Welcome to Fern Valley

Here in central Alberta prime farm country,my husband Martin and I work together raising beef cattle and Appaloosa horses. Fern valley appaloosas have long been known for their quality of temperament conformation and color.I have recently rediscovered a love of writing and have published 2 collections of poetry. "Telling Tails" and Tails Trails and Campfire stories" . I look forward to a future spreading my wings as an author and as a horse woman .

Friday, 12 January 2018

Goodbye to the Guardian

This is a farewell post. Not so much a sad one but certainly melancholy.

 28 yrs ago was born the first son of my old stallion  Chips, and out of  my good mare Sherry's April Sunshine. "Stryker", or  Lucky Stryke ,the name, a combination of a movie(BL Stryker) I had seen and a pack of american cigarettes lol)

He was an awesome horse! Never really had a lot of saddle time  for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is he was a giant! lol .I started him and he taught me so much in return. He taught me about patience, loyalty, and the ever present reality that if you are not clear in your mind and actions you will not get what you (think ) you asked for.
Stryker, the king of the "if you don't do anything, you don't do it wrong" lol  When he was learning ,if he got confused at all he would simply stop moving altogether. Not bad from a walk or a jog but at higher speeds it got a little dicey lol .
I got hurt not long after I started him and sent him out for more work. When he returned he was great but as I said  for one reason or another he started his retiremnt early.
Not to say he didn't have work...

He was herd guardian, mentor to young ones,






Teacher, and manners police! and the old man had some moves! 

A brief, but stunning career as an equine super model lol . Only ever stood for this one photo shoot but he was all over the project!

And finally he was a friend, to me to the herd and to many  people who came to know him




I was fearful that Stryker would one day go down and not be able to get up. He was not thin or ill , just old and losing muscle mass and having difficulty maintaining his weight, I felt rather than risk him suffering...


I saw a video not long ago  in which a gentleman who was a Psychiatrist , and an indigenous scholar said (an forgive me if I butcher this in paraphrasing) That it is Okay to die on a good day, that when you die there is a party where your ancestors gather to greet you. And you should feel good for your party! . Not to say this should be rushed. just not feared.
Well I chose to believe this, and to that end,  We sent my sweet old boy to his party with a belly full of grain, a fresh brushing and our love.
He was the last of the old guard, I will miss him. But I did my best for him and that gives me comfort . This poem is older but it fits, and it is shown on my calendar on his photos.
Give me a horse
Give me a horse
With good heart and mind
Yes give me a horse
And I’ll find the time
Give me the knowledge
To manage his care
To teach and to train
In a manner that’s fair
Give me the space
And days in the sun
To first learn to walk,
Then learn to run
Give me the push
To do what I need
To earn both our keep
And pay for his feed
Give me the courage,
When he’s done his best
When his time is done
To put him to rest
Leave me the horse
In my mind and heart
The joy and the memories
Right from the start
Yes give me a horse
And I‘ll do the rest
As he does for me
I’ll give him my best

Stay safe my friends. and I will get back to that "in my next 50 yrs post " soon! 

13 comments:

Shirley said...

Awwww....
28 years is good life, especially lived under your care.
Beautiful poem and tribute.

aurora said...

You are the author of the poem, yes? It is beautiful & so well written! Such a fitting tribute of 28 years of love, for your beautiful guardian guy. The hardest gift of love, is not letting them suffer. Sorry for your loss, never easy.

C-ingspots said...

Oh Sherry, so very sorry. Such a loss! The grand old ones are so very near and dear to our hearts, but their memories will live on. I don't like to rush their deaths either, but would rather prevent a tragedy in which they would suffer. Hugs to you my dear friend, for your loss and your loving courage. What a handsome boy he was! And it's quite an important job being in charge of the young ones. The poem says it all...

Crystal said...

Oh loveley poem. And there is something about old horses that I love, I dunno if its the peace or whatever. Sounds like he had a good life and the best way to go before he was in pain or whatever

kestrel said...

Love and hugs. It is so hard to let them go, even though we know we have to do so.

deborah hokanson said...

Wow, Sherry I am so sorry for your great loss. What a beautiful tribute for an incredible boy. Thank you for sharing Guardians story. I know one day I will be making that final decision for Jess. He is happy and healthy and managed, and I am so blessed to still have him with me at 30. One day at a time, one day at a time. That's all we have. <3

deborah hokanson said...
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Miss Izzy said...

It's always better to go out while you're on top, than to fall from grace. You helped him end on a high note. Bless you for that.

Red said...

Hugs my friend and you are in my thoughts. What a beautiful memorial to an incredible horse!

Cindy D. said...

What a beautiful tribute to handsome man. I'm so sorry for your loss.

Country Gal said...

Lovely photos and poem . So sorry for your loss .

Mrs Shoes said...

28 years is a good life, & he looks to have enjoyed his time. Can we ever ask more?

Sherry Sikstrom said...

Thank you all for your kind words and support!It means the world to me