Almost 4 years to the day since the last time we had to put down a horse, we lost Berry. She passed away Monday afternoon at the age of 31 and true to her nature, she fought the good fight right up until the very end. She was a very strong willed horse.
Berry was one of those mares that did as she pleased for the most part. She was truly the alpha in the herd and was not afraid to make everyone take notice. For anyone who doubts that big things come in small packages? That little mare had a huge heart and never stopped or gave up unless it was her idea. When that happened, forget asking her to do anything because she was having no part of it.
Not long after we brought her home, I decided to take her out on my usual weekend ride with the neighbor. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. JR was headed off to work to check a few things and questioned my decision. I brushed him off saying "The mare had been shown so I'm sure she knows how to go, stop and turn both directions..." I lunged her a little, tacked her up, hopped on and headed down the road to meet the neighbor.
All the way there the mare was on high alert. Head up, walking fast if not jigging and dancing around and several whinnies later, we finally headed in the driveway. I may have even gotten off while M was tacking her mare up. Berry was sorta okay with the idea of standing around, but she made it clear that it really wasn't on her agenda. I remember asking my friend how old she thought the mare is and she guessed around 12 or so. She was a bit surprised when I told her the horse was 24. We both figured that since there would be another horse with her for company, she would settle down and relax and I could enjoy the ride... HA!
We headed out into the desert and for the next two and a half hours that mare did about everything she could to hustle things along. She walked incredibly fast and when I circled her back around to behind my friends horse, she jigged and jogged and danced and trotted to catch up and then tried to keep on going. She never really did anything wrong, she just never slowed down.
My body was aching and there were a few times I got off and walked. I just couldn't take it... This was supposed to be a quiet, easygoing, enjoyable ride through the desert and with Berry as my chosen mount it was turning out to be anything but! There was a picnic table out under a large mesquite tree and we would ride out to it, sit and relax a while and talk, then mount up and mosey our way back home. I had hoped the ride back might be different from the ride out. Yeah, no so much.
Almost all the way back, it wasn't much different than the way out. Berry was walking at a pretty good clip and we circled around my friend and her mare countless times. Berry jigged and jogged, danced and pranced and again I got off and walked a ways too, to let my body recover from the torture she was dishing out. Luckily that day we did not meet up with any cattle. Who knows how that might have gone down if we had?
Berry did not settle down and just walk until we were in sight of the gate going back into the neighborhood. JR had called and was on his way to meet us and seen the mare just walking casually along. He thought that was how she had behaved for me the entire time. Only when we got closer could he see that she was covered in sweat from her antics because it was pretty warm out. By that point I was pretty tired too and wouldn't you just know it? She walked along so casually the rest of the way home. That was just Berry and her personality. It was all or nothing with her. Point, shoot and hang on because she was going. If you were still on when she got there, good. If not, too bad because she didn't seem to care.
I can only imagine there is some cowboy in heaven that needed a good horse with the courage, determination and stamina to go all day long. We sent them the best horse we had for the job. RIP BB Tucker (aka Berry Berry Girl)