It's not a surprise, fortunately. He's 30 years old, and we all knew that he didn't have another winter in him. He's been showing his age more and more over the past year and having more trouble just getting through the day. It's just time.
Lucky lives at my parents' farm in Pennsylvania since I don't have anywhere to keep him in Kansas City. I did get to say goodbye to him when I visited this summer, but it's still just putting a lump in my chest.
He's been a constant presence in my life since he and I were both 13. I didn't even realize how old he was getting when I went to school, got a job, got married, and went about my life. He was always there when I visited, just doing his thing.
Of course, it never occurred to me then how lucky I was to have Lucky. I'm kicking myself now for not taking every chance to go for a ride and all the excuses I had not to take them. It was too hot, or I was tired, or I just didn't feel like it.
I do have many memories of rides I did take. Lucky loved to eat, and he perfected the art of sneaking leaves or grass as he walked– and the corresponding art of smacking me in the face with a branch when he let go. He was also the gassiest horse i've ever met; I was fine up in the saddle, but no one ever wanted to ride behind us.
I always loved when he ran. A friend and I would go flying up the dirt lane at what we thought was a breakneck speed. I went flying for real once when a saddle girth strap snapped mid-canter. Fortunately, the landing was in a nice soft hay field. Lucky looked as confused as I did about the whole indecent.
Good-bye, Lucky, and thanks for the memories. Life won't be quite the same without you.