We had to say goodbye to my daughter’s horse Mellon. He colicked Friday night and there were no treatment options that would save his life. Mellon was 30 years old and my daughter had him since he was 3 years old. She and Mellon had a special relationship for the past 27 years.
A little bit about Mellon’s life:
The woman who my daughter worked for in her teen years was a horse dealer. One time while in Canada picking up a horse she noticed Mellon in a paddock enduring blizzard conditions. He was starving and uncared for by the man who was in charge of him. She purchased Mellon, a 3 yr. old Trahkener gelding, and brought him home. After rehabbing him, he was sold to a woman who transferred him to the barn where we were boarding at the time. She had named him "Melonkampf," which she said meant “head battle.” This woman couldn't ride him; he bucked her off every time she tried. This led to her abandoning the horse and never being heard from again. Mellon became a lesson horse and all the “macho” guys wanted their chance to break him and triumph over his attitude. He bucked every one of them off, no matter how much they spurred him or hit him with a crop, or whatever gear they put in his mouth and Mellon always came out the winner. Mellon got his show name “Mission: Impossible” from one of these guys after the umpteenth time Mellon dumped him. Mellon was also ridden by many of the adult women students and trainers. True to “ Mellon” form they all took a turn in the dirt.
During this time my daughter was observing Mellon and how he was treated. He was in the stall next to her horse, Lifeguard. She formed a bond with him over time, and when she did finally ride him, they got along just fine. We eventually bought Mellon for her. Mellon had obviously picked her to be his person. I believe the reason he chose her is because she treated him kindly and with respect. All the others treated him as their enemy; a horse to be broken. He'd always been called "Melon" around the barn (from Melonkampf), and the first thing she did was make one small change in his name to "Mellon," the elvish word for "friend" from Lord of the Rings. In the story, while trying to unlock a stone gate, one of the characters says: "It's a riddle. Speak, friend, and enter." The answer that unlocked the impossible gate was the word for friend itself: Mellon.
That’s not to say that riding him was always a bouquet of roses; he did have his moments. He was the only horse I’ve ever seen who would stop in the middle of a ride/lesson and put his foot down if there was something he didn’t want to do. On the other hand there were numerous times when she got to a wrong distance at a jump and he’d take it anyway and saved her bacon. He wasn’t the perfect horse but he certainly taught us all a lot and made life with him memorable.
Shortly after we purchased Mellon we purchased my Dutch Warmblood Erik who was also a 3 year old. He and Mellon were inseparable for 15 years until Erik colicked and died about ten years ago. After Erik died Mellon was really never the same, it seemed he never got over the grief of losing his best friend. I always thought there was sadness in his eyes. I’m sure Mellon and Erik are together again along with their best friend Lifeguard. These three were the original herd and we called them “The Three Amigos.”
Unforgettable Mellon Memories
· Throughout his life, Mellon hated crossing water, getting his feet wet, and being bathed, like many horses do. But he loved to stick his face directly in the stream of the hose.
· He would stomp on anything that scurried around his feet. This included the rats in his stall at one barn (which we found flattened every morning), and even the horseshoe crabs he encountered at the beach. He was lightning fast with those hooves!
· He would set up shop in one of the sheds and one by one each of the horses would file in to be groomed by Mellon. We're not sure whether this was a salon (Mel was a particularly good groomer) or whether, as leader of the herd, he was holding court with his "subjects."
· When the water trough got low, he would stand guard over it until it was refilled. When it was empty, he would stand over it and weave, and we'd always know there was a problem. Ditto w/ the hay nets. And the gate... And anything else that bothered him. He had a way of telling us what was up.
· No one ever pulled even a hair from his mane if they wanted to live. It wasn't worth the MMA match that followed.
· In the trailer, he fended off giant trucks with scary kicks and giant bucks. No truck-monster ever got him, so I guess it worked.
· The time he ran down a flight of wide railroad tie and stone dust steps on a hunter pace. They thought they were supposed to go down those and Mellon ran down them like they were nothing. When they got to the bottom, they saw the trail running beside them.
· Mellon and daughter schooling at Hampton Classic as he did an impressive buck coming over a jump. A reporter/photographer from the Daily News was there and asked her “can you do that again” to which she replied “I hope not!” They did get their picture in the newspaper.
· The time he stopped dead at a 5 foot jump the trainer threw together with flower boxes stacked on top of each other and then decided to take it from a standstill.
· If one of the herd was still out, he never came in. He'd run back out to the field and round them up, or stay out with them so they weren't alone all night. He never abandoned his friends. This is probably why he was so upset when Lifeguard, Erik, and Dusty suddenly disappeared from his life. They just got on a trailer one day and never came back. Mellon believed it was his job to look after them, and when he couldn't find them, it must have worried him to no end, and broken his heart.
Mellon has been the leader of the herd for his entire time with us and he was a hard taskmaster. The entire herd always listened to him, no discussion. We have no idea who will emerge as the leader now.
We will miss him terribly. He was strong and opinionated yet sweet and kind. Mellon was a horse to be reckoned with and will be remembered always with love and a smile.
|" The Three Amigos" walking into the sunset together again...|
A video of 'Mellon Moments'
With his song: "I Saw You In The Wild" by
The Great Lake Swimmers
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.