I took this photo 4 days after Leroy passed. This is Lakota, the lead mare, standing over Leroy's grave. He collapsed right where she is standing, and landed directly in front of her. His grave is just on the far side of that big boulder on the other side of the electric fence.
Leroy passed away sometime this morning. He was his usual self this morning at 7:30 morning hay time, eager for his breakfast.
When I went back out at 9:30 for grain and mid-morning hay, he was gone. There was no sign of a struggle, it looks like he was gone before he hit the ground, likely dozing in the sun, or meandering to the next hay pile.
Leroy showed no signs of illness. He was happy and relaxed, sound, and ate well. He was here, busily munching hay one moment, and then gone the next.
I am grateful, however, that Leroy took the decision out of my hands, for once. He did not suffer, he was happy until he was gone. It appears as though he was gone before he hit the ground, there was no sign of struggle at all, not even a moved foot or tail. Just gone.
Leroy, you touched so many peoples hearts. I have received hundreds of emails, from people whom you have touched in some way. You opened many eyes to the life that workhorses lead. You bore your suffering in silence. I, however, could not be silent about it. You were a loving, gentle, sweet old soul. I will always treasure the 9 months that I had the pleasure of knowing and loving you.
I trust that you are back with Ana, keeping her company over the Bridge, and sharing her love and companionship again.
Goodbye, Leroy. I'll never forget you, my sweet old man.
Oh my, I guess its been awhile since I've updated Leroys blog! I do hope you like the new blog on Blogger, rather than my plain old webpage I had up. It has taken me a few hours to transfer everything over here.
Anyway, so lets see, an update on Leroy. He's doing quite well! He is a very relaxed by now. There is no more tension in him, and he seems quite content and happy. He continues to wear his hooves beautifully, and they still have not needed to be touched by the farrier. He is gaining weight, but its slow. I wish he would gain faster, but I'm pumping in about all he can eat in a day. I'm going to PowerPack him next, and then triple dose Strongid and see if that helps. I have no idea what his deworming history may have been.
Leroy is also a bit of a fly magnet, they really love him. He's been wearing a fly sheet, and I have ordered him some fly leg wraps which should be coming soon. He doesn't even bother to swish them off him, and the darned things have bloodied his legs, despite fly spray. I'm not sure how that will go over, we will see. He does love to stand under the fan in the run-in though, and he does clock a lot of dozing time there.
Leroy has been becoming a civilized horse. He is being haltered to eat his gran twice a day. I slip it on over his old halter. He still played "Catc Me If Yo Can" last week, when it was raining and he was shivering. He didn't think it was such a good idea to put his in sheet on. It took a few minutes, but I did catch him and put it on. I was just more persistant than he was. So catching is going to take a bit more time than I had hoped. Oh well.
Once, I entered he run-in with Lakota's halter, to catch her for a ride. She was on the other side of the paddock, but Leroy was napping in the run-in. When he saw me with the halter in my hand, he lumbered right over, and offered to put his nose in the halter. Awwwww...... so sweet. So I obliged, even though the halter didn't fit. I stuffed his nose in it, and pretended I was putting it on the rest of the way. Then I told him what good boy he was, took it off and gave him a scritch. Otherwise, we are pretty much "same old, same old".
After Ana's untimely death, I haven't really been inclined to keep these pages updated. We're all healing now though. Ana will be a part of all of us forever. Leroy is back to his old self, though he does have his grumpy days from time to time. But for the most part, he's a happy, content boy. Leroy LOVES to be brushed, he is a very itchy old drafty, and will think nothing of rubbing himself raw on a tree or ledge if I don't brush him. The winter coat has been flying for months, and his winter coat is quite thin. He had some rainrot on his back where the water pooled, and probably from lack of nutrition. That is all gone now, and he loves it when I use the manure rack to itch his back and butt with.
Leroy began learning how to tie in April. Well, I'm sure he already knew how to tie, he just preferred not to. At first, he fiddled and fussed, and danced around. Within a few days, he learned that he WILL be untied to go eat his hay, and will not be left tied up indefinately. So he is much more settled now, and doesn't start to fidget until he knows I'm almost finished with chores and he'll be released soon.
The dentist came in April and saw him. Leroy wasn't too thrilled at first, but James Cormier is very, very gentle, and takes his time. All the horses love him, even the ones with mouth issues. He doesn't use a speculum, and only floats the points, he doesn't take any length of tooth off, so they have as much as they have genetically for their lifetimes. Leroy has one tooth almost gone, and the opposite one is almost gone. He also had his canines cut off at some point in his life, right down to the gum line. James said Leroy has some age on him, he is at the very least 25 years old, which I agree with, and think he's even a bit older.
At the end of April, we've had some bizarre weather with 70's on up to 80F, then late April its back down to 20's at night, and 40's during the day with rain. The other morning, I found Leroy shivering in the rain! Amazing, he made it all winter with ice built up on his back and frigid winds, and he always was toasty warm. But the rain got him without that heavy winter coat. Leroy FINALLY allowed me to put a blanket on him! He was not happy about it at first, and he fussed and fidgeted around, but he settled soon when he stopped shivering and realized tht the blanket was keeping him warm and dry. So Mr. Leroy is well on the way to being a civilized horse!
Leroy's mane and forelock are also growing by leaps and bounds!!! I can't believe how much longer his forelock has gotten, and it looks so much healthier, too. Now that he is shedding so much, you can see more and more white spots on him from nerve damage. He has white hair on his croup from the straps from the harness that run over their butt and down. Leroy continues to chip off his hooves perfectly, and still has not needed any trimming. He does pick up his feet, which is great news. But I sure do like a horse who can maintain their own hooves. He is perfectly sound on them, too, and I've seen him step on a huge rock and commit all his substantial weight to it, and not even pull up.
Here are a couple of pics from late April, of the old man doing what he does best. Eat.
And here is a video I made, telling Leroy's story.
Leroy was continuing to make great progress, and I had a chat with him about having his teeth floated. He seemed OK with the idea, when I told him that he would need to let me catch him, and it may be unpleasant but he would feel much better after it was done.
Then we had a huge setback. Ana, the little curly filly who was Leroy's buddy, shattered her pastern on 2/28 and had to be euthanized. Leroy has not been the same since. He wants nothing to do with me again, and has withdrawn. He gets a grumpy when handled, and even kicked at me when I attempted to look at a sore he had on his hip. We are all devastated over Ana's loss.
I do hope that Leroy comes around soon. I really want to get those teeth floated, but I am in no mind to get into an argument with a draft horse with prior emotional issues. So I continue to stuff him with as much feed as I can get into him, and I hope that his grieving time is over soon.
These photos were taken on 2/24, four days before Ana was euthanized.
Leroy has integrated with the herd rather well. He is still bottom of the pecking order, but a couple of times the lead mare, Lakota, moved the other horses away from him, and blocked them so that they could not harass him. She's a good girl. Ana likes to hang out with Leroy, and she is often at the hay pile next to his. She does boss him around a bit, I think she gets a kick out of it that she can move somebody around.
I can't really tell how much weight Leroy is gaining, its very hard to tell under all that hair. Of course, if he would let me put a blanket on him, I'm sure he would gain faster. I should be able to get the dentist to see him soon, I just want to spend a little more time catching and releasing him, to get him a bit more confident. He didnt' want to be caught when the farrier was here, so we left him alone. I can catch him on my own anytime, but not if someone else is around. His hooves look great though, he is self-trimming, and has a nice mustang roll and a beautiful heel first landing on any terrain.
I was a little worried about making sure he was able to get enough water after I put all the horses together. Leroy won't walk past any of the girls, and if they were under the run-in in bad weather, I was afraid they wouldn't let him up for water. Well, apparently he understood my worries, and he leaves me a nice, big pile right in front of the water tank, so I know each day and night that he has been to the water tank. LOL!
He's a very smart horse, and also very sweet. He now presents his butt to me for scratching, and comes up for attention every day. Once the weather is better, I'm sure that spending more time with him will have him my pocket in no time.
Leroy got to live with the rest of the herd this weekend!
First I sent Whinney up to visit with him. She's very easy going, and if there is food around, that's all she cares about. So she is always the first choice for meeting new horses. I usually send April, the mini, next because she just wants to be everyone's friend, but can be a little obnoxious about it.
April had other plans, and in less than 5 minutes of putting Whinney through the gate, April broke through the gate, so poor Leroy had to meet 2 girls at once. My plan was to give them a few days of in and out and a few hours of being together, then bringing up Lakota after that for awhile. But Whinney and April didn't want to come down for dinner, so I left them with Leroy for the night.
Everything seemed fine the next morning (aside from Whinney bullying Leroy out of his grain, so I had to hold her so he could eat), so I opened the gate and let Lakota up. I knew Jen wouldn't bother coming to visit, and I figured Ana would hang back a bit and then go investigate (which is just what she did).
Lakota mostly ignored Leroy, but did push him off a few hay piles. She wasn't mean or aggressive about it, which is different than she is with the other horses. I think she knows he's an old man and can't be running around like the other horses.
Ana came up and investigated also, then they had to show off, and romp around in their "playground" paddock, that has been off limits for the last 2 months. There is a video of their meeting on YouTube.