Our knight in shining armor
Passed away July 31, 2017
Recently, we lost our dear Diamond. In his late teens/early 20s, Diamond had been on borrowed time from the moment he arrived. Saved from the Castaic Shelter, where he was literally about to be put down, Diamond came to TGC with Lester and Jasper on 10/14/12. So we bought him just about 5 years.
Diamond was so extraordinary in appearance. He was either a cremello or a perlino (I’m no expert on the superficial dorky ‘science’ of ‘color’. I find the whole idea that a horse is more or less valuable based on the color of his coat as vile as the racism that plagues our society, just as I despise the idea that horses that aren’t “beautiful” are worth less). His eyes, when he came to us, seemed to clearly be a pale blue, but by his last year here, there was a clear ring of pale sage/olive around each pupil. Was that a normal development? Or in some way went along with his loss of sight? Because he was going blind too, by the end. He had the worst front leg conformation I’ve seen here. I swear his cannon bones were about 3 inches long! Ok, not that bad, but bad enough. He had feet that showed signs of possible former laminitis, and in his first years here he was a very easy keeper. And he did seem as though perhaps he’d been gelded late - and god knows, the dorky ‘color’ people would certainly have bred him for that gorgeous perfect cream coat.
This is Diamond when he first came in. compare to the shot below....
Diamond had been used hard, by my vet’s exam. Particularly those front legs were plagued from the start with heavy traumatic arthritis and popped knees, exacerbated by his poor conformation. Despite his relative youth, he hobbled around like the rest of our old crew. His best friend, Lester, who arrived with him, was twice his age, but there wasn’t much difference in the way they both moved. But this is just the physical shell. Let’s remember the horse inside...
Diamond was besties with Lester. And what a friendship. These two were inseparable. Lester was Diamond’s eyes, particularly toward the end; Diamond was Lester’s protector. His strong personality enabled him to push off interlopers with just a head swing, ears flattened. He was funny - we laughed when he swung that head at us, and then instantly perked the ears up when he realized it was us, not some pushy horse. O, he’d say, it’s you - got a cookie? What a gem this guy was.
He did have a mild interest in the ladies. But I think he knew his limitations. He tried hard to engage Ashley, in his last year when they were stallmates. And he did get her attention, a little. Unfortunately, he found, as guys do, that they can’t compete with a girl’s children - Ashley ran off and left him every day to find her donkeys. He didn’t push it, he wasn’t that kinda guy.
Compare cannon bones on these boys. Amazing Diamond moved as well as he did!
Diamond had a hard time with the farrier, because he was so achy on those front legs. Picking up his front feet was only possible because his hind end was in pretty good shape. However, later in his time here, he had at least one casting incident, where he wrenched his low back/hips, and that was the beginning of the end for him. We did get chiropractic care for him; I spent many hours in his stall massaging him; he had his pain meds. But pain takes a toll, and he was never pain free.
It was hard for me to write this. Diamond is a horse who was literally used to death. First, bred into existence for stupid crap like color, with no consideration for conformation, he was impossibly unsuited from birth to do the jobs humans demand. And yet with his good mind and heart, he did the very best he could, until he was broken down completely. And then despite his effort, and his undeniable beauty, he was tossed out in pain. We didn't do a lot for Diamond, but I think he appreciated all we gave - the chance to just hang with his bro Lester, and ogle the ladies, and eat. And in the end, a quick end in his own home.
Pain is something we work hard to manage here at TGC. But there’s only so much to do when conformation fights with injuries and age. Ultimately, watching Diamond’s struggles was too hard, and on his final night, he stood at his full feeder, not eating, looking out his window with a thousand yard stare, just waiting .... Despite the pain of losing him that Lester and I would have to deal with, it was time to give our white knight some real relief.
Goodbye beautiful boy. Lester is coming, and we have not forgotten you. We never will.