Monday, February 14, 2011

Goodbye, Rocket Man

Last night our old horse Rocket died. Thankfully, he only had one day of being off his feed before he went down. Somewhere between 27 and 28 years of age Rocket Man, our nickname for him, was a dark bay thoroughbred who came to us by way of one of Bob's Charco Broiler buddies, Nick. He was a horse of good breeding but bad temperment and Nick had decided to get rid of him because he'd just put a lot of money into having him trained only to be told that he was untrainable. Bob, a man who loves horses and didn't buy that label of untrainable, offered to take the thoroughbred off Nick's hands. That was about 1988.

(Rocket and Sid in their younger days.)
We soon found ourselves the proud owners of four horses, three of Nick's and one that Bob's dad gave him. For years the four, all geldings, lived, ate, and played together on our 1-1/2 acre pasture out back. Bob rode them, trained them, even harnessed them to pull weight like a sled or a plow. And then we started losing them. Rattler, Bob's favorite, was a playful, intelligent quarter horse, bitten on the nose by a rattle snake as a colt but friendly and willing. He died of an infection in his heart, possibly the result of that snake bite. Sid, the black quarterhorse Bob gave to me, was small in stature with the nicest feet and hooves I've seen. An hornery horse always looking for a break in the fence from which to escape, Sid had been infested with parasites as a colt and the scar tissue in his gut led to his early death.

(Roamer and Rocket, fall of 2010)
For the past fifteen years or so Roamer and Rocket have lived out back, settling into old age and earning that moniker hayburners. When the grandkids asked to ride them we explained that they were both retired now and resented being asked to carry people on their backs. Rocket probably died of natural causes. He made it through the winter in good shape, plenty of fat on his ribs and long guard hairs on his coat. He died on a warm, dry evening in mid February.

Starting today Roamer will live the life of a solitary horse which is not the best life but maybe for an old horse not too bad.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of Rocket. I'm glad you have these great photos of him. A lucky horse to have had such a loving home with you and UB, and what lucky owners to have enjoyed his company all these years.