GOODBYE TO JORDAN
Passed away, 11/1/19
Today the world is less for the loss of our Jordan, (JC “Slewsinthefastlane”). Our giant boy succumbed to far too many disabilities to allow him any quality of life. He spent his last summer largely in the back area, in his stall, luckily with his faithful buddy Bo hanging with him most days. But being in the herd was too stressful in his condition.
He came in to TGC years ago with a bum knee and a hind leg swollen with cellulitis. Many efforts to reduce the cellulitis met with no real success, and of course, the knee just became worse and worse. And when a horse is over at the knee, he’s essentially a 3 legged horse. And fate had more in store for him. Last winter was the worst rainfall I’d ever seen in 20 years here. I never realized he’d done it, but I’m pretty sure that he cast himself, or injured himself in some way, perhaps slipping in the mud. The vet and our friend Jodi H (an equine massage/physical therapist) both felt the injury was in his neck, causing the same sideways walking that Wobblers’ does due to loss of proprioception (where basically, due to a lesion/injury in the cervical spine, a horse doesn’t have any real control or understanding of where his hind feet are).
Jordan lost so much weight, and staggered around in circles if he tried to stand still, that I began leaving him in his stall area (where he could wander around, but brace himself on stall and aisleway walls if needed, and also eat without competing with the herd). Anti-inflammatories were suggested, as needed, but honestly, they rarely seemed to make any difference for him. Jodi tried multiple times, if only to relieve the extra strain on his muscles from the odd way of going. Jordan liked her, and while he had some difficulty holding himself still for the treatments, overall he seemed brighter and straighter after she was done, if only for a day or so. In the end, after 6 months, his weight began to drop again, and I realized that I’d have to make good on my promise him. I’d told him if he’d be patient, accept his treatment, eat everything he could, and take his meds, if he wasn’t better, I would not put him thru another winter here (Jordan was like me – he hated the cold!)
Last week, our friend and supporter Carli N saw him for the first time since June. She felt he’d lost a lot of weight. (it helps me, who sees these guys every day, to have someone who sees them only every month, or several months, give me feedback). She missed a couple of months in the summer when his weight went back up, but yeah, he was leaving feed at night, and losing again. And when Jodi said goodbye yesterday, she agreed he was thinner than in August when she saw him last, and his eyes were sinking in. It was time.
Jordan is another cast off of the racing industry. I can hardly believe he was raced, so young. This horse was HUGE! 18 hands at the withers, and in his better health, a massive guy. BORN on May 26, he was considered “1 year old” when he was only 6 months old! Stupid stupid tradition. And that means at “age 2” he was really 18 months old. This guy wasn’t even close to fully grown, and they raced him. And when he couldn’t perform, they tossed him aside. He could barely organize his legs at that age. SUCH a barbaric and self-absorbed “sport”.
Despite his “poor performance”, Jordan had all the heart and try that characterizes this wonderful breed of horse. His courage was all the more compelling when you realized, after knowing him a while, that practically everything scared hell out of him. Little mares. Loud noises. Being alone. Being in a herd. New feed. But despite his fears, if you asked him, he’d give you anything. He was willing to trust, and try. For such a timid guy to lose even his ability to move with strength and speed must have been even more terrifying. But he kept steaming along, give it his best, hanging with his buddies as much as he could.
Sometimes when Bo went out, Jordan didn’t follow – he wasn’t up to it that day, and he would call and call, hoping Bo would come back (which sometimes he did) When he did follow Bo out, he often spent his time close to the stall lines, while Bo wandered all around the property. I’d find Jordan back by the gate to his stall area, alone, wanting to be safe. And when he staggered in, he would go directly to Bo’s stall, and then begin calling for Bo again. He was safer, happier, but never really relaxed until Bo finally came back to his own stall next door.
I loved Jordan dearly, but sometimes wondered if TGC was the best place for him. While he made friends (he was particularly fond of large red geldings), I wondered if having a quiet stable somewhere with his own goat and an owner who would come give him goodies and groom him and work with him, just him every day, might have been a better choice for him. He needed someone to help him build his confidence. His buddies, Beau, Jasper and Bo, did that somewhat for him, and he did join the herd every day for years, but he was always happy, and usually first, to go back to his stall at night. He loved having his blanket in the cold. He felt SAFE there.
The pictures I used here were all from the last year, except the one with Jasper. But click on his name to see his page on the website to show you just how much he had deteriorated. Skinny. Sunken eyes. Stance askew. And the world doesn’t have any ‘use’ for a giant excitable disabled horse, so he came here. Whatever his own thoughts on the matter were, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. How much I would have missed, if I never knew Jordan.