Our weekend certainly did not go as planned, and we had yet another reminder about how quickly life can change. In the span of a 24 hour period Rampal went from being perfectly normal and fine to being euthanized. He was 28 years old.
Rampal joined us for retirement over two years ago. He was one of those horses that we thought we live forever. He was one of those rare horses that seemed to be made of iron. He was tough as nails, very stoic, scared of nothing, and retired 100% sound from FEI level dressage at the age of 25.
enjoying another perfect day being retired
Rampal, a Swedish Warmblood, was born in Maine and started his dressage career there. He competed through the Intermediare I level before being purchased by a new owner when he was 11 years old. He moved to the Cleveland, Ohio area and remained with the same trainer, with two different owners, until he retired with us at the age of 25. he competed through the Grand Prix level in dressage.
Rampal and Tiny being frisky
During his career Rampal competed in an impressive 192 recognized dressage classes throughout his career. He earned multiple championships and year end awards at 4th level, Prix St. George, Intermediare I and II and Grand Prix. He competed in New England, the midwest, the Florida circuit, and Dressage at Devon. He helped several riders, including his mom, earn several USDF (United States Dressage Federation) medals. He earned his riders two USDF silver medals (his mom and a junior/young rider) and three USDF bronze medals (his mom, the junior/young rider, and his other amateur owner).
the team getting Rampal and his mom ready to go in the show ring
saluting the judge
some trot work in a Prix St. George test
The fact that Rampal competed successfully and retired sound at 25 is impressive enough. The fact that he spent almost his entire competitive career doing the demanding work of FEI level dressage, right up until he retired, puts him in a very special category.
Tiny, Rampal and Johnny
showing off his trot this summer
grooming with Johnny
Rampal's mom always said the he was born during the wrong generation. His mom always said that he would have been the perfect General's horse. She could see him standing calmly on the battlefield with cannons exploding all around him. I have to agree with her. Rampal was scared of nothing and never spooked at anything. He had more self confidence than I have ever seen in a horse. He was not interested in being told what to do by people or horses. He had plenty of opinions on everything and never hesitated to express them to any person or horse. If any horse made the mistake of questioning his authority he would swiftly remind them that he was in charge, period, end of discussion.
Kennedy and Rampal enjoying another day in horse paradise
Rampal and Rocky making their way in for breakfast early one morning
grooming with Claytong
Rampal surprised us some during his retirement with us. He had so much self confidence and self assurance we were not expecting him to be one of the ones that became overwhelmingly herdbound. We were wrong. As soon as you took Rampal out of the pasture he would immediately begin screaming to his friends, dragging you around, and generally being rude and unmannerly. This response could be somewhat mitigated by bringing one of his friends in with him, but he still wasn't happy about it. He would stand in a stall as long as he had one of his buddies next to him and food in front of him. But the second the food ran out he would literally start slamming himself against the stall walls, screaming, and he would keep it up until someone put him back out.
Stormy, Rampal and Clayton
Tiny, Johnny and Rampal
Bergie and Rampal
Rampal led a charmed life literally from start to finish. He enjoyed every minute of his retirement. He loved to play, groom, graze and simply hang out with the other horses. For such a macho man he was very, very attached to his friends. It is strange to think that Rampal will no longer be standing at the gate, pawing, nickering and telling us to hurry up at meal times. I think his only complaint about his time with us is that we never brought his food fast enough for his liking. Other than that I think he would describe his last couple of years as pretty much perfect. I'm glad we had the chance to get to know him and his mom. Everything changed so quickly everyone is still getting used to the idea that he is gone.
Goodbye Rampal, I am sure you are continuing to graze in green pastures, and I have no doubt you are doing it on your terms.
Rampal and friends having fun December 2010
Rampal and friends having fun December 2010
grazing with Tiny
Oskar and Rampal
Rocky, Rampal, Johnny and Tiny
enjoying a good roll
Rampal napping, Tiny is right next to him and Rocky is in the background
napping hard in the hay
another naptime with Clayton keeping watch nearby
Rampal and Clayton grooming with Johnny grazing