Esperate’ was a favorite among the stable hands at the track. When I bought him from JoAnn Chandler, his owner and trainer, all the hands came out as we loaded him up in the horse trailer to say good-bye. I saw tears in their eyes.
He had some days of glory. He had come in first at Bay Meadows Race Track in South San Francisco. I took him to my Ranch and put him in a special paddock by the front gate. He acted as a door bell, he would whinny when ever anyone came through the gate announcing their arrival. He loved people and would put on a show for them. I would ask him how hungry he was and he would proceed to paw the ground three times counting for us.
He had great patience and sensitivity. My older brother is a savant’. His head was injured at birth and he has speech and motor impairment. He is a wiz at math and is a Tax Accountant. If you saw the movie “Sling Blade”, the character is very similar to my brother.
My brother was visiting from Oklahoma and wanted to ride my Race Horse; “Esparate”. We had ridden horses when we were children. But, I patiently and probably patronized him as I explained how fast and high-spirited this horse is. “Try just walking him until you get a feel for him,” I suggested.
With a gleam in his eyes my brother smiled got in the saddle and spurred and whacked and hollered; “YAAAAAAA”! All in one swift movement.
Espy took off as though he was coming out the Gate at the track. From 0 to 60 in seconds. They raced to the end of the road. I held my breath praying Jim would not be thrown as Espy whirled around to race back. Glory be!
Here they come! Jim with his head thrown back and pure ecstasy on his beaming face. Thank God! I had my camera and stepped out into the road and clicked a picture of them at their finest. Espy slowed down gently as Jim reined him in and came to a dignified stop. Allowing my brother to dismount in a fluid motion.
I could never thank that horse enough for giving my brother that glorious experience. It was as though Espy knew he had a very special person entrusted to him. He was so gentle with his charge.
We had to put our Beautiful Race Horse;” Esparate”, down. We are devastated by the loss of this intelligent, sweet and loving creature. He was a favorite to all that came in contact with him.
I went up to the barn to check on him and take off his blanket. I was appalled at what I saw. Lesions covered his belly and were dripping pus. His lymphoids were the size of footballs. He was running a temp and was distressed. I was very alarmed and called my Vet.
My Vet is 80 years old and is one of the best horse breeders and old fashion Vet in the area. He came immediately. He walked in and took one look and said; “I know what this is, it is rare, not contagious, source unknown, no treatment, deadly, rapid and will ravage this horse within 48 hours. His whole body will open up with lesions and he will pour infection from every lesion. It is one of the nastiest diseases that can take a horse. He will have to be put down, as quickly as possible to save him further suffering.”
He said his Grandfather was the only one he knew of that had any success in treating this illness. He would take a scalpel and cut the horse from chest to sternum, drain the infection, then pack the wound with rock salt. He had some luck with this, but not always. I think the Vet said the name of the illness is called “purpura”. I was in shock and don’t know if I have the correct spelling.
Ron and I decided we would put him down ourselves. We are his family and he has only known love and care from us. we are his guardians, and it is our responsibility to put him out of his misery. With as little trauma as possible.
I called a neighbor that has a Back Hoe. As luck would have it he was home in the middle of a Monday. He came right over and dug the pit.
Espy was eating some sweet grain, his last supper, I gave him a carrot, brushed his mane, put his lead rope on him and led him into the pit. I kissed him on the nose, told him how much we all loved him. Stepped back and Ron, my ex-Marine, shot him between the eyes. He was dead before he hit the ground.
My neighbor said; we were stronger than he is, because he could never bring himself to do this to his animals.
Ron and I love these animals that enrich our lives and strongly believe it is our duty to ensure they have the best of care and when it comes time to lose them we have to ease their passing as much as we can. It gives me comfort to know that Espy did not suffer an agonizing death. We were strong when we had to be and did the ugly deed. Today we are crying and mourning the loss of our dear Espy. He brought us such joy.
We thank JoAnn Chandler who bred, trained, raced and sold him to us.
HE WAS A GREAT STEED.
Love to all,