Sunday, March 25, 2012


Yes, this is a blog about flying (whether I post or not). But today I'm just going to talk about my horse.

Velvet was born on June 12, 1996. A Czech warmblood, he came to America on a 747, spent a while in quarantine, and then showed up in Vegas at my barn. I started riding him at the beginning of the summer, and by the end of it he was about to go to California to a sale barn since no one had bought him yet.

The first year our show association did a class series called the Harvest Classic, I was 14. The day after the show was Velvet's scheduled departure date. I loved my current horse, Sunny (I still do), but she couldn't jump very high and I needed to graduate to a bigger horse. My dad told me if I one the 2'0 Harvest class, he would buy me Velvet. So I did.

For six and a half years, Velvet and I jumped fences, ran around, and ate cookies. He would do anything from leadline to 4', and he had a heart of gold. He was amazingly sweet and would bend over backwards for a treat of any kind.

While he was being leased in California, he got himself into a bit of a situation. He was in a pasture for a while, and thereafter he refused to eat for more than a day, which is extremely worrisome since he normally ate everything in sight. He went to the vet, and after a lot of tests and decision-making, he went into surgery. The vet removed 90 pounds of dirt from his insides and found a piece of baling wire, but overall it went very well and he recovered from the surgery without much excitement. It took a long time, but he gradually got his energy back. He even had the strength to buck some people off.

Last weekend, while I was home for spring break, I rode him in a horse show just for fun. We won a class and got second overall, and I was so proud of him. I was proud of myself too; I hadn't shown for three years. It was painful, but rewarding. As riding usually is.

We don't know for sure what happened, but here's what it most likely was. Late Thursday night, he colicked again. He was in so much pain that he lay down and wouldn't get back up. My trainer, her husband, and her dad found him the next morning and forced him back on his feet. They called the vet, who determined that he needed to go to the clinic. After more tests, they determined that he needed to go into surgery, and quickly. When they opened him up, they found that a portion of his intestine had started to die off.

They said he only would have had a 30% chance of living through the surgery, and even if he did, he would be in horrible pain for the rest of what was likely to be a very short life. So my parents elected to stop the surgery.

Velvet was more than my best friend. He was more than my family. He was everything to me. He kept me safe. He taught me patience and maturity and responsibility. He showed me that love is as pure and uncomplicated as a kiss on the nose. So many people learned so much from him. I love him very much. I always will.

Say hi to your girlfriend Best and don't drive her too crazy. Rest in peace, buddy.