Goodbye to Basky
Passed May 31, 2017
On May 31, 2017, 3 and a half years after she came to The Golden Carrot, Basky is gone. “Bucks a’Smoken” was brought low by complications of a founder she suffered during her last and unsuccessful pregnancy, including a rotated coffin bone after more than a year struggling with abscess after abscess, and a stifle injured in the mud this past winter.
Basky produced two foals and was probably pregnant with a third when she was sent to a private auction and NeighSavers bought her. When she didn’t produce a baby, they concluded she was just “obese” and placed her with a newbie foster with strict diet instructions. Unfortunately, they didn’t monitor the situation, and never told the foster to change to a more normal diet, and when they decided to ask TGC to take Basky, she came in about 150 pounds underweight. She also had no hair on the backs of her hind legs, from rectum to hocks, almost as if she’d been shaved. When NeighSavers called me to yell at me for posting her intake photos, I asked about the hair loss as the story I got seemed unlikely, and was told they would talk to the vet and get back to me. They never did. I will tell you that until I got the fabulous energy worker Dee Gleason out, we approached Basky’s hind end at our own risk. Dee was able to help her a little, and we were in a little less danger!
For her first year and a half here, she was very happy. Only 9 months after she came in, Jet arrived and became immediately glued to her side. A couple months later Leo joined them. She sailed around the property with her two swains in tow, finally Queen of her life and quite happy. Almost every single picture I have of her has one or both of those boys in it.
I then made the mistake that in the long run pretty much ruined the rest of her life. I saw a healthy 13 year old mare who ran and played and never showed the least lameness. And I felt that if she had some under saddle training she’d have a better chance of getting adopted if I were to die. So I sent her off with Dominic for training. Suffice it to say they received no training at all, and Basky came back 60 days later, lame - so lame she never ever after walked normally. Best we can tell, all she got was endless lunging in the roundpen. Basky wasn’t the best conformed mare in her legs, and had plenty of attitude as big young broodmares can, but - when she returned, the battle began.
The farriers tried their best - and she did wear shoes with pads for her last year. The vet made his recommendations for that and for pain relief. She sorta did ok, but the 2016-17 rains made a quagmire that eventually hurt one of her stifles as well. From that point forward, managing her pain became more and more ineffective. When she finally decided she didn’t want to leave her stall, and spent more than half her time on the ground, I knew it was time.
As her NeighSavers foster said, Basky “wasn’t cuddly”. She was a big strong mare with a determination to have her own way. She was suspicious of people. Unlike most of my mares, she never got along with my landlord. (She always liked me, but I think only because I was the feed lady!) There were things she was willing to do, and things she wasn’t. The doc and I talked a lot about Basky over the years. He suspects she may have resorbed her last foal, under the stress of auction. That would be just like her - no, I’m not having a baby till I know what’s going on! She traveled the property with her boys, but it was more where she wanted to go and what she wanted to do, and they could follow if they liked (and they did). I’m pretty sure she probably kicked Leo and broke his ulna. But there was something about her - Leo and Jet were unwavering in their devotion, and their desolate cries have been echoing since she passed. And most of the other geldings liked her - they’d try to get next to her each spring.
As always, I think she liked her situation here, until the last month. She liked the interaction; her boys; the feed, and mostly being left alone to enjoy them. So in the end, we provided something to her for the misfortunes of her existence.
Her boys hung outside her empty stall for half a day, and then joined the herd, screaming and clearly looking, hopeful that she’d somehow just got away from them. Today, they’re quiet. I guess that empty stall brought it home to them. Despite the struggle to decide to end the pain, it was so hard for me to believe she was gone I actually filled her bucket for dinner last night - remembering only as I was getting her meds ready that she was gone. She had a big presence. I hope this loss doesn’t take the heart out of Jet and Leo, but I honestly don’t see them approaching another mare. She was Bucks a’Smoken, and you just don’t replace that!