The old stallion…

4/02/03  To live in the moment, trusting and loving, open to the next adventure

He has no idea how close he came that day, to leaving with a ‘horse killer’. Now, I hate that term because there are regulations, I’m told, that closely guard and protect thousands of horses that are shipped to slaughter. I was assured the trip to Texas is humane, and the death is quick and painless…oh, that we could be promised the same end.

Now, who brought these horses here, to this sale in this condition? They’re painfully underweight, filthy, unwanted, sick and broken…not just their bones, but also their spirits, frightened and abused. Who’s really the horse killer? But that was not to be his fate that day …the day he found me…isn’t that the way it always seems to work?

A muddy, skinny, matted, old gray Arabian stallion- pawing the air, head up, snorting and eyeing a paint mare amorously, yet sweet enough to allow me to get on his back. I’m no hero in wanting him. He has much to teach me…that much I know. “If the sight of blue skies fills you with joy, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand…rejoice, for your soul is alive…”

Next step…bidding. There was no one else who wanted him…just the ‘horse killer’ and I and had that man known ahead of time, I’ll bet even he wouldn’t have bid, had I asked him not to. No, he wasn’t worth much to anyone…except to me. When the auctioneer gestured that I was the high bidder, I wondered what I would do with a 19 year-old stallion. I was supposed to be at this sale to find a palomino for my husband.

So, I took him home to beautiful Villa Bella Vista. He now shares the paddock with last years rescue…and 11-year-old Arab gelding named Jiggers (DeSonata)….and with Lily (MJL Ale Hazallah), a 10-year-old Arab mare, with whom he’ll make a beautiful baby… when she decides to cooperate (Lily is the Hebrew meaning of Susan). Under that dirt and winter coat are-bones-but the head and neck I’d been looking for two years. You see, Lily couldn’t be bred to just any stallion. He must be beautiful AND charming. He responds so beautifully to a soft touch. “Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see…”

4/09 Went back to the sale barn and found ‘Ole Bill’ who had originally brought this horse to the sale. He didn’t know much about the horse and didn’t want to tell me the name of the former owner, not that I blame him. He didn’t know me and no doubt felt bad about the condition of the horse. I’m just so grateful to him for bringing the horse to Fort Collins…‘a single grateful thought, raised to heaven is the perfect prayer…’

4/12 Lil and the old stallion connected…and connected…and connected

4/16 Went back to the sale barn to find ‘Ole Bill’…I think I’m earning his trust. He’s probably concerned that should I find out who had the horse before he did, it could sully his reputation, for bringing the old stallion to a sale where horse killers buy the horses that no one else wants. He told me he had a deal worked out to get the animals back, should a horse killer bid be the high bid. He’d been using the old stallion to breed burros and said they all took.

4/19 ‘Ole Bill’ called to let me know that the horse is registered and that a woman named Lyn had the horse before he did. I called her and she said that she’d moved recently and wasn’t able to keep her horses. In speaking with her, I understand why this is such a sweet horse. She said she’d been using the old stallion to breed whatever, without papers. She didn’t even know where to find the papers, but that a doctor had the horse before she did (and, no, he’d not ever been ridden). But now my vet can come out and vaccinate… and now I know his name is Kalypso.

Logged on to Arabian Horse Registry-Data Source and there he was-Kalypso ESQ. #313970, a son of Eukaliptus…WOW! Born in 1984 and still registered to Successor Esquire LTD of Cheyenne. I immediately called and left a message on the Doctor’s answering machine.

 4/22 Went to the scale at Dennis’ feed store in Old Town…he weighed in at 920 pounds, that’s up 135 pounds in 3 weeks. It’s gotta be the beet pulp. He measured almost 14-2. The horse is about perfect as can be. Great legs, feet, back, and the healthier he gets, the more his personality is emerging. Lily is now kicking at him after 10 days of romance. We’ll know in 18 days if she “took”….May 10th

4/24 I wrote a letter and mailed it off to the doctor asking for registration papers, including the form to apply for a reissue of the registration certificate. Now I just wait and hope …“hope is faith holding out it’s hand in the dark…

4/24 My C.S.U. vet came out and shook his head at my latest project. Joe’s been through this with me before. He gave the 5 Way and West Nile, looked at his teeth and said they were not too bad. He’ll be back for a float and 2nd West Nile the end of May.

Two friends came out to ride Lil and Jiggs so I could ride the old stallion. What joy! He didn’t understand what I asked him to do in regards to turning with leg pressure etc-at least he didn’t in the beginning of the ride. He was a good sport, level headed, and was happy to follow Lil and Jigs. Have I mentioned that I REALLY love this old horse? After two hours, Kalypso understood what I wanted him to do and responded to very little pressure. I rode him with a halter and lead rope (thank you Parelli). I think stallions get short changed being kept just for breeding. He never had to use mind, til now.

5/3/03 I’d made several phone calls to both the doctor and to Lynn this past week but always got an answering machine and left a message “… just wondering if you’d given any more thought to helping me find Kalypso’s papers…” (watched the gelding, Funny Cide win the Kentucky Derby…whoo hoo!!….)

5/4/03 Loaded up Lil and Kalypso and headed to Cheyenne…maybe if the people SAW the horse, someone would be motivated to help me get the papers. Early on I knew I had a lot to learn from this old stallion… like when you load a mare and a stallion in a two horse trailer the stallion HAS to go in first…yep, I’m learning. Lynn was home to answer her phone when I called her from Cheyenne, but didn’t invite us to come to her place (could I be any more of a pest to these poor people). No one was home at the doctor’s so I waited a while, then left a note saying that we’d been there, then went home…I was so down. “Never think God’s delays are denials…hold on, hold fast, hold out…Patience is genius”

5/5/03 The DOC called!!! He said he’d been busy with his family, practice and life and wasn’t ignoring me.. he hadn’t had the horse in years…and that when the economy and the Arabian horse economy fell apart in this area he and his partners found the horse a new home with Lynn. He told me that the breeding fee for Eukaliptus was five grand…and Bandos’ fee was twenty grand. Yes, an amazing horse had found his way to me. I explained that Lynn told me she didn’t know where the papers were, and that according to the Arabian Horse Registry the horse was still registered to him. He said he would to help me get those papers. He’d order a reissue this week.

5/6/03 I invited all the friends who had put up with me lamenting on this horse’s registration paper situation. We celebrated the good news (and the end of my whining) with a beer swillin’, cigar smokin’ evening of horse talk. I KNEW he was really something without paperwork. I’ve been so obsessed with this registration issue because the papers belong with the horse…and no one wants anything to do with an old stallion without ‘em…well, o.k., there’s ONE person who does…‘Pride is concerned with who is right…humility is concerned with what is right”

5/12/03 Lily is back “in” and the romance is back in full swing. Last year she was bred and didn’t take. I’m starting to wonder if there’s a problem. Wouldn’t that be ironic? I buy a stallion and go through all the rigmarole and still don’t get a foal. It’s O.K, Lil’s my girl…she feeds my soul. The breeder who sold her to me said he didn’t want her anymore because she wasn’t pretty enough, but her baby was perfect and black, though that was before the West Nile Virus vaccine…hmmm…

5/17/03 Took Kalypso out alone for a ride. He sure didn’t want to leave Lily and was a real handful by himself-announcing to everyone along the way-’hey, look at me!’ Once we got out to a field we opened up and his gaits are so sweet. We do need to work on walking, as all he wanted to do was go, go, go. In trying to slow him down we turned in circles over and over…he’s got that turn thing down pat! Watched Funny Cide win the Preakness!

5/18/03 Every muscle in my body is sore this morning…Kalypso gave me a WORKOUT yesterday…took Lily out today…she’s my Cow Catching-Team Penning-Sorting partner. She loves the game and though we get a lot of good natured teasing, Arabians aren’t cattle horses in this part of the country, she’s the best!

6/03/03 Kalypso has been delivered to a ranch 9 miles away where he’ll spend the next several weeks with five mares. The breeder and I have agreed to trading his stud fees for a baby next spring. We really need to find out if he can get the mares pregnant…and he’s doing his best and lovin’ it!

6/11/03 It’s been more than a month, so I called to see if the doctor had made any progress on the registration papers…. nothing had been done yet. I realize that just because this is my priority…it’s not his. New plan…I called his office and talked to his office manager Shirley. She listened to me explain that I needed to get a reissue of the registration papers, that I had down loaded all the forms and filled them out and really only needed signatures to be able to mail them into the Registry…she said to mail the stuff and she’d help me get this done. So I drove to Cheyenne and handed them to her. She admired a jacket I was wearing so I took it off and gave it to her…at the very least, she may remember me…

6/21/03Got Kalypso’s papers!!! Have sent them in for transfer to my name! End of story??

……Kalypso is so loving with mares…but not so toward geldings. My dear friend Paul is in the process of moving, so I picked up his gelding ‘Dollar’…and his mare ‘Gypsy’ to stay with me till their new home is ready for them. They’re in the paddock next to my mare and the old stallion…Gypsy is an 18-year-old stock paint mare – solid black and gorgeous. I asked Paul if I could breed her to Kalypso and keep her baby, …he said ‘sure’…(now that’s a good friend!). Because MY mare never took after 4 cycles, I’m thinking maybe Gypsy will… But back to the geldings…I rented pasture for my gelding ‘Jiggers’ for May and June because Kalypso wouldn’t stop running at him. Now Kalypso is running at the fence at ‘Dollar’

6/26/03 Dollar has obviously had enough of Kalypso running at him and broke thru the fence and attacked him. I didn’t see what happened, but the fence told the story…and now Kalypso is favoring his left front leg. I moved Dollar from my property but Gypsy stayed as she and the old stallion are ‘connecting’. I’m watching that leg…it hasn’t hindered his love life and he’s eating like…a horse.Though I’ve been leaving messages for the owner of the mares who were bred to Kalypso last month…her vet called and told me that Kalypso gave two of her mares herpes…WHAT?!?!?  He’d run cultures on the mares, but had never even seen the old stallion. I called and made a Total Stallion Check-up appointment at the Reproductive Center at Colorado State University…the cost is $375.00, but I have to know what, if any, the problem is. The soonest they can get me in is July 9th.

7/02/03 Bert called around 7:30 last night (7/1/03-Tuesday) to tell me that Jiggers had a cut on his head. Bert has been around horses all 84 years of his life and was leasing his pasture to me. He wouldn’t call unless it was serious. I took the trailer over, loaded Jiggs and headed for the C.S.U. Vet Teaching Hospital ER. There was a huge slash over his eye, about 7 inches long and very deep. Bert doesn’t know what caused the laceration, but the ER. vet showed me how deep is was…into the sinus cavity and it crushed the skull bone. He’ll have a nasty scar and a ‘dent’ on his beautiful face.. They told me that this time of year (4th of July) they see many cut up horses, likely frightened by fireworks.

7/2/03 I picked up Jiggers. They’d kept him overnight at C.S.U. He has a skull fracture and part of the bone is missing…they lined up what bone was left and sutured the sinus and then put in another 23 stitches…he looks a little like Frankenstein… poor baby….He needs to be with me so I can administer his meds and he needs peace and quite to heal. The old stallion is tormenting Jiggs so now I’m going to have to rent a run for Kalypso at “Stallion Station”

7/3/03 Moved the stallion out to the “Stallion Station” . He’s still favoring that leg, but I gave him a good dose of bute. This move is heartbreaking for Kalypso, for Lil, and for me..

7/04/03 Went to see Kalypso, he can barely move. He’d been running at the panels of his pen and his leg is much worse. …I dosed him up with bute and hoped things would be better in the morning

7/05/03 (A.M.) . Got a call from “Stallion Station” to learn that Kalypso is much worse, he was lying down. I loaded Lil and went to get him. When we pulled up Kalypso called to Lil…and she back to him…his spirits picked up…he gave her love nips and kisses all over her body and he perked up enough to hobble behind her into the trailer. On the 12 mile trek to the C.S.U. ER…the old stallion had a hard time keeping his balance with that bad leg…Lil stood in the middle of the two horse trailer and used her body to hold him up between herself and the trailer wall. They so adore each other
7/05/03 The temperature was in the mid 90′s as we pulled into the vet hospital. They told me to pull right into the building…we unloaded the old stallion and Lil… and they told me that even if this was Secretariat, there was nothing they could do for him. There was a break in the bone above his knee joint.
I led Lil toward ‘the stocks’ and the ER staff held his leg as Kalypso followed. The vets administered the injection as I held his head… with his last breath he was still crying out for Lily. Then he was gone…beautiful, peaceful.
Lily needed a sedative before she would load. I asked that Kalypso’s body be used for research. At this point I’m dealing with my guilt in not being able to keep him safe…and excruciating pain in losing him.

“Some horses come into our lives and make hoof prints on our hearts and we are never, never the same” – Anonymous

7/07/03 The condolences are coming via e-mail:

Susan~ It is an honor to be a veterinary student and work with clients as great as you have been. My thoughts and prayers are with you during your loss, I am very sorry. Animals come into our lives and become family members. They often leave too early and sometimes without warning.
We are only blessed with the memories they leave us.
Take care and if we find anything from Kalypso I’ll relay the information.
Scott Meyer
Oh, Susan, I am so sorry. Boys will be boys but I hate it when they hurt each other. So sorry you had to go thru that all.
Susan, I am sooo sorry!! I don’t know what to say, I know it must have been so hard for you to make that decision.  I just wish that we could have gotten him down here. It’s such a sad ending to his story. I’ll keep you in my prayers, Cathy
What shocker!!! I guess the good news is that the last few months of his life were likely the best that he had with all of your TLC. I’m really sorry as this wasn’t the end of his story you had in mind. I hope that you are able to get a good foal out of one of the mares that he bred. Keep in touch and again, I’m sorry! I’ll have to break the
news to my mares. Cindy
Sorry to hear of your loss, but look at the bright side, you gave that horse a 3 month vacation at “Susan’s club med for Horses”!
I heard you telling Michael about Kalypso as I got in the car – I’m sorry, I know you tried to save him – twice at least, the sale and now. I have gone through the same, its not easy, but you at least made the effort to give him a better life, and that is absolutely tremendous – for that in and of itself, is commendable. Be happy in that fact -you made his life better, even if only for a short time. Again, I am sorry.
The parade isn’t until the 19th, think about it – no pressure. It was nice to meet you as well. Take care – think about the parade, plenty of time.
Susan, I am so sorry for your loss. The loss of animal/companion is devastating but now Kalypso is free to run and his spirit will always remain with you…
I am so sorry to hear about Kalypso. It is always hard to lose an animal you love, and I do know you loved Kalypso or you wouldn’t have saved him
But, remember the chance you gave him and how grand his last few months were.
Deepest sympathy,
Kris Barry
Hi Susan,
This is Janis Kell… I showed you photos of my 30 year old mare when Brian & Todd let me be a DJ for the day on my birthday last summer. I just heard that you had to put your horse down, and am SO sorry. Please know that people care, and time helps a lot. I wouldn’t say time heals all wounds,  but I will say that you’ll get used to a new normal and a time will come when tears turn to smiles when you think of him.
We love you!
Janis Kell & Snippy (now 31)

Meet Kalypsos babies…’Bandos Gypsys’ and ‘Kalypso Lyric’ born in May of 2004

Arabian Horse Farm