Shamall had a long and loving life as the sole horse with a family in Iowa. They had him I believe since he was a baby or a two year old. In his early years he competed in hunter/jumper, then at about 9 years old he "retired" and went to live with his man. 18 years it was Shamall and his man, friends and companions - no riding really, just Shamall living the high life in a pasture with his man taking great care of him and enjoying him as a friend. Then, his man developed Parkinson's. As the disease progressed, Shamall's man made the heartbreaking decision to attempt to find a place for Shamall to be cared for and live out his final days when he could no longer care for him himself.
The first time Kathi met Shamall, we thought it was Kathi evaluating Shamall to see if he would do well at the Sanctuary. Instead, it was very much Shamall and his man determining if KATHI would be acceptable. Shamall was a bit finicky in who he liked. But he liked Kathi, and he made it clear to his owner that she was all right. Shamall did not come home with Kathi that day, but we knew it was a matter of time. We got the call about a year later that it was time for Shamall to come to the Sanctuary, and so he did, at 27 years old.
Even at 27 years old and unridden for 18 years, Shamall was full of life and wanted to GO. Kathi and Shamall trail rode, played SCA games, and he maintained his "spoiled old man" attitude, bossing everyone around and just showing that he is SHAMALL In the past year he's slowed down, and he was fully retired from even light riding this past summer as he aged. Here is a video of Shamall and my 13 year old mustang (who was gelded at 7) from last June - during nonstop days of rain - posturing to determine who was boss when Pi came to visit. Look at that beautiful Arabian boy:
Shamall has been able to visit his man about once a year at SCA events, up until this past year when neither one were able to travel anymore. Winter has always been tough on him, and this winter especially, as he's been sick and dealing with an infection. This morning, he simply laid down and let Mom know it was time, and died in her arms as the vet drove up the driveway.
May God bless you and help you in your grief. I just lost a 37 year old donkey that I had only known three weeks. I am beside myself and having a much more difficult time trying to justify Easter's suffering from neglect before I got there than I had ever imagined. It should help that he had so much love and care in his life. Now he and Easter are sharing stories and kicking up their heels in the happy afterlife that we hope they share. I can still see her last day out when she was buried up to her shoulders in a hedgerow donkey delicatessan. I am not even sure she if was a donkey or a burro, she had the cross on her shoulders though. She was the first of those species I have ever had intimate contact with, and not the last if I ever get so blessed to have a horse again, the donkey or burro will be my first choice for a pasture mate. What a sweet little beast.
"Nothing in life is to feared. It is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more and fear less." Marie Curie
Thank you. Because our Sanctuary is small - we typically only have between 6-12 (that's our max) horses on site at any time, so they are all "family" - even the ones that are being evaluated or passing through waiting for their new homes. They get loved, ridden, trained, whatever we would do with our regular horses. And Shamall was there as a permanent resident, though we never truly felt he was "ours" - he was very much his man's horse. The last visit they had Shamall was SO excited to see him, he puffed up and pranced, and proudly showed his man how he was being ridden and a good boy. Then his man left, and we had GRUMPY Shamall for about 24 hours - kicking things in his pen, screaming (anyone with Arabians knows what I'm talking about), and just out of sorts. He loved his man very much, and he loved Kathi, and just yesterday he was being SHAMALL (wish you could hear how we say it, it's very proud!) mobbing Mom for treats and being very puffed up and proud. So it was heartbreaking to lose him this morning. I'm very grateful he made the decision for my mother, as I truly thought he would force us to make the choice for him.