A week from tomorrow, we will be moving Angel to a retirement pasture. He will live out the rest of his life, as long as he is comfortable, in open fields with a herd of horses to keep him company. I know he will love it. He will be able to do pretty much whatever he wants, whenever he wants: graze, nap, run, play.
He has some lameness issues, and it’s best, for a number of reasons, to just let him go BE. He’s carried my butt around for long enough.
Angel is 20 years old. He’s been with me for almost 15 years. He taught me how to ride. He has been my best friend. He always nickered when he saw me coming. Even when he was being a little turd, he never tried to really hurt me. Whenever I came off, he would stand there waiting for me to get up. He never ran away, even if he bucked me off in the first place.
Trail rides, cattle sorting, learning to lope properly (me, not him). Some of the best times of my life were with Angel. With his gentle muzzle he got me through the day my mom died. When my brother died, after we cleaned out his room and my head was full of the smell of mold, which permeated everything in the room, (that’s where he died, and the body was there for a while) I went to the stable. The only thing that got that smell out of my head was the smell of fresh horse manure and burying my face in Angel’s warm, dusty neck and breathing deep. He stood quietly and let me stand like that for as long as I needed to.
He has a sense of humor, and we laughed together. Once I was riding bareback and upon dismounting I slid off wrong and landed in a heap on the ground by his front legs. I couldn’t stop laughing. Angel reached down and gave me a noogy on the top of my head with his lips.
He has taught me to be gentle, slow down, ask softly, be patient. To trust. Even though I know this is the best decision for him and for me, it hurts like crazy. I can’t even begin to know how much I will miss him.