Many of you who’ve been around for the past decade or so, will recall when little Dolce (Ibaflitnbird) was born. She was the first foal I ever raised and I was fortunate enough to be able to be there for her birth.
On September 8th, 2018, at 10 years old, she died. She apparently contracted West Nile and we found her too late to do much more than bring her home and get her comfortable for her passing. It was the most horrible thing I’ve ever experienced and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. I had gone out that day to collect manure samples from the cows, but stopped to see the horse herd on my way. All but Dolce were accounted for. Belle was there, but her mom was not. I found her wandering the fence line about 45 minutes later — a sliver of the horse she’d been just that Wednesday when she’d last been seen.
That mare was pretty cool. When she turned two, which by the way, for anyone who has ever raised a foal seems like an eternity, I went to the pasture with the trailer, caught her, loaded her up, took her home and started her. She was my fourth of July project. She never offered to buck or snort or be silly in any way, shape or form. Solid from the get go – like her mom. With 10 rides, we were roping live cattle.
I had hoped to make her one of my barrel horses, but with 45 rides we knew what she was going to be, so I decided to use her as a broodmare instead. Not that she wouldn’t have made me a bang up barrel horse, but there was an issue of keeping mares around since all the studs on this outfit are kid horses, and are used, when they’re not breeding mares, as riding horses. Logistically it makes things more difficult.
Always one of the first to greet you in the pasture, she was friendly and didn’t get pushed around much. You could call her to you, and she always had to see if you had oats. In the event that you didn’t, she’d still hang out and enjoyed being scratched on her chest.
Baby Belle is now an orphan, and Dolce was sure doing a dang fine job raising this baby. She’s strong and stout and hasn’t ever met a stranger. I had planned to sell her older brother, but now, I’m not sure I can bring myself to do it. The money would be nice in helping to replace their mom, but maybe it’s just too new, too raw, too painful yet to think about parting with either of them. I have high hopes for Belle — she’s got big shoes to fill, and I can’t wait to see where she goes in life. I’m grateful she gave me a filly before we lost her.
Make a point to hug your horses today, friends. You never know when it will be the last time you get to do that very thing.