I purchased Studly from a cattle rancher near Dunning, Nebraska about 10 years ago. He was a 7 year old gelding that had been used as a “stud” horse early in life, and then moonlighted as a general ranch horse. I always purchase horses from cattlemen that I know because that helps to ensure that I will gain a good equine partner out of the exchange.
We normally have more than one horse at the feed yard, but Studly has always been my favorite. I have never known a more solid or dependable horse. I remember a few years ago when I dropped the chain to a pen gate onto the electric hot wire while Doing Gates. Studly and I both got a pretty big electric jolt, but he still took care of me.
Early Saturday morning my cowboy greeted me with a solemn face and the simple message, “Studly is dead”. I was so shocked that it took several moments for it to sink in. Just the day before he was out grazing in our pasture and driving our other horse around playing his favorite game of herd boss. It was difficult to believe that my strong and healthy horse was gone.
I exercised calves that morning with tears running down my face. My horse was lying along the pasture fence line not far from our main alleyway never to get up again—As I walked the cattle past him my composure broke and the facade of the strong boss lady disappeared.
I loved that horse. His loyalty was unwaivering and, like all good things, he will never be able to be replaced.
I console myself with the knowledge that he had a good life, and that he is now in heaven where the green grass is belly-deep and there are no annoying flies to ruin the pleasure of a beautiful day. I try to remember that, deep down, Studly was just a tad bit lazy and he is likely happier now than he ever was working with me at the feed yard…
Today, I take my hat off to a great horse–a good partner–and a beautiful creature. Thank you, Studly, for all of those good rides.