In Loving Memory of PC (Partly Cloudy)

Foaled 1973 (approx.)
Died April 14, 2007
17 hand White Thoroughbred gelding

PC was a real show stopper in his time, I’m sure. I’ll bet he was a jumper – he has the moves. He was owned by a lady in Garner Valley who had too many horses – in addition, I wouldn’t be surprised if he ran away with her. PC is a canny fellow – he’ll walk politely along the trail, then ask to scratch his nose on his knee, which somehow turns into a spin back towards home. I was on top of it, and just kept the spin going till he was pointed the right way again, but I could feel his intention to high-tail it back to the stable if I hadn’t caught him. Very sneaky! PC suffers from a bad left knee, and navicular in that foot as well.  The farriers over the years have tried several versions of special shoes to mitigate the navicular pain without much success. On his bad days, PC needs a couple of bute.  Right at this time (10/06) PC is barefoot, and seems to be doing fairly well.  However, I’m watching carefully, as the thin shelly hooves of thoroughbreds don’t often do well barefoot, and I don’t want them wearing so much that he becomes sorefooted all around. PC at first took care of Malika and Trilby. 

After Malika hooked up with Victor and Trilby passed away, PC became Sunny’s escort and the two of them seem to be the consolers – when Victor lost Malika, and Prophet lost Ladyhawke, and even briefly when Lucifer lost Belle, PC and Sunny were the couple they ran to. 

Goodbye to PC 

Saturday, April 14, 2007, even Mother Nature wept at the passing of PC. Many knew from past newsletters that PC was frail and I worried at the difficulty I had keeping weight on him. After almost 15 years at TGC, PC was in his mid-30s, and for this 17.1hh Thoroughbred, time has finally run out.

Sweet tender PC. What a gentle giant this guy was. Time and again PC would approach me so quietly, as I cleaned or filled waterbarrels, that my first notice that he was there would be his warm breath on my neck. His big soft dark eyes would regard me with gentle bemusement, happy if I had a treat for him, but just as happy to look in my eyes and feel my hands on his nose. Although a brisk morning would bring out some of his former glory, as he gathered himself up and cantered roundly out for breakfast, mostly PC was a quiet, slow moving, calm presence here, a steadfast escort for Sunny, and tolerant friend for Victor and Prophet and Shine. Together with Sunny, PC was the horse that all went to when loss occurred. Prophet joined Sunny and PC when Ladyhawk died; Victor joined them when Malika passed away; even Lucifer joined them briefly when Charra died. And those are just the most recent. When a horse felt lost and alone, they could always find a safe haven with these two sweethearts. 

PC came to TGC because of navicular, and because his previous owner had let him get barn sour and felt he was an unreliable ride. So funny – he was just a clever guy. When I rode him the first time, he was perfect … until he casually went to scratch his nose on his knee. This move was designed to get the reins without a fight, I guess, because he continued the movement until he was pointing back, and I felt him gather up for a push home – all I had to do was keep that rein tight, and his own effort brought him right back to the direction we’d been going. He was very well trained, and responsive – he was just willing to try for what he wanted, no hard feelings if he didn’t succeed. We had a nice ride, one of only a few. Even when PC first came to me he was elderly, and with the navicular situation, I was unwilling to put any more miles on him. And I never felt he was interested in going out …. he was happy to hang with his friends. Every now and then, on those cool mornings, I’d see the fancy ride he must have been in his day – neck arched, rocking horse gait, tail and mane flying. Although he was always calm and peaceful here at TGC, I could see the ghost of his fancier, working style, and wished I could have known him then.

In the last months, PC had often held back when the horses returned to their stalls for the evening. At first, due to his overall frailty, I’d been worried. But of all things, I started finding him escorting Mitey Nice in, protecting her as she slowly worked her way back for dinner. PC was the only one that Inch would trust to do this for her – as though every now and then PC told Inch, go ahead, get your dinner, I’ll take care of her. And he walked slowly behind her. Anyone else that close to Mitey’s tail would either get kicked, or make her scramble to get away – but PC had the art of a gentle shadow – that he could get so close without any intimidation was even more amazing when you considered his size.

He never fought; he never spooked; he behaved in his stall, on a leadrope, or for the farrier, and never put himself forward. Several times he got his leg hooked on the lower chain of his gate, and stood (on one horrible occasion for an entire night), without fighting it, waiting for rescue. How much of this was due to his age, or perhaps his former life and training, or just being happy, I don’t know. During his time with me, he never needed the vet; he took his wormer like a good boy; this spring he’s been enjoying his grooming, as he grew thick hair for the winter that was shedding out. I wish he could have made it to the summer when he so loved to have his bath. PC looked white, but when he was wet, his freckles were more noticeable. (Sorry folks, he agreed with me that he was NOT “fleabitten”, merely freckled.) In a very real sense, PC came very close to being the perfect horse. 

Yesterday, I found Victor ignoring his dinner, standing with his head in PC’s stall, clearly missing him. (I moved him there, so he could be next to Sunny.) Three times now I’ve felt a pang of concern because his head wasn’t waiting at his feed bowl for his dinner – only to remember it never would be again. And today I couldn’t find Sunny, because I was looking for my big white boy, with whom she always stands. PC will be so missed … TGC will never be the same without him.   

 PC leads his herd-let, Sunny, Victor, Shine just 2 months before his death

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