Kit Carson(Tribute to a great Trail Horse)
This past weekend was not a good one from the beginning. On Saturday hubby was sick with a bad cold and went to the Doc first thing Saturday morning. He just has a bad cold and got drugs and a shot in the butt!! But we did not ride, just laid around all weekend due to him feeling bad.
But Monday, Memorial Day (fitting) was the really bad day.... Kit Carson,.... Kit the wonder horse,....Kit Kat...... our very, very old horse went down. We had him put down. But first I want to tell you how great a horse he was......
We got Kit Free!!! My daughter was about 9-10 years old when a cousin bought Kit for his son, Kit was not registered but we think he was about 12-15 years old at this time. His son rode Kit some but Kit was way too much horse for the boy who was a TOTAL beginner. The cousin boarded Kit at our house/barn until he got an area fenced in at his house. Naturally the novelty of having a horse wore off after about 6 months. Like I said Kit was too much horse for either father or son who were both very much beginners. They quit coming around and quit riding. We started riding him... he was a blast to ride. He LOVED to run and his one fault was he was hard to stop.
After a few years Kit became ours.. not that any papers were ever exchanged or bought...but he was ours... I was going to charge an exorbitant price for his board (that the cousin quit paying) if he tried to sell him or take him away.... He WAS OUR HORSE!!!
Kit was a great trail horse, he was low man on the pecking order.. so he didn't have any problem going off on his own.. in fact we called him a scout because he became the scout horse on trail rides.. Who ever rode him was usually in the front and would lope up ahead scout around and return. Kit loved to see what was around the next bend in the trail.. what was over the next hill.
Once when a friend was riding him on an old logging trail. We were loping along, Kit lost a back shoe, it flipped up and he stepped on it with a front foot. The shoe went into the sole of his foot, went in about 1 inch. It took pliers and two men to pull it out. Then Kit was walked down the mountain to the truck/trailer. We took him home, when he went into his stall, he laid down and groaned so loud.. I thought he was dying right then and there!! He did not..... we doctored him thru that episode.. that was Life #1 used.
A friend was riding him down a paved road. Not loping but moving out. Kit slipped and strained a back leg. He was on stall rest for about 1 month, and couldn't be ridden for several months. That was Life #2 used.
One day we saw Kit down in the pasture... He couldn't get up. We tried to get him up and it was like his back legs wouldn't work. We are thinking stroke. Hubby gets the tractor, we rig up a belly band and a hip band. Put the band around and pull the tractor right over the top of him. Use the lift bucket to raise Kit to standing position. Daughter holds his head and we walk Kit, holding him up with the front end lift of the tractor, around the pasture. He finally starts actually walking on his own. We take the belly bands off and he walks to the barn.. This is life #3 used
A couple of hours later he goes down again near the barn. We call the vet to come and put him down. Daughter is laying across him crying and begging him to get up. Just as the vet calls us back to say he was about to leave his office, Kit GETS UP!! (daughter told him he was about to die if he didn't get up) This is life #4 used
I had a couple of my horses come/go.... We bought a gelding named Elvis.. and Elvis was the KING... he was a very possessive gelding like a stallion. He loved his mares and didn't like Kit the gelding. We thought they finally were friend. I got a call from hubby, Kit was down and had been either run thru the fence or fell thru it. (Elvis probably ran him thru it) Kit was cut up. We got Kit out of the wire, thinking to ourselves how in the world are we going to get him to the barn.. or even if he could make it to the barn.... Kit realized he was free, got himself up and walked to the barn all by himself.. no one leading or guiding him. Daughter came home from work, she was all grown up now. Kit was cut up very, very badly. The vet gave us hope for life, but we knew he would be cripple in one leg. Daughter spent hours, days, months doctoring Kit. She did things to him that make me cringe.. He would stand in the wash rack and let her crawl around under him doing painful things to him and he KNEW she was helping him. He NEVER even attempted to hurt her. This was life # 5 used
Kit is just a pasture ornament now. We have to keep him in his own small pasture next to the rest of the 3 horses. Daughter was about to move away for a new job. We have had Kit about 17-19 years at this time. Daughter didn't want Kit to be all by himself in his pasture, wanted him to have a buddy! So she bought a goat. We put Kit and Bernece the goat in a stall together to bond... and they did.. Bernece stayed with Kit almost 100% of the time. She would sometimes travel thru the fence to visit the other horses but mostly stayed with Kit. When I would feed Kit, he would flip food out of his bucket for Bernece to eat.
Due to the horrible injury he had, Kit was basically a 3 legged horse.. He had the 4th leg but is was stiff at the knee, was swollen and fused frozen at the knee. He could not bend the left front knee. He still could and would lay down, he knew he had to lay on a certain side and had to lay on a sloping hill so he could push himself up in a dog sitting position then would heave himself standing up. It was very painful to watch him walk and get up from laying down. He was NOT in pain, it just hurt me to watch him.
Kit is getting old. Daughter is living 4 hours away and I am Kit's caretaker. He falls down, (he has been doing this a LOT) near the fence and cuts his GOOD front leg. It is a bad cut/scrape but not to the bone/ligaments. Daughter rushes 4 hours home, we have the vet out. It will take lots of tender loving care but he does get well. Daughter has to go back to her home 4 hours away. Mom has to do all the painful things to Kit. Thankfully he heals nicely and quickly! This is Life #6 used.
This past winter was a hard one in Georgia.. Very cold! Kit had always been a hard keeper, his is a marathon runner,, very, very lean! He gets terribly skinny. We keep a blanket on him almost all winter. He gets twice as much feed/hay as the others. He got extra fats/supplements in his feed. He got thru the winter and was enjoying the warm spring!
Yesterday morning, Memorial Day, We went to the barn fed, messed around doing things at the barn. I brushed Kit and naturally gave him extra feed. We did house/yard chores and about 4 in the afternoon went to gather the eggs at the barn. On the way down we (hubby and I) saw Kit laying down. The other horses were at the fence close to him. When we got to Kit, we could see that he had struggled some. Trying to get up, his back legs were skinned some from rubbing the ground. He was wet from sweat.. it was warm but not that hot. We got a halter on him and as he was trying to get up we helped... it was no use.. As he lay on the ground he would have this weird head nodding. He would lay flat, and his head would have this involuntary nodding motion. I don't really understand but knew this was different than any other time Kit had been down.. We called the vet.. He was on another farm call about 30 minutes away. Kit tried to stand a few times. He almost fell thru the fence again. I sat by his head and rubbed it lightly. Daughter would do this to him and he would get that far, far away look in his eye.. I rubbed him.. I tickled him.. he didn't get "that" look but he did relax. He would relax and rest then try to get up again, periodically he would lay flat and get the weird head nodding.
The Vet showed up. It was such a blessing and a relief and horrible all at the same time. The vet did a wonderful job... he gave a sedative that made Kit relax even more. He took two big deep breaths and totally relaxed.. then the Doc gave him the other drug.. it was a easy passing. Easy for Kit but hard for me.. I am not a crying person... I rarely cry... I have cried and cried. This was life # 7... the final life!
I called Daughters boyfriend, Joe. He had the hard job of breaking the news to her. She called and cried with me. My Daughter has had Kit from the time she was 9-10... and she is now 30.. A lot of good years!!
Thank you for reading my Tribute to Kit.. He was a GREAT horse!!
I will attempt to post photos of Daughter and Kit Carson.