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I don't think I mentioned it here on the forum but Hooey had cancer. May of 2018 he had surgery to have the his third eyelid removed due to Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Pathology came back with clean margins we thought we were in the clear. In February or March of this year his left eye made a drastic change. Literally one day it looked normal, the next day not. Due to the time of year and weather making the 4 and half hour trip to Idaho to vet hospital and vet who did the surgery was tough.


Eventually after meeting with the vet it was suggested an ophthalmologist be brought in. After his appointment with the ophthalmologist, sonograms, x-rays and scans they concluded he had a cancerous tumor behind the eye in the orbital socket. There was a good chance the cancer had spread into the bone. There was no way to save the eye itself. My option was to have the eye removed (which we gather he had been slowly losing sight) despite the nature of Hooey's work the vets thought I should try it.

Heart broken I hauled him home, talked to my friends who know me and Hooey and did some hard thinking on the right thing to do. Everyone agreed he wasn't a good candidate as a one-eyed horse. Plus his quality of life would diminish quickly if the cancer spread to his sinuses. I decided to leave the eye and continue to ride him until it was time and I knew he would let me know. I had envisioned putting him into the spade before he died but there wasn't enough time.



This summer his health declined quickly. He went completely blind in the eye. He relied on me and Stilts quite a bit to help him. Finally in the last couple of weeks he became angry and frustrated. Even though I would talk to him and let him know where I was at as not to startle him, he had kicked at me and kicked at Stilts. He was going to hurt himself or hurt one of us. It was time.


Thank the Lord for good friends. I couldn't bear the thought of him ending up in the back of a rendering truck and didn't have the balls or the heart to shoot him myself. My husband arranged for a good friend to come pick him up while I was gone in Idaho, take care of him and bury him on a neighboring ranch in the same valley where it all started. I got a phone call this morning it was done.

Even though I said my good bye to him last week it wasn't easy to hear it this morning. He is where he belongs and it makes my heart happy he is there. They roached his mane and took his tail for me so I can have a get down rope twisted out of his mane and my friend is going to make a big shoo-fly out of his tail to hang on the wall next to his picture.


A little rambling about Hooey. I bought Hooey as a yearling in 2012. I was looking for a futurity prospect and was kind of looking for another Topsail Cody bred horse. I saw him once on the internet, contacted the seller but for some reason never pursued it. I saw the ad again quite some time later surprised he was still for sale and something told me to buy him. I bought him for $900. He was a dorky little colt and my husband questioned my taste in horse flesh when he first laid eyes on him.


Not even a of couple months after buying him we sold out of our trucking business and moved back to the eastern side of NV to go back to cowboying. Baby Hooey had to be turned out with all the ranch horses but stuck to Stilts side until he got the hang of the pecking order. That fall the weaner calves that didn't go on the truck were turned out in the horse field to make it easy to gather to the corrals and easy to feed everything at once. Hooey knighted himself the guardian of the calves. He wouldn't be found with the horses but grazing the short brown grass with the calves and when he heard us come with the hay wagon he would gather the calves and bring them to the feed ground like a Border Collie. My husband used to tease me saying Hooey was better than any of my dogs.

In the spring the bulls were brought down from the top of the ranch and turned out with the horses for their Trich test before put moved to Spring meadows. Once again Hooey could be found with the bulls rather than the horses. After their Trich tests came back clean husband and I gathered the bulls to stick in a neighboring field for the 10 mile trek to the meadows the next morning. Hooey was upset we were taking the bulls he came trotting with us. As bulls do, they start fighting as you move them. He trotted up the the fighting bulls and went to pawing and kicking then sorted off the offending bull on a circle and put him back. He definitely had some cow or bull?


A month later we were getting ready to leave for a rodeo fueling the pickup and watched the horses come off the hill to the water gap. I noticed Hooey was in the back which was unusual. As he came down and I went to go see. It was obvious. He had a huge wound on his right hind leg. I caught him, tried to hose it off enough to evaluate how bad it was. With much protest it wasn't going to happen. I called the vets office and dropped off on our way to the rodeo as there was nothing I could do there. That night vet called me. Told me he was lucky even tough the would was down to the bone it was in the best spot possible, not affecting major ligaments or tendons. The healing process would be long though. Which it was but he came out sound. I had a thread on here about his progress.



After he had healed I finally started him. Pretty uneventful despite him being hot and quick tempered. I only put a few rides on him before winter hit and it was too slick to ride colts. A few more rides in the spring before we moved into town. Eventually I had a neighbor friend take him to cowboy on outside as I didn't have the time. He said he was tough and strong. Took him on days that were supposed to be easy "colt" days but ended up being man killers but still never found the bottom of him.


The following spring I quit my town job and went to day working again. By then Hooey was 4 years old. One of ranches I worked on is one of the biggest in the US. The days were long. Starting in the dark and ending in the dark. Hooey handled it like a champ. Going back in the fall to help preg and wean I remember a day I was in the back bringing drafts of cows to the "bud box" to feed the lead up to the chute. I sat behind a big, heavy pipe gate with a piece of plate metal welded to it to make it solid. It would make a horrible racket if a cow kicked it. Half asleep waiting for my time to grab another draft a cow got hot and tried to jump the big gate. Her front feet were over the top of the gate and she was blowing snot on us. Most colts would of scattered but it ticked Hooey off, he pinned his ears and bit the cow in the head and she got off the gate. We had a pretty good laugh over it.


As time went on he proved himself to be a great cowboy horse. He was big, strong and wasn't afraid of no cow. He could out trot most horses and after we got him over trying to buck me off in the mornings all I did was lay my hand on his neck and he glided through the sage brush with ease. He was the horse people fell in love with when I took him somewhere. The goofy little colt blossomed. He was a big stopper and when I took him to ride with my trainer and finally got him on good ground it felt like I was going to tip over backwards stopping. My trainer loved him and thought he had talent.



He wasn't much for dry work in the arena he was all about the cows whether it was roping or cutting. Most horses lean toward the gate out of the arena but Hooey would try to stop at the gate to bring the cattle in the arena. Just sitting on the fence petting him he'd let me slide onto his back and he would take me to the the cattle pen gate. Sometimes for fun I would try working a cow on him bareback.
He ran to cattle hard but I never dared to step out onto my stirrup to throw my rope, I'm pretty he thought it was funny to cheap shot me and put me on my head in the dirt.



We had our differences and he taught me a lot about controlling my emotions. He knew how to push my buttons like an old married couple. He often used it to his advantage by picking at me to get out of doing what I was asking. I used to take it so personally but later learned how to control it and both of us matured.


Even though he wasn't in my life nearly long enough I think God put him in my life for a reason. I think we both learned a lot from each other but he definitely taught me some lessons about horses and about myself.



Rest in peace my friend. Some day we will be reunited but until then I will miss you placing your nostril on my arm as you always have when following me to the barn.
 

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I'm so sorry for your loss - there is a book, "Chosen by a Horse" by Susan Richards, that details her brief, but very meaningful journey with a retired harness racing horse that ended up having a very similar condition as your boy. I always read it after I lose one of my own.
 

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He was quite a horse...
Impeccable judge of cow it seems and loved to do a job he excelled at.
His rider brought him along just right and listened to what he told of...

My heart breaks for you and the choice you had to make.
In time, the hurt will fade to dull ache...
You were blessed to have Hooey and blessed to know the mind shared between you with dedication to work you had.
I offer you hugs and a wish for peace in knowing Hooey was so loved you did what was best for him...
I'm so sorry...
Hooey will forever be a golden memory...


hlg.
 

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I am so very sorry COWCHICK. He sounded like a wonderful equine partner and it's so sad that he didn't get to live a long life. You made the right choice for him. Hugs!
 

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COWCHICK I am so sorry to find this here. It sounds like you two were partners in every sense of the word. Peace and a heartfelt hug for you. He'll be waiting and watching over you.
 

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Tears in my coffee --what a bittersweet way to start the morning. RIP Hooey. CowChick77, what a wonderful time you two had together --too short and so sweet. Gosh, I'm missing him, I can't image the deep loss you must be going through. Oh, Hooey.
 
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