In 1989 I was not in a very good place in my life. My family was concerned. In an effort to
provide better and healthier options for my time and attention they arranged for me to acquire a “free
to good home” horse. His name was “Beau”, a 12 year old bay Arabian gelding. He stayed at my sister’s house in the Acreage. Over the next several years we spent a lot of time together doing endurance rides, beach rides, camp outs and plenty of trail rides around the neighborhood. He became my best friend and indeed helped me overcome those dark days.
Within a few years we moved to a place where Beau could be in my back yard, along with
several other horses. At the time some new foals came along that required more attention than Beau, but he was always there for the kids or guests to ride. And he became the best friend to some of the mares and foals. During that time the veterinarians from Palm Beach Equine Clinic came out to the barn often for breeding and accidents for other horses, but as much as I can remember Beau only required the vets for typical annual vaccines and checkups and maybe once for a mild case of colic.
Beau became a “companion” horse for a mare that went back to my sister’s house and moved
with her to New Mexico. On the day they left I cried because I thought I might never see my Beau again!
A few years later my sister, due to medical reasons, could no longer keep the horses. So
Beau came home again. During this time, while cleaning his stall or feed bin I would occasionally find a tooth that he had lost! At first I was surprised but there were several more over the next couple of
years. The vets assured me that this was to be expected of a horse this old.
And then one day last summer he just couldn’t eat anymore. I was by his side telling him how
much I loved him, when the vet made his last barn visit for my Beau. He was 37 years old!
I still miss my best friend. I was pleasantly surprised when I received a condolence card shortly
after signed by many of the people involved with Palm Beach Equine Clinic, including many of the vets and a good number of the support staff. And I am grateful for the memento bracelet made from Beau’s tail that they provided; it is a treasure.
When I first heard about this contest to write a story I thought there would be plenty of stories
where fabulous show horses were saved from injury by the heroics of the veterinarians. But I have come to realize that the true heroics of these men and women are the day to day duties they provide to help keep our companions with us for as long as they can. Keep up the good work!
by Ruth Haggerty