The precious Prince of Sweetness
Amir Halam & me, 2001
He wasn't the horse I wanted, but he was the horse I needed. My first horse, a spirited "red" Arabian gelding, was named "Amir Halam" on the papers he had at age 10 when I got him for only $550. It's Arabic for "Prince of Sweetness".
I had him 21 years, since November 17, 1990, and I never appreciated him enough. He did anything asked of him. He started countless others on their way to horseback riding and increased self-confidence, as I gave lessons on him, first free to anyone who expressed an interest, then cheaply, as I earned a little much-needed income. Only one a day, no more than 3 or so per week. And occasionally the thrill (to me & the students) of a local horse show.
Then in early November, 2011, when he was over 31 years old, he started coming in from pasture very muddy, with mud even forced into his ears. It wasn't like him to even lie down, so I was concerned. Then he started leaving part of his grain. I was even more concerned. But still he gave rides and lessons, with most of his characteristic speed and spirit... and was ALWAYS a perfect gentleman, kind yet proudly aloof. He wasn't even the slightest but thin, even at that age.
Then on Friday afternoon, November 25, 2011, after he came trotting up to me energetically when called for a lesson, he put his nose down to the ground at my feet and started "folding up".
Four hours of agony -- rolling sometimes, walking sometimes, enduring various "colic" trestments -- later, the vet finally put him to sleep. By then he was in v-fib. We couldn't afford an autopsy, or get him to a large-animal hospital, so we'll never know what exactly killed him. I feel so guilty.
And I want to know -- since the "denial" stage of my grief just ended this week, after 6 1/2 months -- !! -- will the other stages last a very long time, too? I only started crying over him TODAY. I just couldn't believe he was gone, until now.