Goodbye to Remy Martin
Today, his brother the Wind came to collect Remy Martin. As his heart answered the call and his legs weakened, Remy passed from our humble stable to the stormy sky that hardly seemed big enough to hold his spirit.
Four years ago, Remy’s former owners were thinking of retiring him as he began to have incidents of falling down, or having trouble getting up. They had decided to send him to TGC, and he had another incident, severe enough that they considered euthanizing him, rather than putting him thru the rigors of a trailer haul and a new home. I didn’t have a say at that point, but let them know that I’d take care of it if necessary - if they thought he could handle the ride, I hoped he could come here. He did, and I’ll ever be grateful, as it was a privilege to have Remy here, and to give him four years of freedom after his lifetime of service....
He was a race horse, Louisiana bred and raced, and he won three times! His JC name was Pro Monarch, and that was very fitting for our regal boy. He was a classic Thoroughbred to my eye, with striking good looks and the great heart that so distinguishes the breed.
I know he was a show horse, an overall champion, reserve champion, and had more than 25 ribbons over his last 2 seasons in 6 competition Green Rider division in the GSDHJA shows. And I can easily see this calm kind boy glistening in the show ring. But other than that, I don’t know much about his life before he came here.
But here, I believe he was happy. Remy Martin clearly could not believe his good fortune when he was turned out with our herd - a dream come true for him, I could see, as he pursued mare after mare! Remy quite frankly came close to boinking himself to death in his first two months here...so many ladies!
He adored Anaba, breakfasted with Savannah, kept company with Medina, and eventually decided that of all the mares here, Daisy was his lady-love.
And from that day to the end, he was her devoted husband, watching over her, following her, adoring her. In four years, they only had one brief ‘separation’ - I don’t know what caused it but for a couple of sad weeks, they were apart, and each seemed lonely. I am glad that they got back together for his last six months.
Remy was our stable stumble-bum. I don’t know if it might be related to whatever neurological problems he came with (I always suspected a mild case of Wobblers) but there was hardly a day when Remy didn’t have a cut or scrape somewhere on his white hide. He bumped into things, ran thru the brush awkwardly and now and then tweaked a joint so that he walked painfully for a day or two. I tended the booboos, and gave him pain meds when needed, and he ambled on. In addition, he had tumors on his privates and under his tail, so I always watched him. When tumors are obvious on the outside, they are often internal as well, and can strangle an organ or the intestines.
He was always friendly, and often played with the geldings. Laddie in particular was a favorite sparring partner. In the first two years here, he would run out with “his” mini-herd of Daisy, Star, Medina and then Dominic and Jasper. And he still had some speed, even if he couldn’t keep it up for long. But his years, and disabilities, were catching up with him. He was a little concerned when Jasper joined this mini-herd. He, Daisy and Jasper were the older part; Medina Star and Dominic were the younger ones. And I think he worried that Jasper would take Daisy away from him - but it turned out, Jasper is big on the younger girls, so he and Remy became friends as well as roomies.
About 5-6 months ago, I put the horses away, and realized halfway thru that Remy’s herd was in, but he was nowhere to be seen. I figured he’d show up - maybe he was canoodling with someone on the south stream stall line. I fed everyone all their buckets, and still, no Remy. So now I’m worried, and I head off south, thru the brush, calling for him. And I hear this teeny tiny whinny, and thru the brush I see him, head high, heading north to the line. He wasn’t returning my call, he was letting Daisy know he was coming. He was walking stiffly and one side of his body was dirty - I’m pretty sure he had laid down, and then had a very hard time getting up. He pulled out of this with some massage and pain meds, and from that time forward, every time our equine chiropractors came to the property, Remy got checked and adjusted, which he loved. But that was probably the beginning of the end for him.
Despite his activities in his first two months, pursuing all the ladies, Remy was not an aggressive soul. He was kind and quiet, and wanted things to always be the same. But he could be stubborn! I have a thing where sometimes, when I throw a feed, I reach in thru the feed window to get fly masks off the horses. I even succeeded in having my way on this with the crazy Chief, but Remy said no. You must come into my stall, pat my butt, and quietly take my mask off, during which time I will NOT eat. He never gave in. I stood there on one memorable occasion for 30 minutes, watching him move his head toward his dinner time and time and time again, only to move away when my hand reached for the mask. No, Casey, you’re doing it wrong. He trained me. I learned. And he’s the only one who could do it. Nothing aggressive. Nothing irritated or mischievous. Just patiently waiting for me to get it right.
Other than that one thing, he always did what I wanted, never gave me a problem catching and haltering him, stood like a doll for the farrier and just adored Laurie and Dawn who helped him continue this life.
He was a high maintenance guy - a big horse who was elderly and had odd teeth, so he needed a LOT of pelleted and senior feed, needed his blanket in the cold, needed to have shoes on his front feet, needed, really needed those chiropractic adjustments, and lots and lots of wound medications, but he was so worth every bit of it. His kind, loyal, gentle ways will be deeply missed. Daisy, while the more dominant of the two and less needy, is already missing her big white ghost.
He left his herd as he felt his life slipping away and came back to his stall looking for refuge. And I set him free. In the end, he couldn’t stay on his feet, and only made the feeblest efforts to get up. He needed my help and there was only one way I could do that. I promised to care for Daisy for him, and told him how honored I’d been to know him. As I felt the wind whipping at me, I knew it was his spirit, free and running. He whipped around us for a few hours - I felt he reassured Daisy he’ll wait for her - and then in the stillness of the night, he was gone.
When I write these tributes, for me its like throwing that first shovelful of dirt on a coffin. It hurts me because I know I’ll never see them again. But I write to be sure everyone knows who these people were. For the last time, the focus is on them. They are people too, and what you supporters enable is simply this - their chance to be who they are, who Mother Nature made them to be, before the demands of mankind changed their lives.
Remy had four years here, to show us who he was. He didn’t have to win competitions. He didn’t have to run. And I enjoyed learning that Remy was a kind guy, a friendly playful guy with the other guys, a lady’s man, but a faithful husband once he chose, affable and self-effacing. A gentle and grateful soul, full of grace. Sometimes I see him, a bright light presence, out of the corner of my eye .....but then I realize it’s just the sunlight in my tears...