& Sad day up here on the Rio Chama. But a good one, too.
Pride Simmons laid down near those hay bales, which had been his always-flowing, all-you-can-eat cornucopia, and died. He went easily; his old bones probably welcoming the long rest ahead.
In his 35 years, he’d seen a lot – from the rigors of mile-after-mile endurance riding events, to some years of enduring mistreatment by human owners and clueless weekend wannabe cowboys, to a 15-year residence and boss of the herd in the closet thing to Nirvana a horse could ever hope for.
As I write this, the warm dirt is still settling over him in his very deep entombment on the land of Sharon Burkard and Mickey Simmons. There, he lies beside some good company – Tomas, Bode, Isaac, Carlos, Hadley, Ozzie, Newbie, Scout, Oliver, Shiloh, Party, Lily, Rocco, Doc, General, and Ronnie – the remains, in order, of one cat, two goats, two geese, three dogs, seven horses and one human. Oh, the stories that graveyard could tell.
I’ve written about one of Pride’s new compadres, he being Ronnie, and I should have told you more about others I knew – Carl Bode’s best friend Doc, and Oliver, the two-day-old foal of the rescued (and now-thriving) Skye; and those of that marvelous canine breed known as New Mexico Show-Ups, who showed up, lived happily and died peacefully at the Simmons ranch — Ozzie, Newbie, and that fearless Scout, who I liked a lot, even though she had a thing about biting me.
Pride’s obituary is best told by Sharon, who sent this today:
“Pride Simmons, age 35, retired endurance horse and all around outstanding guy, passed away peacefully this morning in the paddock of his Abiquiu home, surrounded by his adoring humans and his herd. Mickey added many happy years to Pride’s life with a combination of love, intuition, and carefully researched supplements. Pride taught Sharon how to stay on a horse’s back, and though he tested her on occasion, always kept her safe, a testament to the generosity of his heart and the depth of his spirit. He let us know he was ready to go this morning. We were with him when he left. He brought us a lot of joy, and we will miss him.
Two weeks ago, after he’d done his evening barn-browsing through the hay bales, picking and choosing at his leisure the tastiest and tenderest of the gourmet grasses, he was out in the pasture, still chasing, and bossing and having his way with the rest of the Simmons six-horse herd. He was himself to the end, and had a good time being so.
My kind of guy.
& Keeping in mind that thought that “we’re all travelers in this universe, from the sweet grass to the packing house,” and thankful that Pride never made it to the packing house, I’m outta here.