Headline, December 07 2022/ ''' '' HORSE HUMAN HONOR '' ''' : ALAS!


 HONOR '' ''' : ALAS!

TWO LIVES LONG HARNESSED TOGETHER : A 30-year partnership of horse and human undone only by death. The World Students Society rises to give a long standing ovation.

ON THE FLOOR JUST OUTSIDE HIS EMPTY STALL lay a scattering of beautiful yellow chrysanthemums left by a sympathetic friend.

It had just been over a week since Rush had died on the concrete floor a few feet from where she stood. Eukers was still grieving, but also celebrating Rush's extraordinary legacy. He was 39 years old and 188 days old when he died, making him perhaps the longest-lived thoroughbred ever in the US.

WHATEVER RUSH'S RANK AMONG SENIOR HORSES - his death marked the end of a 30-year partnership - with horse and owner showing a level of dedication to each other that would be extraordinary for any two beings, equine or human.

'' He would fight for me, and I would fight for him,'' Eukers said. ''Whether it's your relationship with your horse, with your friends, or with your life partner, that's what it comes down to. You fight for me, and I'll fight for you.''

They forged their relationship competing in equestrian events. Six days a week for six years, separated only by a saddle, they honed their skills, moving fluidly together and soaring over obstacles, three feet high at first and then three and a half. For Eukers, being with her horse became a way of life.

She attended college close to home so she could stay near Rush, turned down jobs that would have cut into her time with him, didn't socialize much and never went on vacation. The longest she ever spent away from Rush was one, for a school trip.

In return, he gave her joy by carrying her on his back - around show rings and across Windsor's quilt of farmlands, often at a thundering pace fit for a racetrack. ''It really is a special thrill to feel a racing thoroughbred at full speed underneath you. It's just magic,'' she said.

Beyond that, he gave her a purpose, and a measure of peace. The simple routine of feeding Rush, cleaning his stall and giving him medicine made her feel useful and freed her mind. He was a job she loved doing. ''It's one of those Zen things,'' Eukers said. ''You have that rhythm and, and it somehow centers your life.''

Through all of life's challenges - angst against about the prom, hard days at work, dates that didn't happen, her father's death - Rush was there for her. Eukers said she occasionally wept into his neck. He actually didn't love that.

''He would sit and listen,'' she said, ''but he would get to a certain point that was like,' OK Mom, you cried. We're good. I'm going to go have my hay now.' ''

They grew to understand each other. She fed and groomed him and protected him from everyday objects. And when she asked him to clear a fence, he did, even though he was afraid.

''If I asked him to try, he would always try, and he would try and try,'' she said. She still keeps the ribbons they won in riding competitions.

The once-brown horse was now mostly gray. He spent his days at Windsor Hunt Stables under an Apple tree., communing with dogs named Wilson and Lola, and red-winged blackbirds, wrens, a yellow barn cat and a quarter horse called Cowboy, who stole his hay.

Day after day, Eukers walked Rush up and down the little hill next to the barn, steering him away from the gravel path because the stones hurt his feet. She messaged him with essential oils while he napped.

She tied a rope to him and had him trot in a circle around her. She experimented with all kinds of dietary supplements, and Dr. Michael Stewart, Rush's veterinarian for more than 20 years, gave him steroids to keep him strong.

PEOPLE would ask Eukers how old Rush was, and when she told them, they would follow up with what she considered in indelicate question : ''How long do horses live?''

Last summer, Rush somehow hit his head when he was alone. Eukers could tell by the swelling and his behavior. It took him a long time to recover. He also suffered from an abscess on his left front hoof and persistent breathing difficulties. Amid it all, Cowboy, his companion of 14 years, died at 26, leaving Rush bereft.

About that time, Eukers, who worked in administration for an aerospace company, began receiving frequent texts at work alerting her that Rush was lying down, and she'd have to hurry to help him.

It is fine for horses to lie down, Dr. Stewart said in an interview, but because of the way their digestive systems work, they must get up to survive. Eukers always managed to get Rush back on her feet, often with help, but as time passed she felt less and less comfortable leaving him alone.

She began to spend nights in the barn, placing a chair outside Rush's stall and wrapping herself in horse blankets as she listened to his breathing.

''You and I would be lucky to have somebody care for us like she cared for him,'' Dr. Stewart said.

On the night of Nov. 7, Eukers stayed with Rush until late, then went home to get a couple of hours' sleep in her bed. When she returned at 5.30 a.m., Rush was down, spilling out of his stall onto the cold barn floor. Eukers called her mother, then Dr. Stewart. For hours they worked to get him up, but the cramped space and the slope of the floor worked against them.

In recent years, Eukers said, people often told her that animals can sense when they're dying. He'll tell you when it's time, they would say to her. But Rush didn't do that,  she said. Even after she rubbed his forehead and told him :

''You've done enough, you don't have to try anymore,'' he kept struggling to lift his head and scrabbling to get his feet under him.

Finally, Eukers asked Dr. Stewart if he thought this was the end, and when he said yes, she made her decision. She had fought for Rush as long as she could. She knew that even if they got him up, they would be back here again soon, and Rush would be suffering, and he would try for her again.

The Honor, Beauty and Publishing of this very touching post, continues. The World Students Society thanks author Mike Wilson.

With most loving and respectful dedication to Mankind, the Global Founder Framers of The World Students Society - and then Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya all prepare and register for Great Global Elections on !WOW! - wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011:

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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