Horse & Rider
A HORSE NAMED MICHAEL
It was about 10 years ago when my dear friend was diagnosed with early onset Altzheimer’s. She called me soon after her diagnosis to make a plan. “I want you to euthanize Mikey,” she told me. “He’s old, unsound, and I need to make sure he’s OK when I can’t take care of him anymore.” Mikey was her 20-something Thoroughbred gelding. He’d had colic surgery as a 6-year-old and had been retired for years.
Distressed, I told the story to my husband. His response? “You can’t put a healthy horse to sleep just because he’s old. How much longer can he possibly live?” Thus began my life as an equine foster mom.
Off I went to load Mikey up and bring him home. And how long could he live? A long, long time. Mikey (officially “Bob’s horse”) became a permanent fixture in one of my pastures. He served as chief babysitter to just-weaned babies, companion to my own retired show horse, and even took a couple of side trips to other client’s farms when a companion horse was needed.
Mikey died peacefully in my pasture several months ago. He had a long, good life and caused very little trouble. My friend has since slipped deep into the fog of her disease, but I know she had some peace in knowing that Mikey had his forever home.