Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Goodbye "Tater"

" Nate"

Friday morning when my daughter went out to the barn to feed and turn out for the day she found her horse Nate dead in his stall.  Nate had been suffering for a while with stringhalt, which was exacerbated by his condition of shivers.  Though he had improved a lot with the medication, he was still having some difficulty walking.  While she was doing everything she could for him to make him comfortable and help him recover, he continued to lose weight and wasn’t looking or feeling good in general.  Even though his death was heartbreaking, he left our world on his own terms in the best possible way.  His heart stopped beating and he left peacefully in his sleep with his herd around him in the barn.  On his last day Nate grazed with his friends all day and came in at night to a hearty meal, his favorite carrots and treats, and lots of hugs.  That morning all his friends stopped by his stall to sniff him and say their goodbyes.

What can we say about Nate’s life?  Nate came to my daughter from Holland as a four year old Dutch Warmblood and immediately touched all of our hearts. He grew to 17.3 hh and was one of the sweetest, kindest, and gentlest of souls.  Everyone who knew him, whether human or animal, loved Nate.  He was always happy and willing to be your friend.  Nate was the most curious of our horses and would follow anyone around checking on what they were doing, pulling pliers out of pockets or looking over your shoulder at a job being done.  Nate was the mischievous prankster around the barn and if you were bending over to pick up or clean something, he'd give a little nudge with his nose and tip you over. More than once while scrubbing out a water trough, Nate has knocked one of us in head-first. And if you weren't careful, he might even give you a wedgie!

He and my daughter traveled all over Europe through Germany, Holland, Belgium, France, across the English Channel, into Wales, England, and finally to Scotland.  In Scotland they studied with the British Horse Society for a while and had many great adventures. One day, my daughter was leading a trail ride for the first time through the Scottish countryside on Nate. While on a sunken road between two fields, Nate spied a herd of Highland Cattle on one side.  He'd never seen cows before, and eyed them suspiciously, but continued along confidently. Then all at once they pushed up to the fence and said "mooooooo," and, well, that was just too much. He ran backwards until he hit the bank on the other side and fell over backwards on top of my daughter. He rolled around on top of the bank until he was on his feet, with her still in the saddle, and bolted, with the rest of the riders watching in horror. She got to the end of the field where there were no cows attacking him and they could jump down the bank back onto the road. He was covered in mud and had tufts of grass sticking out his bridle, but he regained his composure and was a perfect gentleman for the rest of the ride. That was Nate. He tried his best. Sometimes the world just didn't cooperate with him...

At home he could be silly and always made us laugh or smile.  Nate decided more than once he wasn’t comfortable working in the indoor arena and thought it was a good idea to jump out.  Which he did twice through the big doors on the end and once through the small man door on the side.  He was very athletic! He proved this by being able to dance around on his hind legs whether someone was in the saddle or not.  Nate wasn’t rebellious or naughty on purpose, but when he got frightened he didn't run, he got airborne.  His spontaneous airs above ground were a sight to behold! My favorite antic of his was one day when it snowed, and he somehow slipped down the hill from the run-in and made his body into a horsey toboggan and slid right under the fence. Not easy to do for a huge horse, but he managed it. My daughter found him hanging out on her front lawn when she came home from work, and found the skid marks under the unbroken fence. He was probably just as confused, wondering how he had just teleported through the fence and how he could get back to his friends. So, Nate had many adventures in his twenty years that we saw. I’ve always wondered what he got up to that we didn’t see. Then again, knowing Nate, maybe it's best we never saw most of that stuff...

Nate was also sometimes known affectionately around the barn as "Tater," because he was a big sweet potato. His show name was "Ex Animo," which is Latin, and translates roughly as "from the heart."
As you will notice in the video below, he and my Dusty were practically inseparable.  Nate was her guy and they were hardly ever apart. I hope there is a place for horses to be together again.  We’d like to think of Nate and Dusty grazing lush pastures, drinking out of crystal streams, and being young and healthy again. 

Goodbye sweet boy, you are missed more than you know. Your leaving has left a big hole in our hearts.

remember when our songs where just like prayers.
like gospel hymns that you called in the air.
come down come down sweet reverence,
unto my simple house and ring…
and ring.

ring like silver, ring like gold
ring out those ghosts on the Ohio
ring like clear day wedding bells
were we the belly of the beast or the sword that fell…we’ll never tell.

come to me clear and cold on some sea
watch the world spinning some machine

now I've been crazy couldn’t you tell
i threw stones at the stars, but the whole sky fell
now I’m covered up in straw, belly up on the table
well and sang and drank, and passed in the stable.

that tall grass grows high and brown,
well i dragged you straight in the muddy ground
and you sent me back to where i roam
well i cursed and i cried, but now i know…now i know

and i ran back to that hollow again
the moon was just a sliver back then
and i ached for my heart like some tin man
when it came oh it beat and it boiled and it rang..its ringing

ring like crazy, ring like hell
turn me back into that wild haired gale
ring like silver, ring like gold
turn these diamonds straight back into coal

Until next time

Quotes for Today

There is something about the sight of a fallen horse that strikes one's heart in such a way, even for those who are not particularly a horse lover...the significance of something so sacred, powerful, beautiful, intoxicating as the horse...when a fallen horse is seen overcome by life's obstacles, fallen tears and a jolt to the heart and soul can never be prevented...
    - Stephanie M Thorn

Somewhere in time's own space
There must be some sweet pastured place
Where creeks sing on and tall trees grow
Some paradise where horses go,
For by the love that guides my pen
I know great horses live again.
~Stanley Harrison


  1. So sorry for your loss. He was beautiful.

  2. I am sorry for your family's loss of the big guy - and thank you for the lovely stories about him.

  3. A lovely tribute. I'm sorry for you and your daughter's loss.

  4. You know, I wonder if losing Dusty didn't take its toll on him. Their bonds are so deep with one another. My heart goes out to you all. What adventures, though, your daughter and family had with that good boy!! She needs to write a memoir. I'd love to read more about their travel stories!!

  5. What a character! I am so sorry for your family's loss, and I really enjoyed reading about this funny horse.

  6. What a beautiful, kind, soul. I am so sorry for your loss - thank you for sharing his story. It sounds like he had such a wonderful life.

  7. Oh, Arlene and J, I am so so sorry to read this today. But also happy that he died in the very best way for a horse, and that he had such a great and adventurous life with two of the most caring horse women I know. Big hugs to both of you. It is so hard to say goodbye. You'll tell the stories forever though, and I feel sure his spirit will remain with his herd - human and equine. He was a character, and a handsome handsome boy.

  8. Oh my, such a shock. I'm smiling through so many tears for your beautiful, fallen boy. My God, he was so beautiful! I'm so very sorry. Can't even imagine how your hearts must be grieving - and yet, as you said, thankful that he died as he did. Such a magnificent horse he was. And your tribute to him is just wonderful. He had a good life and it is obvious that he was loved. And he was happy. Loved hearing the stories of his antics, of his humor, feats and his fears...
    I believe that we will see them again one day. Until then, rest well big, handsome boy. ((hugs)) Please convey my sympathies to your daughter as well. So sorry...but, he really did live didn't he? Dusty's guy. :)

  9. What a wonderful, full life he had with your daughter. A horse couldn't ask for better. RIP sweet Tater.

  10. God speed Tater. You were much loved and kindly treated, who can ask for more than that?

  11. Full of class - even the way he passed on. Hugs to you and your daughter. (((❤️❤️❤️)))

  12. What a sweet tribute to a big beautiful soul & character! Your daughter must be heartbroken. So sorry for your families loss Arliene :( I was okay, and then the paragraph with Dusty did me in...tears rolled as I watched your video & listened to the music. Glad he got to dance, and you shared in all his wonder. Regardless of circumstances, it's never easy saying good-bye. Sending you healing hugs!!

  13. What a character and what a great life you and your daughter gave him. My deepest condolences to you both.

  14. RIP Nate, Tears shared for all you left behind...

  15. I'm so sorry to hear <3 Sending big hugs to you and your daughter.

  16. My first time here. I am so sorry for the loss of this magnificent horse.

  17. Such a gorgeous, sweet boy. I'm sure you and your daughter gave him the best life a horse could ask for. Very sorry for your loss.

  18. Oh GHM, I'm so sorry :( Please pass on my condolences to your daughter too. Such a beautiful, funny guy - I loved reading his escapades, amazing given his size! Thank you for sharing him with us. And that's a beautiful image, Nate and Dusty together in Paradise Pasture. Big HUGS!!!! xx

  19. I'm so sorry. I'm glad he passed peacefully. I hope your daughter is holding up okay. I can't even imagine what it must be like to walk out and find them gone like that. :( You're all in my thoughts and prayers.

  20. So sorry for your loss. Nate was a beautiful soul and he loved life with all his shenanigans. He was blessed to have such a loving home and you and your daughter were blessed to have him to love. RIP, Nate, you will be missed.

  21. I am so sorry for your loss. I have loved hearing about Nate all these years, he and your daughter had lots of adventures, but he had plenty of fun on his own with your herd! I am sending healing thoughts your way, and your daughters way as well. It is never easy to loose any horse, let alone one as special as Nate.

  22. He sounds like an absolutely wonderful horse. I'm so sorry for your loss.

  23. I've been off the blog map for months, and I'm so sorry to read this about Nate as I jump back in. He was a winner and you have given us such a beautiful portrait of him throughout the years. I'm sure that you and J. are missing him. Hope all is well otherwise! Let's get together and catch up.

    1. Hi Victoria,
      Thank you for your comment on Nate. You have been off the blog app for months it seems. I lost Dusty last November and my dog Maggie in January. Otherwise all is well here. Hope your girls are owing well.

    2. Sorry spell check got me, meant doing well.

  24. Yikes, just getting caught up with you. What a time you all have had. I am so sorry.


It's so nice of you to take the time to visit. I appreciate your stopping by and commenting on what I've written. Even though I sometimes don't have the time to reply to each comment, I do enjoy reading them.