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Raiders Gift

The Perfect Gentleman
15 May 1980 - 20 December 2004

 

Everyone dreams of owning that one perfect horse. That horse that makes you the envy of all the other people on the trails. That horse that you bond with and he knows what you want before you even ask him. That horse that you consider to be your dearest friend. That horse which is so special to you, that you believe he will live forever.

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Raiders Gift was that horse for me. I secretly believed he would live forever, occasionally I would even tell people that he would. I always thought that when the time came, I would walk out one morning and he would have passed quietly in the night. Sadly this was not to be the case.

On Monday 12/20/2004 we treated Gift for colic, basically for lack of anything else to treat. It didn't feel right, but the signs that something was badly wrong were just too mixed up to be able to figure out. The colic treatment was pretty much done on a wing and a prayer, in hopes that was the problem. As the day progressed, he showed no signs of improvement and was starting to get shocky. I gave him huge doses of pain meds, to try and ease the pain for him while we waited for the vet to return.

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I have always heard that the decision to have a beloved animal put down, is the hardest one that you will ever have to make. Now, I know that isn't true, the hardest part is making the decision to stop trying to save them. The decision to put an end to his pain was ever so simple and clear to me, as I looked into my old friends eyes. My final act of friendship towards Gift was to allow him the same dignity in death, which he had shown through out his life. I think it would have been easier if there had been any outward signs of deterioration, but he was fat and his coat was shiny. It was just his time to go, and his internal organs started to shut down. I guess there is no cure for old age.

I had the honor of spending almost eight years with my dream horse, and I cant even begin to count the number of peoples lives that he has touched in his 24 years with us. He patiently taught me how to sit a walking horse. He was my anchor horse when I went out on the trails with a young horse, he was fearless and solid as a rock, I would always laugh when he looked back, I had the feeling he was saying Follow me and let me show you how its done. We spent most Memorial day and Labor day weekends camping at St. Croix Park in Hinkley. He graced me with numerous wonderful colts, just as he has graced hundreds of other people with his foals.

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I had the pleasure of watching him lower his head and do endless figure eights, while a fearless six year old, yelled "Look mom, no hands!". He was always the first horse that I put a newcomer to the breed on, and with out fail, they were hooked. Every year at the open house he proudly gave rides to the general public, whether young or simply young at heart, no one ended their ride without a huge smile on their face. They had ridden a true black stallion! No matter what we were doing or where we were he was always the perfect gentleman.

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I will always think of Gift as truly a Gift from God, how else could one explain a perfect carousel horse that came to life.

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