Saturday, April 25, 2009


Jesse followed the horse trailer into the pasture with great interest. He softly nickered as he circled the carrier. I attached a long lead rope to Jesse and one to Prince. My job would have been to control Prince, my friend Doc, being a strong man, was to try to control Jesse. A horse fight is a terrible thing to watch. I had seen with Trigger, how it could go wrong and the damage it could cause.

Slowly, I backed Prince down the ramp. Jesse came up to Prince and they pressed noses together, snorting as they breathed each others exhales. Then all hell broke lose. Forget lead ropes, They both jerked free at the same time.The suddeness left Doc and I just holding on to air. Now, I have seen horses mate and I have seen horses fight. It takes a knowledgeable person to tell the difference in the beginning. Biting, kicking , and screaming while the dust flies, is common with both.

This was different. You would have thought these two animals were twins that had been separated a birth. There were "hello" nickers, "where have you been?" nickers, and "my God have I missed you,"squeals. They were rearing, bucking , kicking, all the while carrying on a constant soft dialogue. The flying feet though were not aimed at each other. They were the kicks a horse does on a cold morning when he is feeling good. These were expressions of pure joy. When they calmed down a bit, I removed their ropes and they raced across the pasture together. I could not swallow. This gigantic lump was in my throat. Doc could only stare open mouthed. We had seen a very strange yet beautiful thing.

Jesse and Prince were inseparable and I mean that in the strictest sense. When I went on trail rides, I took Prince with us, tied to a lead rope. Originally, I tried to leave him, but the screams, then answering screams, then more screams, plus fighting with Jesse to keep him from bolting for home, took all the fun out of a solo ride. So I had to take a little pack pony on all my rides. Then all of us were happy and could enjoy the day.

Jesse was in his mid twenties when I lost Prince. I never knew Prince's exact age but the vets always thought he was older than Jesse. Prince went down over night. He was a bit depressed for a few days, was eating well, but then he was just gone. He was never more than an dour little dude with me but I loved him for what he brought to Jesse's life.

Burying livestock was illegal so I called the meat plant and they came to pick him up. I have never been attached to the carcass of a pet though I have buried many when possible. It may sound cold, but I feel they are no longer there. The body was just a house where they once lived.

So the truck came to pick up Prince. Jesse had grazed near him that morning and would approach him with an occasional nicker and nudge. I held Jesse as they attached the winch to Prince and proceeded to pull him into the wagon. I saw Jesse's eyes flash and I gripped the rope tighter. As the truck started up, Jesse broke from me. He screamed in anguish and anger, as he raced after the truck. They drove slowly as he ran across the front of the vehicle almost as if he was trying to stop it. I had to cross tie him so they could leave the pasture. The drivers told me they had never seen anything like it.

Can animals be depressed? You bet they can. Jesse's moping broke my heart. After a month of watching my once fun loving horse grieve, I decided to get him another pony. Hombre was a nice pony. Hombre tried, but Jesse only tolerated him. There was no anger towards the little pony but no friendship either. It was like I was telling a new widow, "Hay, look at this nice fellow I found for you." It just didn't work.

Jesse lived several years after that but those years were not good for him. He got aches and pains like all older creatures but it was his loss of interest that hurt so much to see. I no longer was enough.

Don't tell me animals don't have feelings.


  1. Gosh, what a tale. Horses can live a long time and losing one is like losing a child or a parent. I hate to see animals suffer and suffer they do and vets, some of them at least, could care less it seems to me. They are only interested in their payment for services rendered. We have had some wonderful vets. I hope you had at least one during these critical times.

    You are a great story teller.

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  3. How wonderful! I would have loved to have witnessed their meeting! Amazing they formed such a strong bond so quickly.
    You know I agree with you. I’m the nut who bought 50 chicks to raise for food and ended up with 50 pets instead. They were big, gentle Puff Orpingtons - even the roosters didn’t fight with one another. They were excellent company when I would work in the garden as they would encircle me clucking, scratching and eating the grubs I dug up. I adored them! I am going to the co-op today to hopefully buy guinea keets. Joy!

  4. Animals are definitely sentient beings. They have rich lives that we barely understand. I wish I could have seen Jesse and Prince's meeting. Your description is stunning and beautiful.

  5. It's always tough when humans lose animals, or animals lose their trusted master, but you are right: animals losing animal friends can be just as painful, and often an untold story. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Oh what a story. You ought to publish that one, Patti. I'm glad that Prince and Jesse had time together. Such great pals!!!!! BUT--I was sad to hear about Prince's death. Poor Jesse.. Animals DO have feelings for sure!!!

    Thanks for sharing.

  7. Abe,

    Thanks so much. Fortunately I have always had good vets. That is the wrong profession for someone just in it for the money.

    Loved your account of the chickens. I could eat the eggs but not the adults. Good luck with your keets. They are so cute.

    Yeaaaa. Me too.

    Had I known, I would have made a video at the time. That scene could bear repeating. The video in my head is still clear.

    How true. We are quick to see the relationship between man and beast, but seldom explore that between beast and beast.

    Thank you so much. They did have almost 20 years together for which I was so grateful. That amount of time somewhat explained Jesse's depression when we lost Prince.

  8. Joyce
    Welcome to TNS
    Thank you so much for stopping by and I am glad you liked the story.

  9. Patti, I know so little about horses, and reading your stories of them make them much more "real" to me. How sad that the pony grieved.

  10. kenju
    Tnanks. Untill I saw it personally, I never would have thought them capable of long term grief.
    Hope you didn't work to hard this week end and that you created lots of pretties.