Journeys of Cactus Jack Splash

On His Own Terms

Cactus Jack Splash the Appaloosa HorseI had no idea what that day would hold. I didn't know that the horse that has amazed us all with his tenacity would be leaving us. I never wanted to make the choice to help him cross the rainbow bridge. I wanted his passing to be his own choice and on his own terms. Yesterday he made it – it was his choice and it was going to be on his terms. Freedom had always given us his best, did everything we asked him to do, and loved us deeply. Yesterday he asked me to listen to him and give him his request, help him cross the rainbow bridge … to give him my best and not question his choice.

Freedom and Mushboy play soccer

This picture was taken in August of this year. Freedom and Mushboy were playing soccer with several other horses – Freedom is 48 years old in this photo. Freedom came to us so very thin and in such bad shape we wondered if he would survive. Not only did he survive, he thrived! He and I herded cows once – he did better once I just let him do what he knew how to do and just went along for the ride. He packed The Support Crew Chief down a trail and left the youngsters in his dust. He delighted in carrying Mushboy around the pasture. After he was fully retired he would take the ranch cats for pony rides. Freedom adopted a chicken named Trudy and would share his mush with her. He was quite the character: stealing calves, jumping fences when his pasture was changed, teaching young horses manners, and keeping watch over the ranch and its herd.

He taught me that age is a state of mind, that there are no excuses not to live your life to the fullest, and to suck it up when things are tough.

Several times I thought we might loose him. Yesterday morning it looked as though he would live forever. I am thankful he didn't waste away, that he never really was ill, that he was mobile and happy, and that he chose his time. Even at the end he was telling us where he wanted to lay down for the final time, he was opinionated and pushy until the end.

He was laid to rest beside Ginger. Freedom will now get to be with Freedom's Lady in spirit. I am sure his spirit will visit her and enjoy following her in the mountains.

Freedom was an amazing horse and he will be missed so very much.

Thank you for blessing our lives, Freedom. Keep watch over the calves in heaven, I am sure that God will let you keep all of them that you want. Eat all the grass you can find with your new set of teeth. Find Hank and Scooby, they will be glad to see you. Tell Grandfather hi.

Rest in peace my friend.

Freedom wants you all to remember "Life is soooo good!"

Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR.

Visiting the Horse Dentist

I was a good boy for the dentist, and I didn't even get a lollipop. What is up with that?

Horse at dentist just after sedative

Here I am just after getting my sedative. Okay, so I am a light weight when it comes to drugs. One shot and I could hardly stand, I couldn't figure out what to do with my hind feet. The DOR thought I was going to sit down or fall over, it looked like I would for a minute or two. The dentist assured both of us he had never seen that happen. I am not sure why we would believe him, his version of a greeting was putting his hand in my mouth up to the middle of his forearm while I was standing outside in the paddock, I don't think he has learned his manners.

Horse mouth inspection

So here I am getting my mouth inspected. Dakota took this picture, he thinks the glow around the dentist makes him look like an angel-whatever, that is not what I was thinking. Hey, wait I was stoned and thinking about clover, alfalfa, apple asses, and pretty mares.

Horse dentist cleaning teeth

The dentist decided I needed to rinse and spit before he started working. Seems my mouth wasn't to clean, it had grass stashed here and there, how did he know those weren't my special pieces of grass? I hope he washed his hands before he got started.

Horse dentist grinding teeth

So now the real work starts, I need my sharp points ground down. I wouldn't have minded so much, but he was interfering with my drug induced stupor. What is the point of giving me drugs and then bugging me?

More grinding by horse dentist

Horse dentist procedure

Here we are at the end of the procedure. The drugs were starting to wear off, I was shaking my head around. Rather than give me more of the good stuff, the dentist just had the DOR hold my head. I should have acted really bad so I could get just a bit more of that sedative.

Horse dentist almost finished

The dentist says I am good for a year and that I behaved really well. I went out and enjoyed the nice weather while the rest of the drug wore off. Then the DOR put me in with Freedom. It is the first time I have felt bad for the old fart, without any teeth he doesn't get to see the dentist and enjoy that goofy shot. Oh well he gets to eat really good mush and he doesn't share any with me, so I guess it evens out.

See if you can get your DOR to schedule a dental visit for you. It isn't bad, the drugs are great, and that way when you reach Freedom's age you will have most if not all of your teeth.

Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR!