Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Casper - the Friendly Horse
When Allah created the horse, he said to the wind, 'I will that a creature proceed from thee. Condense thyself.' And the wind condensed itself, and the result was the horse. -- King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry, 1948
Nothing in the world is as beautiful as a horse running in the wind, free just as God or Allah made him. I have always loved horses since I was old enough to follow them around in the pasture and scare my mother to death. Their form and their beauty is noble and wondrous. Nothing can compare.
Even the ugliest of horses has his merit. Meet Casper, the friendly horse.
Poor Casper, when looks were being given out, he must have been hiding behind the door. A purebred Appaloosa, he is what is called tick-seeded because of the gray dots under his white hair. He’s a tad overweight and doesn’t like to move too quickly. But when God was handing out good dispositions, this horse got a double helping. Gentle and patient, he is the only horse we own that I feel comfortable letting non-horse people ride. He seems to understand that he has a job to do – teach these people to love horses.
Casper joined our family about three years ago. His previous owner, sure that he was foundered, had made the decision to have poor Casper euthanized. He was being boarded with us and I had grown to love his gentle, easy nature. When I heard what was to be his fate, I immediately offered money for him which was gladly accepted. I was left with a lame horse but I didn’t think he was beyond redemption. Foundered means that the blood supply to the coffin bone in the hoof has been compromised and the bone turns causing the hoof to drop off from the leg. (Barbaro was put down because he foundered after breaking his leg in the Preakness). A horse this kind surely deserved a chance. The old saying - One white foot, buy a horse; two white feet, try a horse; three white feet, look well about him; four white feet, do without him – wasn’t even being considered by me. Casper has four white hooves but I couldn’t do without him. White hooves are not as strong as black ones and can cause the horse a lot of trouble. I had his hooves x-rayed and the coffin bones were fine – no founder. After a year of corrective shoeing, Casper could run and cavort with the other horses in the pasture.
If you look closely at him you can see that early in his life he suffered some sort of severe trauma to his neck.
The vet seems to think that a stallion must have grabbed him by the neck, leaving some serious indentations. Those dips are deep but he doesn’t care. Casper isn’t worried about being a beauty. He only worries about when he is going to eat again or get his head rubbed.
So you see, Casper has had some tribulations in his life but he has kept a good outlook. A gentle soul. When I noticed the other day that there were some small lesions in his right eye, I immediately called the vet. There are so many infections that can blind a horse; I knew treatment was imperative. I never expected the vet to examine the horse and then give me the LOOK. I’ve seen that before - three times before three horses died. I bit my bottom lip and asked what the vet thought these were. Squamous cell carcinoma. This is a cancer that is common in Appaloosas, especially white ones. Only a biopsy could tell if this was what Casper had. I set up the biopsy for today, Tuesday October 11th. The results won’t be back for a few days. If it is cancer, they will remove the eye. If it hasn’t spread, Casper may be all right. If it has metastasized, he will only live around a year or so. I dread the results.
As I sit and wait for the boys to take him to the vet, I wonder why I do this to myself. Why do I have pets? But, a wiser person than me said something one time that makes me glad that I saved Casper – Without knowing him, I would never have known his love. So today, please remember Casper – he deserves it.