Two dear friends are gone this evening.
Some girls get an Easter Bunny... I got a horse.
You can say, "It's just a horse," and maybe in your eyes that's all they are. But for a rancher, a horse is a friend. A horse can save a million man hours. A horse can bring the cows home out of canyons a man can't dream to walk and the best 4-wheel-drive can't conquer. A horse will brave the heat with you, weather the humidity with you, work the whole day long with you. All because you asked him to. A horse will be a friend to walk the hills to nowhere for no particular reason except to see what might be over the next ridge. A horse is the one creature on a ranch who has earned every right to die on the place because only a horse will log as many working hours as a man will.
Our horses have been retired for years now. Just a couple of ol' hay burners who've logged their hours and earned their right.
That Ol' Man loved my Dad enough to take the hit the bull had meant for Dad. And that Ol' Man loved my Pretty Boy enough to stand by his side after the lightening strike that crippled them. And my Pretty Boy loved Ol' Man enough to stay with him through all the cold winter snows when his legs were stiff with arthritis. And they both loved home enough to gallop all the way to their corrals when they were 'kidnapped' for a week.
We loved them both enough to offer up every luxury we could to try and see them live long happy lives. And they both have. They have ran free in green pastures long past their prime.
Today we had let them go. At 28, the Ol' Man can no longer digest his feed. And after years of treating his laminitis, Pretty Boy can no longer walk.
Tonight, as I cry... as my mother cries... as my father holds back the sorrow we know he feels. Our friends will bask under a perfect starlit sky with fields of sweet clover as far as their eyes can see. They will run without the pain that years of hard work brought them. They will kick up their heels and frolick together like they once did in their long forgotten youth. And though it's hard to see them go, we have the solice of knowing they went peacefully together, side by side, just as they had been for the last 15 years. They'd have both been lost without the other. And now their pain is over.