Our beautiful 17.2hh gelding, Old Man Noah, passed away this morning. Yesterday evening he coliced severely for the first time since we've owned him, and after many hours of work by the vets and ourselves, we were forced to allow him to pass into heaven at dawn. It was horrifying, really, as I've never seen an animal colic in the way that he did. We thought that he may have twisted something, or be blocked, because he was in such severe pain- but after hours of walking and pouring fluids down him with the vet, he was only worsening. As a last resort, he was scoped to try and find what was causing him trouble, only to meet the vet's horrified eyes as he slowly drew away from our hurting angel and grimly told us that Noah had not coliced on food, but rather of a belly full of tumors. Noah had stomach cancer, and there was no way to save him.
I broken heartedly wonder if there might have been a way to save him, if we had known earlier on. There had been signs...small, miniscule signs that only someone that knew him well would notice...but they had been there, and we had ignored them.
We have owned Noah for a little over two years. He came to us as a sad, unwilling OTTB with no life in his eyes, and I had the priviledge of helping train him and teach him to become a school horse. He loved his life. As he learned new things, it was like his eyes lit up, spark by spark. He created bonds with his pupils like no one horse did, and often enjoyed doing therapy work with even the smallest children, dispite his size. There was no gentle giant quite like our Noah.
Back a few months ago, he began loosing weight and growing rather crabby under saddle and around other horses. He became very clingy and resisted being ridden. He saw the chiropractor and was put on different feed, but we did nothing more. We simply assumed that our 'Old Man Noah' was getting cranky in his 'old' age. We ignored what was very likely his cry for help.
The vet believes that he may have even had the tumors when we first brought him home, but that they had grown so large that one had ruptured, and the others were pressing against his stomache lining. We can't believe that something could take over such a sweet boy as ours, and are in shock by his terrible misfortune.
However, it would have been cruel and pointless to try to save him and prolong his suffering, so while laying in the arms of his favorite riding student, with his new friends surrounding him, Noah was allowed to depart from his pain.
Noah, we will miss you dearly. Not everyone thought that you were beautiful, not everyone loved you. Not everyone thought realized that an OTTB could be like you. But we loved you. You were robbed of life at such a young age, and we cry as we remember you. We are glad and very honored to have taken part in your rehabilitation and fun as you discovered life outside of the track though, and we will always remember you as the OTTB with the biggest heart in the world.
Goodbye our friend, we will not forget you!
Noah's last ride, his first experience in the beautiful sandy beaches with his favorite rider. I like to think of him this way, just about to take off into heaven...not a care in the world.