Goodbye to RJ
Arrived at TGC April 2018; Passed away April 2024
Age at death between 36-40 yrs


Today, April 25, I found RJ deceased in his stall. He’d eaten all but a couple handfuls of his dinner. He was not cast, or sweaty. It seems he might have passed in his sleep. Thanks for that, RJ.

This is a guy who had two vets assess his age on the few teeth he had left and the non-existent roots to the teeth they had to extract. By far, the oldest horse TGC was honored to help. And six years ago when he arrived, Dr. Zadick thought his vision was starting to go. At that time, Dr. Zadick considered him “well into his 30s” and warned me not to expect him to last long. A couple of years later, when Dr. Z retired, I got another vet out for the herd’s floats, and she had 5 teeth practically fall into her hand, the roots were gone, and one tooth was infected. So for the last four years RJ got big buckets of soaked mushed pelleted feed, and ate it up. He couldn’t eat carrots, but LOVED an apple each day.

RJ had been at the “Hi Caliber” hellhole. He was fostered by a kind woman who loved him and watched helplessly when the HC morons took him back. (I heard he was so upset to leave his foster that he practically destroyed the trailer!) He was supposedly adopted by an opportunistic woman who had taken a dislike to HC due to them not respecting her enough. She dumped RJ on me with promises that she never kept. Luckily for me and RJ, his foster heard he was with me and set up a sponsorship to help with his expenses for the balance of his life.

RJs story is one of LOVE of friends. Altho a well trained guy, he really had no use for me, or indeed any human, while at TGC. He Loved His Friends. Starting with Maggie, who passed in 2022. He fell in love with Maggie right away. She never noticed him as she was focused on Woodie. And then Renee fell for RJ. After Keller passed, Pepe began hanging around, and I saw that it was RJ who accepted him. RJ had a lot of love to give his own. He was so attached to his mini-herd that he would leave food to join them. Trying to keep his weight up, I gave him huge buckets at night so he could nibble all night long. When I'd tried bringing a second bucket in the morning, he barely touched it, ready to run out with his buds and stand by them while they ate. Even food was second to friends for RJ.

When we moved to this location, I gave a lot of thought to whether I should put him thru such a change. (I did worry about putting him in a trailer after hearing of his last trip! This time, he rode like a gentleman between Renee and Woodie.) But always his strength and determination shone from his eyes, and I actually think it helped him! Making the move with his friends – not being taken away, or left behind – really seemed to give him confidence! I watched him run up and down hills with his younger comrades and listened to him murmur encouragement to me to bring that feed every night, and I feel I made the right decision.

I will tell you that although I’m certain horses grieve the loss of their friends, I have not seen such an out pouring of emotion as Renee, Woodie and even Pepe made. As I waited for the truck, I began to dismantle RJs stall, and pull his remains out where the truck could get him. When they saw me there, Renee and Woodie left their breakfast, ran back, and put themselves in their stalls on either side of RJs. They looked at me with such hopeful eyes – Casey, you can get him up, right? Make him come out? Make him better? Well, I apologized and cried and stroked him, I guess pretending to try. After a few minutes, they slowly walked out and left the stall line. Renee called for him intermittently all day. Pepe too. And first thing back for dinner, both walked to hang their heads over into his empty clean stall. But if anyone ever deserved such love and loyalty, it was RJ.


All together, we had the privilege of his presence for six years. He lived, endured, until he found paradise here at TGC, freedom and friends, all he’d dreamed of. This is what you supporters do – you fufill dreams. Its why I love you – you love them. Thank you, and be proud of the six years of happiness you provided for RJ.