Pasquale, 40-something-year-old Quarter Horse, speaks his mind

 

 

 

Tribute to Pasquale

Left buttock shows slight hint of L-shaped scar from cut.

By Randi Peters

 

It is with pride and pleasure that I share some of the finer moments of life with P-pot in his last year. Thanks for asking for some memoirs. I miss him, yet, as one friend so aptly put it, "Now he is everywhere!" I have not felt like he is 'gone' at all.

 

MEMOIRS, Part 1

 

Part 1 in this series is to warn all you folks who think you want your horse to live as long as P-pot did. (But it was all worth it!)

 

Things Only P-pot Could Get Into

 

I went into the stable and found P-pot on the ground, butt and back downhill, blocking the doorwy out of the end stall. I helped him up and saw his left buttock point had a huge L-shaped flap, a deep cut, apparently from falling against a rock in the wall. I called the vet and she properly stitched him up. He actually walked straight for a week while it healed - he was equally stiff on both sides for a change! His cut healed up beautifully in no time.

I came home and saw P-pot standing in his usual spot between the two bushes with his butt up against the bunjeed-in doorway of the big barn (off limits inside there). I got his feed ready, and was wondering why he hadn't come to the feed room doorway like usual; he stayed put. Odd. I walked to his bucket and dumped his feed. He just stood there and watched me. Uh-oh, what's wrong? He looked at me intently, ears forward, and I walked over to him. I noticed a black strip across the fleshy part of his upper forelegs - what's this? Then I saw it was the bunjee cord from the doorway behind him - he had been IN the barn and came OUT the doorway. as far as the bunjee could stretch! I thought I would never be able to unhook the one end of it due to stretch pressure, but it easily unhooked, like a noodle. and remained one-fourth its thickness and 4 times its length for good. I inspected the inside of the barn and found he had figured out how to get the rails down and had pushed other obstacles out of his way. Lucky he didn't hurt himself; still trying to prove he's a worthy Houdini, I suppose, or trying to claim more territory. hours later, the entire middle barn area was cleared out and became his.

P-pot in the bunjee doorway.

Once I left the feed room guard off momentarily while I looked for P-pot, only to find P-pot's butt in my way when I returned. it was a long, narrow, uphill dirt walkway, cluttered with stacked storage tubs, buckets, boxes, concrete forms and their metal apparatus, 2x4's with nails protruding, cinder blocks, shovels, you name it. It was hard enough for ME to get in and out of there. Luckily the feed was at the very back and he hadn't gotten that far. I squeezed my way around him and gave him a touch to back up - he ever-so-carefully backed all the way out, step by step, until he was past it all and outside. I learned I could never leave that doorway open for a second.

I remember once P-pot walked into the stable aisle (too narrow to turn around) and passed his stall doorway, but changed his mind and wanted to go back, yet didn't want to continue the entire way to where he could turn around and come back (I could see him thinking it over) . so he backed up several steps and maneuvered into his stall backwards. Clever fellow. He never liked to waste steps.

Winter brought one of the WORST snowy winters I remember. P-pot never faltered. well, a couple times he did. once, behind the tractor wheel where I couldn't see him from the house and only a thought of him sent me out to check on him. I didn't see him at first. the snow was at least a foot deep and drifting over and around things, one of them being a "I've fallen and can't get up" P-pot! I ran for my husband and he and I righted P-pot - just in the nick of time. He was getting buried fast. As P-pot got to his feet, we backed up to give him room and WE fell into the drift ourselves. it was a struggle getting back up. That night, much to his dismay, we blocked P-pot in the barn with the heavy and wide two-wheeled wheelbarrow ("he'll never get THIS out of the doorway.") By morning, he had gotten himself out and had made tracks in the snow - down the driveway to the road and beyond, and thankfully back, across the yard. We then started roping off the driveway at the road.

The other fall in the snow was when he saw our neighbor's horses (across the street) at their fence. He ventured out toward the road, feeling adventurous, and I saw him heading that way from the window. By the time I got outside, he was already walking along the road stepping around the snow-plow boulders - he saw me, wheeled around like a champ and hustled back toward the driveway, with 'you can't catch me' body language. He ducked under the pine trees, headed across the yard, slipped once and recovered, then miscalculated a diminishing embankment - all 4 went out from under him. I helped him up and off he walked, brisk and frisky. The snow was fortunately a nice landing.

Behind this tractor tire is where I found P-pot down and getting snowed under....

There were times when he really wanted to be in the pasture with his buddies. He would go to the gate, shove it by the latch, and I'd let him in. They'd have their fun, and when he'd get hungry, he'd come back to the gate, and I'd let him back out to where his food was available to only him. One day I wasn't quick enough, because I wasn't home. When I got home, he was IN the pasture. What the heck - I thought perhaps a neighbor put him in, thinking that he had gotten loose. Then I saw the rails down - he had pulled the top two split rails out at one end. He somehow stepped over them all and got into the pasture. Lucky for me the other horses didn't think it was so easy to step over.

Another time that I left the house, I was surprised upon my return. As I was coming down the road approaching our driveway, I saw P-pot's hind end disappearing around the pine tree . INTO the driveway and yard! Hoofprint tracking showed he had gone from between our pasture and the neighbor's, around the patch of woods, and along the road outside the road fence (open ended). Lucky again, he was OK since our road gets so little traffic that time of day. He got home just before me - was probably grazing along the way and heard the truck coming . "uh-oh."

When it was time to refill the food tub, IT WAS TIME. P-pot would come up the steep hill to the back door or the deck and hang around, grazing, where I could hear his snorts and feel his stomps. It was not an easy part of the yard to maneuver. The hill behind the barn, which he traversed several times daily, was just as bad, and had deep ruts in the grassfrom a heavy vehicle. He liked to push his limits. It kept him sharp and on his toes. One day he came around the barn corner in some snow, slipped and fell, slid a little, and righted himself in one pretty smooth motion. Where was the video?? Do it again, P-pot!

...so he was locked in for the night, and was not happy about it.

Once I was away for the day and my friend was checking on P-pot. She found him down, inside the stable, in the narrow dirt-floor aisleway. (He liked standing there with his hp leaning against the stallboards and his chin on the opposite ledge as he slept. He must have fallen in his sleep - he did that sometimes!) She panicked, and with an adrenaline rush (she's really strong), pulled him into the open area and ran for help. In a few minutes help was there and P-pot wasn't - he had gotten himself up and was out and about.

Eating from the heated bucket during one of the many snowstorms.

As the months went on, one thing that was fading was his sense of hearing. The tiniest rustle in the branches sent him scurrying, but the loudest noises he nev er heard. The mower and snowmobiles always sent him scurrying, however. One day he was eating from his tub, a 12" deep, 30" wide, round plastic tub with a flat base and rounded edges. It was almost impossible to tip over, and he slid it around in the direction his body ended up facing, rather than change his body position. Anyway, he didn't see or hear me coming up behind him 'til the bucket I was carrying made a click, and he leaped forward, up and over the feed tub, with his hind legs barely getting beyond it. His reaction time was still as quick as ever. The tub wobbled around but never spilled.

Coming down the hill from behind the barn - safely. Shortcutting closer to the barn was risky at times.

 

To be continued.

 


Thanks for all the wonderful correspondences from everyone, the emails and phone calls and letters, etc. It was nice to know how many people he touched. I appreciate your support and good wishes, I will really miss him.

closer