Elaine Meinel Supkis
We had to put down our dear old friend, our war horse from the Alps, Sparky. He now lies buried in the middle of his favorite pasture overlooking the valley below. He was one brave, good horse. Difficult to tame, wild and too smart, he could open gates, doors, turn on and off lights and get into anything. He was of a very strong build and if he couldn't open a gate, he would smash through it.
He loved to escape his confines but if we called to him, he always came back and would even try to come into the house with us. Once, during a tornado, we took him and his beloved Molly, a mare, into the basement. He then had a jolly time, messing around while the tornado skipped over the roof of the house. He nearly got stuck on the spiral stairs to the kitchen!
He loved to run in deep snow. When we first hitched him, many years ago, to a sled, we thought he might have trouble pulling it. Well, he took off like a dolphin cutting the waves! We flew through the air, the snow flying high. Uphill on a mountain! He just loved to run full-tilt.
When we took him to the State Fairs, he thought he was there to fight all the other stallions. Once, he ran up to two giant Percherons and reared up on his hind legs and neighed a challenge which the two giants ignored. So Sparky decided to hang out with them and egg them on in the pulling contests.
Sparky loved performing for children. We had a routine for audiences. I would talk and Sparky would sneak over and gently pull off my scarf. 'Give it back, Sparky,' I would say. The children would yell, 'Give it back, Sparky!' and he would wave the scarf up and down to the cheers of children. Then, when I got it back, he would steal my hat. Then steal my hankerchief and then pretend to blow his nose. He loved doing shows.
He was scared of nothing, not even lightning. Even when a bolt came right through his stall. But he injured himself because of a bear that came in looking for sweetmix to eat. This is when his leg problems began. As he aged, this troubled him more and more and this year, he seldom even stood up. He got in the habit of eating while nestled on the ground. He was still quite cheerful about all this. But the last week, he was in greater pain. He couldn't even sit up. Last night, he tried eating grass sideways while laying totally flat on the ground.
This was a difficult day for us. But part of the responsibility of living with our animal friends is to see that don't suffer terribly. So we kissed our friend farewell. And I hope he is flying with Pegasus tonight across the Heavens.