Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Sweet Cayenne, Sexy Katie, and "The Boys"

To The Owner Of This Horse
~ author unknown

Alone I stand in this dark stall - staring into space
Wondering how this came to be my final resting place.

I think back on all I did for you and try to understand,
Why you would let me fade away beneath your very hand.

I gave you all I had to give, and still you wanted more,
I pushed myself so you'd receive the very highest score.

I forgave you when you were too quick to punish or to scold,
I just remembered you were young, and wished that you were old.

I always carried you safely through each trial and each course,
And all I wanted in return was for you to love this horse.

Yet here I am - alone and cold - a mere shadow of myself,
With our pictures and Blue Ribbons still displayed upon your shelf.

I do not feel selfish, in this, my final plea,
I just want to understand why you did this to me.

I know that as time passes, people will change their ways,
And children will grow up and forget their younger days.

But how does one forget a friend - someone they once adored,
And start looking at their old champion as nothing but a bore?

Now I know my coat has faded and my eyes, they aren't so bright,
But I assure you that within my heart still burns a quiet light.

Yet, here I stand alone and scared of what may lay ahead,
Will I ever know another kindness or have a warm dry bed?

So people, when you buy a horse, just please remember me,
And what sadness I endured despite the life I tried to lead.

Love your horse with all your heart - give him all you can,
Do not forget to rub him with a calm and soothing hand.

No matter what life brings your way - remember till the end.
When you break your horse's heart, you betray your truest friend.

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Our formerly sad Cayenne has life in his eyes. He's in love with Katie (who's a bit sweet on Argus), and he's found that the "food lady" (that's me) puts grain into his bucket every single night.

Cayenne has discovered that people oooh and aaah when they see him, and want to feed him cookies (which, thanks to our friend Hannah, he has finally learned to eat). He's found out that hands are gentle, and eyes regard him with respect and admiration, and voices are soft, and cooing. Slowly, our sweet little pepper, Cayenne, is coming out of his shell. He greets me heartily each morning, ready for his day of turnout. He greets me like an old friend at day's end, shoving his nose into his halter, ready to retire to his stall for the night. After all, the grain waits there.

Baths are cold, and not that welcome, but feeling clean is good, and Cayenne expresses his gratitude by rolling enthusiastically. Fly spray is scary, something remembered from days long past, a faint memory of better times.

Slowly, slowly, Cayenne is learning to smile again. He stands quietly while I tack him up, relaxed. Being a riding horse is obviously something he enjoys. I ask for a trot, and he gives me a j-o-g, begs me to put my reins in one hand, and worries when I ask him to extend his stride a bit. I sit for a breath of a half-half, and Cayenne slams on the brakes. We stop and laugh, the dressage rider and the obviously former ranch horse, tack all wrong and signals crossed. Somehow, Cayenne and I will learn to dance.

Cayenne at the feedlot in June. His tail was matted from the end of his tail bone to the ground. You can see the remains of his hip number from the Toppenish, WA livestock auction, where the kill buyer purchased him:


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Cayenne's first tack-up at Watermark Farm. His lungeing skills were rusty, but there. He was worried at first, but relaxed after a few minutes.

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Everyone loves Katie. It's hard to live in the shadow of such a beautiful woman. Today, a visitor visited, a potential adoptor. I took her to meet Cayenne, who promptly walked away, and Argus, who stood shyly in the pasture for inspection, like the older boy who never seems to leave the orphanage. Katie hung her head over the fence, blinking her long lashes at the woman, smiling with her eyes. Party Girl Katie, beckoning. "That's Katie," I say. "She's so friendly and sweet."

I can hear the woman suck in a little breath, smitten. "She's beautiful!" she gasps, and wanders absentmindedly to the fence to get some Katie love, turning back toward Cayenne for a moment, half-heartedly offering him a cookie. "Everyone loves Katie," I tell her, and laugh, weakly, not wanting her to feel bad for ignoring Cayenne.

*******************************************************************************

I've been on vacation for the past week, and missed my horses tremendously. Sitting in a cabin at beautiful Pine Mountain Lake, sans the endless barn chores and horse care, I found my thoughts on "my four boys," as I call them. The pasture crew. Half Pint, Odie, Ridge and Argus.

I found myself thinking fondly of the boys and their antics, which I watch with great interest from the house. I missed Ridge's possessive hugs, Half Pint's itchy skin and the great lengths he goes to to scratch it, Odie's sad mule eyes and placid disposition, and Argus' happy face.

That's the thing with Argus --- he's always happy. He'd wear a smile on his face if he could. His funny, flat eyes always content. I am grateful for his presence on our little farm. Argus reminds me to be in the moment, to enjoy what's in front of me, to close my eyes in the sun and simply swat flies.

During our long drive home, I could hardly wait to see my pasture boys. As we hit the long driveway, the long rays of the late afternoon sun streamed across the pasture, where the boys stood, napping. They caught sight of the white Suburban crunching toward them, and four pairs of eyes were upon us. Sleepily, Argus blinked at me as I bellowed "Hello, Boys!" out the car window.

I swear I could hear him muttering "Just another day in paradise," as he closed his eyes, and, casually, went back to sleep.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Katie, another wonderful post. I've missed you. Hope you had a wonderful break - you so deserve it.

Please, please, can we have more photos of Cayenne. I feel so drawn to him. Wish I lived in the States as he would be my dream boy!

Give them all a kiss from me in the UK!

Judi

cdncowgirl said...

I too am drawn to Cayenne. I didn't think he looked that bad in his photo, considering what he'd been through. Can we please have updated pics?
I know what you mean about missing the horses. I was away for a week but had one with me. Next week I'm not so fortunate, I'll be gone two weeks with no horses :(
And that poem! Wow, teared right up. I need to read that to Cessa so she knows how lucky she is to be 27 and have only had 2 owners her entire life. Did you write that Katie? Do you mind if I steal it and put it on my blog? (I'd credit you & yours as the source of course)

Argus' foster mom said...

Cdncowgirl, the poem is "author unknown." I stole it from somewhere else, so you can steal it, too!

Katie

Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you Katie for the updated pics!!! He looks Soooo much better. He is starting to look happier already.
The picture of him at the feedlot broke my heart. He looks so calm and resigned. What sort of world do we live in where someone can "buy" another sentient creature to knowingly takes its one precious life? If animals understand our thoughts, feelings and intentions, which I'm sure they do, how do they handle the appalling things that are destined for them?
Thank you so much for what you are doing for him Argus and Katie.
If only I was in the US I would love to give a home to Cayenne, he's stolen my heart.
Judi

Argus' foster mom said...

>>>>If animals understand our thoughts, feelings and intentions, which I'm sure they do, how do they handle the appalling things that are destined for them?<<<<<

Judi, I think you answered your own question. They handle these atrocities with resignation.

It's their only choice.

Katie

Miss A said...

Cayenne is beautiful!

Anonymous said...

Katie,

Cayenne is simply stunning! Katie is a natural beauty, and she has many who admire her from afar. I love, love your description of Argus simply enjoying life, taking every moment as it comes. Once again you have put a smile on my face, and lightened my heart.

Thanks for your love and caring way's with all of your charges!
Doe

almost forgot, how is Pockets doing these day's?

Holly said...

oh my. oh my. oh my.

I don't think I can read this stuff at work.