In Loving Memory of Jet (“Twister Red”)

26+ years old
Passed away October 2, 2004
16.2 hh Appendix gelding

Jet getting kisses from Kelli and a leg wash from Fallon

Fallon riding Jet    

Fallon riding Jet  Fallon and Kelli riding Jet

Previously owned by Ann Brauchi of Phoenix, Jet is a 26+ year old Appendix gelding, whose past exploits are many.  He has been a show horse and is  trained in western and english disciplines.  His favorite work is being kissed and groomed by little girls, as this web site will show.  But he is kind and well behaved and the one time I rode him on trails was forward and interested.  But Jet has a low back problem which pretty much eliminates his engine, interferes with his ability to sweat and causes him to drip urine constantly, making him a real maintenance hassle.  His sheath and rear legs have to be washed, disinfected and protected every coupe of days.  In December, about 1 year after he came to The Golden Carrot, he sustained a knee injury, including a massive infection in the joint and by the time it had healed, he had lost a couple of hundred pounds, and his knee is extremely stiff.  He is rebuilding from that trauma, and hopefully this summer will make a difference in this kind old campaigner.  Jet’s favorite horses are Ladyhawk and Orion, and he loves peppermints.

Goodbye to Jet

October 2004

I write today to let all of you who have followed the story of Jet know that Jet’s troubles are over. He died on Saturday, October 2nd. For the first time, Jet went down twice in one day. Not only could I not put him through another effort, but I believe that he despaired himself. His end was quick. He leaves behind his harem of ladies, and the aching hearts of those who tried to hard to keep him going, because we couldn’t bear to lose him.

Jet was an extraordinary horse. You know I love them all, but I have to admit that he was special. Its hard for me to define the difference – each of them are people to me, with their own characteristics and qualities – but Jet LOOKED BACK – he observed me as much as I observed him – he had a clear look. I always felt Jet was an equine genius – mischievous, compassionate, clever, with an understanding of the world around him that surpassed any other horse I ever knew. He was terribly disabled, with navicular, and a pinched nerve in his back that caused extreme weakness in his hindquarters (thus his ongoing difficulty in getting up off the ground) and constant dribbling of urine. In his first year with me, he got an infection in his left knee, and despite the efforts of Laurie Henkel, and myself under her instruction, that knee got stiffer and stiffer with every passing year. Thus, Jet was really a one legged horse.

Never mind his constant aches and pains, this guy had a passion for life. The Golden Carrot has 12 mares, and 15 geldings. How is it then that Jet was in charge of FOUR mares??? And despite his disability, not only did his mares not stray, none of the much younger, and stronger, and larger geldings ever tested his dominion over them. He did it with his incomparable force of will and personality. One look from Jet, and the geldings would slink away, muttering curses. One snake head, laid back ears, and they’d scoot!

In his dealings with people, Jet was several people himself. He would tolerate his weekly grooming, fussing with me if I didn’t use hot water on his legs, watching until I was under his butt, trying to clean his back feet, to poop, and with a look in his eyes of intense satisfaction if he could bomb me successfully.

But he never actually misbehaved, never pulled on me as I led him around, moved where he was asked and stood in crossties like he was rooted. Despite the stiffness in his left knee, he tried hard to hold his feet up for the farrier, and cooperated always with what was asked of him. He did consistently resist his oral medications, but stood for exams, therapy, and shots. He was fussy about what he ate – determined to NOT take any medications hidden in his food, resisting the rice bran I tried to fatten him up with, convinced that real horses only ate hay; but he loved his peppermints, and cookies, and carrots, please more carrots!

I only rode him once, on trail, because he felt very weak under me. But on that ride, his interest was high, and he looked down every cross-road and asked – can we go there? – no spookiness, no balking.

And then, the thing Jet loved most about being here – I think even more than having his harem around him – I was able to use Jet many times as the first “big horse” ride for many little kids. Even Mike, who seldom notices anything about the horses, would exclaim at the sweet look Jet would get in his eye when a child was put into his saddle. My throat would choke as I watched him walk so carefully, head held low, trying not to move his body too much, while a little child smiled broadly from so high in the air. His patience, and his caretaking qualities, were amazing. I have a picture in my website where two kids, both standing on chairs set up on either side of him, groomed Jet – I simply don’t have another horse that I could trust to stand so still, and keep kids in that precarious situation safe, but I knew Jet would hurt himself before he would cause them injury, even by accident. And when a little hand held a treat out to his big nose, he would lower his head so gently, and blow softly on their hand first, and then nibble the treat off – clearly trying not to scare them. It’s not that he was rude or abrupt taking a treat from an adult – it was just DIFFERENT when it was a child – he KNEW they were small and could be scared.

Why such a strong mind ended up in a weak body, I’ll never know. Except Bobby Sox, no horse has cost me so much to lose – but in a real sense, Jet’s been on borrowed time for years. Although I’ve certainly had horses live longer, none were anywhere near as disabled as he was. The problems he had caused a diminution of the quality of his life, and at some point, the cure was worse than the disease. The terrific strain of being cast twice this year; the stress of being lifted with a tractor too many times; added to his ongoing difficulties and weaknesses, were all too much. It is possible I could have got him to his feet again on Saturday. But this time, he went away from the herd, into the brushy area of the wash – as we know animals will do when they want to die. I had to take my cue from him – and send him on. O how I will miss him.

With all the strength I have left, I hope there really is a better world, where he, and all my sweet horses, are cantering on green fields together, disabilities and pain gone.

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