Yesterday was a very sad day. I had to say goodbye to my horse Bo that has shared my life for the past 30 years. I had been preparing myself for this day for a year now but if became clear that time had arrived. God had chosen this day to begin the task that can often take days. We were forced with the difficult decision of speeding up the process to prevent any long suffering. With the phone call to a friend and Bo's farrier of 25 years, the dreaded task was done. It was finished in seconds.
The day was filled with waves of overwhelming sadness. You see, yesterday was my deceased father's birthday. This month marks the 10 year anniversary of his untimely death. Thirty years ago on the day of Bo's unexpected birth, my dad scooped up Bo's tiny underdeveloped body from the dirt and carried him to the safety of our barn and reunited him with his mother whom had been beaten off by a herd of Thoroughbred mares. The horses belonged to a neighbor who didn't even know his prize Quarter-horse mare was in foal. An Arabian stallion had jumped the fence and did the job that no other stallion had been able to do. This scrawny little unregistered half breed was not wanted so on that day he became my own and I named him Mr. Bo Jangles.
I had lost my mare of 14 years to colic the previous year and Bo filled the void...we needed each other. We spent the next 25 years trail riding and competing in gymkhana (barrel racing) and also racing. Bo was the great-grandson of the famous race horse Go Man Go, and he had the speed to prove it. However our racing wasn't very successful. We entered a saddle race (no starting gate) and was on the heels of the lead horse (which cheated by false starting and getting a lengths head start,) when the rocks and mud started pelting our faces like a summer hailstorm. We quickly slowed our pace and breezed across the line in fourth place. We never raced again.
We enjoyed hunting the most. I never shot my rifle from Bo's back. He was afraid of the gun fire after the incident during deer season when he ran back to camp, leaving me in the woods when I shot a buck. You can read that story at this link; https://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=10150299654525759.
Bo was so silly. When he was 21, I put my 11-year-old daughter on his bare back without a bridle (in a contained area). He bucked her off. She landed on hands and knees in the soft dirt of the arena unharmed. We laughed...who knew?
Bo Jangles you will be greatly missed, thank you for filling my life with joyful memories. You will never be replaced or forgotten.
This prayer hung on my wall since my youth and helped me get through this painful decision.
THE HORSE PRAYER
To Thee , My Master, I offer my prayer:
Feed me, water and care for me, and when the day's work is done, provide me with shelter, a clean dry bed and a stall wide enough for me to lie down in comfort.
Talk to me, your voice often means as much as the reins.
Pet me sometimes, that I may serve you more gladly and learn to love you. Do not jerk the reins and do not whip me when going up hill.
Never strike, beat or kick me when I do not understand what you want, but give me a chance to understand you.
Watch me, it I fail to do your bidding, see if something is not wrong with my saddle or feet.
Examine my teeth when I do not eat. I may have an ulcerated tooth, you know is very painful.
Do not tie my head in an unnatural position or take away my best defense against flies and mosquitoes by cutting off my tail.
And finally, O my Master, when my useful strength is goon, do not turn me out to starve ot freeze or sell me to some cruel owner to be slowly tortured and starved to death; but do Thou, My Master, take my life in the kindest way and your God will reward you here and hereafter.
You will not consider me irreverent if I ask this in the name of Him who was born in a stable. Amen.
Sherrie Gant is a writer, photographer, and