Nomad, ambassador of Medicine Horse Ranch
Nomad turned out to be my first client when I started a retirement home for horses. And his arrival signaled the beginning an amazing relationship with his owner Dee, meeting her felt like a re-union of lifetimes. I welcomed in a kindred spirit, a riding partner and a trusted friend. I remember thinking the day Nomad arrived that Dee and I would know each other for a long time.
The first order of every day was figuring out how to get Nomad’s pergolide medication into him. This may have been an easier task with almost any other horse, but it was always a challenge with Nomad. I called him “Nomad the Rascal” in the mornings. Often he would make me catch him before I could administer the magic potent. But sometimes he would stand stone still waiting for me and I’d think, “finally” he is with the program. But no sooner than I would shoot the syringe in his mouth, he would spit it right back out along with the mouth full of grass he’d been holding hostage.
Nomad’s adventures at the ranch began when he was run down by a younger and more aggressive Gelding in the pasture. Toyota, one of my EGE program horses placed himself between the struggling Nomad and the charging horse, Toyota mule kicked out at the aggressor until the Gelding retreated.
Normad loved his owner; his sponsors, bananas, brushing and he loved Succotash, the goat. On many a rainy day I would spot a bone dry Succotash standing directly underneath Nomad. On a sunny afternoon it wasn’t uncommon to see them taking a nap together, the goat carefully tucked around his friend, head comfortably resting on Nomad’s heart.
Once a visitor to the ranch lost control of her Boarder Collie. The dog immediately began to chase Succotash all over the paddock. Out of thin air, Nomad and Angel (Nomad’s paddock mate) flanked the goat, Succotash, moving at a perfectly synchronized continual canter. Two hero horses keeping the dog at bay until her owner retrieved him. Seems like Nomad was not ‘retired’ from making friends and protecting them.
After the incident with Succotash and the Collie, I thought to myself, “Nomad paid it forward.”
I looked out of my bathroom window onto an unusual sunny morning in mid January. It was about 6:30 am, I saw Nomad standing in front of the barn grazing peacefully. Then at 8:30 am, I headed to the barn to feed. As I walked through the open gate and rounded the corner with Nomads pergolide in my pocket, I noticed a strange feeling in my gut. I looked out onto the front pasture where normally every horse in the herd is lined up for breakfast. There were no horses in sight. My gut started to constrict. I looked in the paddock and from 30 feet away I knew Nomad was gone.
He was lying down, his blanket perfectly placed around him. There were no signs that he had tried to get up, no tell tale circles in the dirt around his body. It was as if he melted into the earth with one graceful movement, a last breath and a final bow.
I found him facing west, eyes open, head first facing his herd. His paddock mate Guinness was standing next to him, head bowed low.
I knelt down, reached out with both my arms to hug his blanketed body and through a flood of tears, said a silent prayer. Guinness and I paid last our respects to our dear friend, our horse shaman, and the ambassador of Medicine Horse Ranch.
Nomad was in my care for almost 4 years- of course this is referencing linear time. In horse time, it seemed so much longer than this. Truthfully he is still here. I often feel his majestic presence. He sends messages to me in dreams. He fills my heart with memories when I gaze into the sky and see the horsetail clouds above the barn and hear the cry of a red-tailed hawk circling above. Some horses were made to be remembered.