GOODBYE TO SILVER
Passed away, October 10, 2016
Almost two weeks ago, I came out early to feed and release the horses from their stalls into the herd area, and found our darling Arabian pony, Mystic Silver, down, and gone. Despite my distress, I was able to note that he was not sweated up, there were no signs of struggle, he wasn’t cast. As I always hope they will, Silver had laid down after his dinner, and simply slipped away. Leaving a huge hole in the hearts of myself, and his faithful minions Pistol and Biscuit.
Silver came here thru a referral from another rescue. His owners, unbearably, wanted him gone because he paced a trench along the front of the pen they had him in. Left alone 24 hours a day. Ignored. Bored. This lovely little pony, so well trained, was simply of no “use” to his owners and so they warehoused him for a while, and then wanted him gone. (“wanted him gone” is a phrase I hear too often, “he needs to be gone”, from owners who simply can’t be bothered anymore, who clearly never saw their old horse as ‘someone’, but instead, ‘something’, like an old ugly rusting car body in the back yard, that ‘needs to be gone’.)
I called him silly Silver most often, because he was too solemn. Like the Fonz, he was always aware of his own dignity, and expected respect despite his tiny size. And like the Fonz, he got it. Silver always had followers .... he would sail around the property, eat, check things out, all with apparent obliviousness to the entourage that followed him around.
Like every guy I’ve ever known, he was a little full of himself, and then confused when things didn’t go his way. Dear Lola adored him from day one, and followed him everywhere. But Lola came in blind in one eye, and one day, went completely blind and panicked. (I’ve only ever had one blind horse who found a way to deal - Brave, with the help of his guidehorse Hershey). When she was gone, Silver reluctantly looked around for her, and actually came up to me to ask where she’d gone. In my grief for Lola, at first I scolded him for not helping her .... but I could see his dawning misery that his lovely little girl was gone and we mourned together. He was ever after the cool dude, with only male followers, so I’m hoping he held her in his heart and maybe now they’re together again.
Biscuit loved Silver early on - I had to arrange their stalls so that they were ‘head to head’ at their feed buckets, or Biscuit wouldn’t eat efficiently, gathering a mouthful and moving to stand where he could look at Silver’s butt!
Head to head, they could both eat, and watch each other, but it was for Biscuit we did that - Silver was cool. When Shelby passed away, Pistol attached himself to Silver right away and there was a little rivalry between him and Biscuit at first. At some point, they realized that Silver just did his thing, so their best bet was to do theirs, staying close to him, always within eyesight but ‘don’t crowd me!’ was Silver attitude.
As time went on, Pistol and Biscuit were closer to each other, but clearly continued to have their boycrush on our little Silver. He had a presence, a confidence, a magnetism ....
One day, we had a visitor looking to part sponsor a horse, and since for some reason Silver had never caught the eye of a sponsor up to that point, and this lady had a little girl, I brought Silver out for consideration.
O god, watching his fascinated attention on that little bossy girl, felt like someone was squeezing my heart! She led him around (I think she was 5 or something) as tho she’d been doing it her whole life, and he, of course, pretended she’d been his girl forever. It was a one time visit, but I’ll never forget it. He was the perfect pony.
On his last day, he trotted into his stall for dinner. He’d been slowing down a little for the last 6 months, and I’d decided to have the vet check his teeth again the next week, and meantime was feeding him some senior and soaking his pellets as he’d leave a little, although always eating all his carrots and cookies. I wasn’t worried, or expecting to lose him, despite his age (approx 33). Finding him gone - at first, I swear I thought he was sleeping. Biscuit, with his sweet brown horse voice, sang for him for two days, morning and night. And he’s still hurting - he and Pistol have been so close you could barely put a knifeblade between them, and Biscuit keeps approaching me for hugs. When I decided to put him into Silver’s stall so he and Pistol could be side by side, he was so confused and hurt that I found myself asking him, honey, who ELSE should be in this stall? And he said, Silver, of course. Where is he? But I told him our boy is gone and meantime, wants Biscuit to keep that stall, and Pistol, safe. And from that point, Biscuit may go to his old stall gate at first, but as soon as I open it, he walks right into Silver’s old stall as if it were his own. And Pistol still stands, looking in at Biscuit, the way he did Silver. I’m terrified I’ll lose Biscuit, who is so old and rickety, after such a blow, and how badly that will hurt Pistol who has now lost two friends in his short time here. It’s so hard to be at the old folks’ home.
For all his cool and aloof persona, Silver was something else. With his little sponsor, we had a quick glimpse of the tender heart he hid inside. I’m sure that he wanted someone he could give that heart too, and am sad to think that he tried that once, and was terribly hurt. He was so well trained that I know he tried hard for his trainer, but maybe he was sold after that effort, maybe even to those careless hardhearted owners who discarded him, and his hurt never really healed.
He was always well behaved, but a little distant with me - always gave me ‘the eye’ wen I called him Silly Silver, but toward the end of his time here, he was poking his nose out at dinnertime to encourage me to speed up, and standing expectantly each morning waiting for his cookie, which I took to be a positive response to me. His ability to attract and hold loyal friends among our herd was extraordinary, and I hope those friends made up for whatever hurt humans caused him in the past.. A powerful person in a tiny package.