This week we suddenly had to say "Goodbye" to a friend. It was unexpected and traumatic.
We had great plans that day to take him to do one of his favourite things, chasing cows and afterwards, he was going to live across the street from his owner, Allie. He was going to have a friend with him, one of my horses Chance was going so Scout wouldn't be living alone. Allie and her husband, Doug, had just wrapped up the main part of the fence. And with Scout being just across the road, Allie was looking forward to be able to sneak out while Gavin napped or when Doug was home. It was a dream to just have him close and I know that dream well.
Scout came to me over nine years ago when my cousins moved to town and they were looking for a place for him. At the time, we had another cousin's horse, Casey, that my son had used for 4-H. To start, Scout went north of Rush Lake for the winter as at the time, boarding two seemed out of reach.
He was all go. As soon as you put a foot in the stirrup he was already taking off at the run. He and I spent a lot of time just standing. I would get on, I would get off, I would get on, he would get to take a couple of steps and I would get off, I would get on and he could walk in a small circle and I would get off. It took a bit, but he figured out he wasn't going to get anywhere until he stood still. Walking and trotting were not problem, but when it came to loping, he figured full out was best. Scout and I spent a lot of time loping circles until they became slow and relaxed. Though that next gear was always ready to go, but he began to wait for the ask instead of going into it automatically.
Scout became the horse I could take anywhere and do anything with. He would cross water and mud calmly when other horses were jumping. He loved chasing cows and enjoyed when one would test him. One spring we had permission to ride in a summer fallow field and Dalton, Nik and I went riding. It was a great opportunity to open them up and blow the stink off. Nik pulled up as Karat was getting a little too rambunctious. So Dalton and I gave Jack and Scout a head to head. We were galloping pretty good, but Scout had gears to go and away we went. It was so much fun and Dalton was so surprised at the speed Scout had! Though outings like this meant he found it really hard to go back to a walk again because he just wanted to keep running and running.
Scout learned that we would try all sorts of things, like riding through the irrigation sprinklers, just to see if we could. Tarps weren't his favourite, but we would tolerate me playing with them. We did find out he wasn't a great fan of ducklings quacking and wandering underneath him. :D We had gone to move cows and while Domino was curious about what these noisy little things were, Scout was not impressed. He was a horse that I could just lead him out of the pasture, load him on the road and go. He was very good about carrying the saddle bags with the refreshments on trail rides. ;)
In the beginning, I couldn't catch him, but Dalton could. At the time, Dalton couldn't catch Jack. So we would catch each others horses. It just took a little loving and some treats for Scout to figure out I wasn't so bad after all. Scout never bucked or offered to buck, even when Dalton jumped off Jack onto Scout as if I was a pickup man. Nor when we were trying, in vane, to teach Domino to pony.
Scout was a terrific horse and I loved him. But we just didn't have that magical connection. I had met Allie when I started a new job in the fall of 2012. And boy, did he love her. In the time that I owned Scout, he hugged me only about four times. As soon as Allie started coming out, he was hugging her all the time. He would wrap his head around her and just lean in. It was a beautiful match when Allie decided she wanted to purchase him. When I rode Scout he was all go, just waiting to be asked. When Allie rode Scout, he was all about being careful and caring.
I am very lucky that Allie kept him where I used to board for the most part. I would get to see him and still take care of him, giving the older horse a little extra here and there. I could recommend when he needed something or suggest trying a little this or that. Allie started bringing her nieces out, and oh, how he loved those little girl's attention.
I cannot convey how truly grateful I am that Scout came into our lives and the beautiful contributions he has made. He will be well missed. Rest in peace old friend.