developed a close friendship with my wife's big gelding, Charlie, and they would stand together swatting flies or scrubbing each others' withers. 
More often or not Roy would hear me coming for morning feeding and come running and bucking across the corral to make sure he was fed first.  
This past Sunday when riding back to the back gate on the property, I yelled Roy's name.  He responded with his bellowing call telling the other horses where he was at.  I told my wife that Roy's call was my favorite sound in the world and it would be a sad day when he was no longer around for me to hear.  Little did I know that day would be the very next day when I found Roy laying down in the corral, bleeding heavily with a compound fracture of his right front leg.  We had a Vet put him down shortly after that and I buried him that morning.
I wanted to write about him last night,......just couldn't do it. I lost more than the best horse yesterday, I lost my friend.          


1 comment:

  1. I am sorry brother. Ther ain't nothing like em.