Goodbye to Peanut
Deceased March 1, 2015
Today, as the rain fell and even a few snowflakes drifted softly to the muddy ground, our dear Peanut died. This special mare, holding my heart so gently, got cast again, and over two hours of effort were not enough to get her back on her feet.
Peanut was well into her 30s. This last year, she was thinner than I liked despite a great appetite, and she had been cast a couple of months ago, leading me to think she was having more trouble getting up. When I had Laurie out to adjust her after the last casting incident, despite our finding NOTHING wrong, I told her that the next casting incident would probably be the last. I guess I was right.
Peanut came to TGC in June of 2006. You can read her story here.
Peanut was so freaking beautiful. Understand that I’m not a huge fan of the Appaloosa look - to me, they’re freckled, as I am, and I’ve always hated freckles. And let’s face it, they are usually very forelock/mane/tail challenged. Admittedly, Peanut had no forelock, and her mane was more like a zebra’s brush, but she had a beautiful tail, and a dramatic marking that made her stand out. But her beauty was truly much more than skin deep. This was the sweetest mare I have ever known. Kind, gentle, unassuming, she was a joy to be around. And she always had some fanatic friend who kept her company, and kept her safe from the more dominant horses, so I’m thinking that inner beauty was obvious to the horses too.
Dion was her first real boyfriend, and I had thought that he kept her away from the other horses. He absolutely adored her, and always went crazy when I took her out, until dear Anna joined them and kept him calm.
Anna and Peanut were besties until Anna’s death. (In this picture, you’d never know Peanut was twice Anna’s size - she just didn’t have that big attitude.) Anna passed first though, so Dion had his special lady all to himself for several years. On his passing, I realized that really, like Garbo, Peanut just ‘vanted to be alone’ and distant from the more aggressive horses. She didn’t like conflict. Smokey had joined her and Dion and he tried to be her friend, but she just ignored him.
She stood alone, apparently content, until Ashley arrived. Ashley was attracted by Smokey, but almost immediately became Peanut’s guardian/friend and remained so for the rest of Peanut’s life.
And this is when I realized that Peanut lived her own life, and others just followed, just wanted to be near her. Ashley is a strong mare, a caretaker, but she was never the leader. Peanut always decided where they would hang, when they would move, what they would do, and Ashley, and as time went by others, just followed her. But Peanut was a quiet leader, and gentle. She did what she wanted to do, and graciously allowed others to join her. There was nothing commanding about her.
Here Ashley drives Sarge away. Peanut was popular!
And I think it says a lot that this quiet mare had so many horses who loved her. In addition to Ashley, Cinnamon and Sarge wanted to be her friend. Ashley kept all the boys at bay, but they followed along with the girls, and cried for them at night (Ashley and Peanut almost always last to come in). An appy mare, and black tw mare, stalked by their own gang of chestnut geldings! And Peanut and her crew never fought, it was always peaceful around her. She sort of radiated calm.
In her first years here, I had some people ride Peanut - she was super well trained and calm as could be. But her hindfoot ringbone continued to bother her on and off, and then one of her knees became enlarged (we have so many “knees” here). She was 20 when she came here, so eventually I just decided it was time to let her enjoy her existence a little.
In the end, she did get badly cast in her stall, but frankly, I think my friend Christine may be right, that Peanut may have had a small stroke that put her down on the ground, and prevented her, even after we’d got her out of the corner, from getting up. I may have tried too long - after all, just 40 days or so ago she’d been horribly cast, and once freed, jumped right up and never had a bad day off of that until yesterday. I kept thinking if we could just get her up, I can clean up the blood, and doctor the booboos; we can have the vet look at her eye and see what has to be done, we can fix this. But my dear girl was partly gone already, I think. Her efforts to get up were .... disjointed and looked panicky more than anything. She would calm to my voice and touch, but really, we just couldn’t make it happen and I think if we’d somehow got her up, she would have fallen right back down. My heart breaks to think she was down for a long time - my greatest fear with my old crew - but I’m hopeful that she was mentally not aware, that what I found yesterday morning was mostly the reflexive struggles of the body....
I watched as mother nature’s kindness washed the blood from Peanut’s face with gentle rain, and remembered how much Peanut hated getting wet. I finished the cleaning and covered her. A brief spurt of snowflakes made me think of Dion - is he finally at rest now, with his lovely spotted lady by his side in the cloudy skies? Today, I watched with tears as Ashley ran out, with the three chestnut boys behind her - only to circle around, even approaching the donkeys, wondering where to go.
Where is our quiet girl? How can someone so unassuming leave such a big empty space behind? We’ve lost something we might not have really been aware we had - an oasis of peace with a spotted coat. Nine years were not enough for me.