Tuesday, August 18, 2015

In Memory of Largo

Last week we started the week with a farm full of healthy horses and ended the week with one less resident after saying our goodbyes to Largo. It was unexpected to say the least, and a reminder that no day of life should be taken for granted or not lived to the fullest. 

Largo

Largo and his mom were fortunate to have almost twelve years together. In 2003 Largo's mom made the difficult decision to sell the mare that she had at the time. She had tried for a few years to get both of them on the same page as far as having fun doing some lower level dressage. However her mare made it clear that she was far more interested in jumping than she was in dressage. She finally decided to sell her mare and find both of them more suitable partners.

This is one of my favorite pictures of Largo. The picture itself isn't particularly good, but I remember watching  Largo and Oskar galloping through the pasture in such a carefree manner that I had to take their picture. The memory I have associated with this picture is one of my favorites of Largo.


Several of her friends had had good luck working with a sales barn across town, so she took her mare to the barn to be sold. She visited her mare often while she was at the sales barn. On one of those visits the owner of the barn told her there was a horse he thought she should look at. He then presented her with a big, bay gelding named Largo. She was told that Largo had been a jumper previously, but due to some bad experiences he no longer liked jumping and had started crashing through the jumps. Largo's mom said that looking back on that it wasn't the best description for a horse that was for sale, but love tends to make us blind.

Largo surveying his retirement kingdom

The big, bay gelding stood quietly as his mom introduced herself to him. She wasn't looking for another horse at the time as she needed to sell her other horse first. However she was taken with the striking gelding and she had her trainer come back with her to look at him. Largo's mom and her trainer both rode him. Although he was a bit one sided on their test ride, every few strides he would give them a glimpse of a lovely, soft horse with pretty gaits that simply needed to be nurtured and brought out.

Largo showing off the trot that made his mom and her trainer see a good dressage prospect in him.

This was the first time I saw Largo's pretty trot, on his second day with us.

Of course his mom fell in love with him and wanted to buy him. Fate was on their side as her mare ended up finding a new owner shortly after she met Largo. She purchased Largo a few days before Christmas. She was so excited, he was the perfect present!

Largo, 3rd from the right, enjoying a lazy day with Johnny, Toledo and Rubrico


Largo grooming with Rocky

Largo and his mom worked together at learning dressage for a few years. They did most of their training in riding and lessons but also went to a few shows. All was going well until his mom started having some trouble with one of her knees. His mom had had knee surgery a few years earlier and her doctor told her that posting the trot was very hard on her knee and she should try to avoid it as much as possible. 

Largo and River

Oskar and Largo

Since Largo's mom needed to find ways to make riding easier on her knee she decided to see if Largo would enjoy doing some trail riding. Largo quickly made it clear that he had not ever spent any time on the trails and that he did not have any interest in starting. His mom said she could write a book with all of the ways Largo told her that he didn't like going out on the trails. He probably made his biggest statement about trail riding when he ran backwards into a pond. Largo was heading down the trail when he took exception to something, and he began frantically running backwards. In his panic he forgot to check and see if anything was behind him and ended up running backwards into a pond. Needless to say the pond incident did nothing to improve Largo's opinion of being out on the trails.

Largo grazing with Oskar and Johnny


Largo grooming with Clayton


As Largo was letting his mom know that trail riding wasn't something he wanted in his future he also began having some trouble with his teeth. One day his mom noticed his tongue was hanging out to the side with some swelling. An x-ray revealed that Largo had an abscess in a molar. The abscess was resolved with antibiotics but a few months later his tongue was out and a little swollen again. This time an infected incisor was the problem and the dentist pulled the tooth. After a few more incidents with his teeth it was apparent that Largo's teeth were slowly starting to fail him and having a bit in his mouth was not going to be comfortable for him. Between her knee, Largo's dislike of trail riding and his dental issues retirement seemed like the best choice for Largo.

Largo and Rampal playing


Largo playing with Toledo after breakfast; these are the last pictures I took of him before he passed.



Largo's mom was never able to learn much about his life before she met him. She was told that he was ten at the time of purchase and that was the age put on the bill of sale. Since he had a Holsteiner brand she inquired about his papers and was told they would be sent to her. In all too common horse world shenanigans, she never received his papers despite repeated requests. After doing endless research she finally managed to track down his previous owner who told his mom that she had never had his papers either. We are confident that one of the reasons his papers were "lost" is because he was much older than represented at the time of his sale.

Largo on the run with Clayton and Rocky

Largo and Oskar

We met Largo four years ago when he joined us for retirement. Largo had about as easy of a transition as we could ever ask for.  After he had been with us for a couple of weeks and was ready to join a group, he basically walked out and gave all of the horses a high five, ran around for a few minutes, and then he started grazing and that was the end of it. It was that simple.

Largo napping


Largo and Rocky having some serious play time




Largo's mom always made sure he had nothing but the best. Whatever we said Largo needed was exactly what Largo got. Because of his dental issues Largo had to come in and eat hay cube mash every day. We found that he was distressed about being separated from his friends even for a short while every day so Jason made him a pen right next to his pasture. He was able to go in his pen and happily eat his mash without feeling separated from the other horses.

Largo grazing with Kennedy and Donovan

Rubrico, Toledo, Largo and River


His loss last week was very sudden. Despite the fact that we think he was about thirty years old it was also very unexpected. Thanks to his mom's willingness to let us provide all of the extra care that he needed Largo looked amazing right up to his last day. Our vet was always surprised at how good Largo looked when he would look in his mouth and see how many teeth were missing. We can never thank his mom enough for always letting us have the resources we needed to keep Largo round, happy and healthy.

Although we miss Largo, it is comforting to know that he enjoyed every, single day that he had of retirement. As you can see from all of the pictures in this post I never had to work at taking pictures of Largo. He routinely showed us two very different sides of his personality. Sometimes he would act somewhat aloof with both people and horses. The aloofness appeared to be an act as, more often than not, I was taking pictures of him running, playing, grooming and generally constantly interacting with his pasture mates. Since two of his pasture mates, Bergie and Rampal, predeceased him, it is nice to think of them still enjoying their carefree times together.

Rest in peace Largo, we all miss you.

Largo and Rocky

Oskar and Largo

Largo and River

Largo and Clayton

Clayton and Largo

Largo and Tiny were very interested in something

Largo, Stormy and Walon

Largo, first on the left, napping with Stormy, Donovan and Clayton

3 comments:

Kate said...

So glad he could have a good retirement with you. My condolences to you and his family on his loss - he seems to have been a fine fellow.

Lori Skoog said...

One gorgeous boy. So glad he had some time with you.

Melissa-ParadigmFarms said...

This comment is from Julee Clark, I accidentally hit delete instead of publish:

With your heartfelt and beautiful stories and pictures you give us an inside look at what horse retirement should look like! Thank you for loving the horses left in your care.