Today was a sad day on the farm. We very unexpectedly said goodbye to our resident Stormy. Today was truly a reminder how quickly things can change. In a matter of a few short hours Stormy went from the picture of health and happiness to gone. It was shocking, unexpected and sad.
We first met Stormy five years ago. He made his way from Massachusetts to our farm in 2010. However his story began on Martha's Vineyard, and in fact that is in part how he got his name. Stormy was by the hanoverian stallion Sandsturm out of the thoroughbred mare Viento de Marza. The combination of his prior owner's location on Martha's Vineyard, along with his sire and dam's names, resulted in the name of Sea Storm, otherwise known as Stormy.
Stormy as a foal, snuggling with a cat
Stormy and his mom met on Marth's Vineyard when Stormy was five. Stormy's mom had ridden as a child, however college and then law school had put horses on the back burner. However, once she was finished with law school Stormy's mom was determined to get back into riding. She first started leasing, and then finally was ready to buy a horse of her own to partner with in her dressage training. She originally fell in love with a mare named Compass Rose in Rhode Island. The mare's owner ended up changing her mind about selling her, and it was back to the drawing board. Someone saw an ad for Stormy, so his mom and her trainer got on a ferry and went to Martha's Vineyard. His mom even got to drive the ferry for a bit that day.
Stormy and his mom
That fateful day was 20 years ago, and Stormy and his mom have been a team ever since. They were both green and also new to dressage, so they had a lot of learning to do together. Stormy has always had strong opinions about life and his mom learned quickly that it was going to be Stormy's way or the highway. As she said, submission was never one of his strong points in life. Since his mom said submission is not one of her strong points either they were certainly able to understand each other!
These two pictures are the last two pictures I took of Stormy
Stormy is in the center in the front
Stormy and Toledo napping
Stormy with Clayton behind him
Bergie and Stormy
Over time Stormy and his mom began to come into their own together and progress up the levels. They traveled around New England with friends going to horse shows and having a great time. His mom summarized their showing days by saying some days they were brilliant and others they were the laughingstock. However they always had a great time. At their last show together Stormy pulled out all the stops and scored a personal best of almost 75%.
Stormy and Kennedy
Stormy on the move
Stormy followed by Rampal
His mom knew that the time for retirement had come after 15 years together. Stormy was no longer enjoying his work and his mom wasn't going to push him. She had looked at retirement farms for almost two years, anticipating that the day was going to come. Luckily for us, we were chosen to be Stormy's retirement home.
Stormy grooming with Clayton
more grooming with Clayton
on the run with Clayton
We met Stormy five years ago when he walked off the trailer after traveling from Massachusetts. The original plan was that Stormy was to stay on stall board for a few months. However, as with everything else in life, Stormy let us know that it was going to be his way or the highway. After he had been with us a few weeks and started making friends in the pasture, all he would do when he came in a stall was to scream and spin. He both screamed and spun with increasing intensity until he got what he wanted, which was to go back outside. The stall board plans were scrapped after a few weeks and Stormy was happy that he finally got through to us.
Kennedy and Stormy grooming
Stormy and Rocky
Kennedy and Stormy
Once we acquiesced to Stormy's wishes to skip the stall boarding, he proceeded to have a wonderful time over the last five years. I told his mom more than once that Stormy was happy as long as he had a horse to obsess over. He didn't always obsess over the same horse. He would pick one out for a few months and then move on to a new obsession. Then sometimes he would go back to an old obsession, but he always had a horse that he was obsessed with. Over the years he focused his obsessions on Toledo, Clayton, Bergie and Walon. Of all of them he probably spent the most time being obsessed with Clayton.
Stormy grazing with two of his obsessions, Clayton and Toledo
Stormy and Clayton
Stormy playing with Toledo while Clayton watched
As all of our retirees do, Stormy spent his days playing, grooming, grazing and napping. He never did anything by himself. Ever. He was an extrovert in the extreme and never ran out of energy for socializing, grooming, playing, or simply hanging out. He was one that we always had to employ the buddy system for if we needed to do things with him not in the pasture. If he saw the farrier one of his buddies came with him. If he had a bath one of his buddies came with him. It was pointless to try and do anything with Stormy alone.
Stormy and Walon
Largo, Clayton and Stormy
Stormy and Walon
I knew this morning that something was definitely wrong with Stormy when he was off by himself. That just didn't happen with Stormy. We brought him in and instead of screaming, spinning, and working himself into a lather he laid down and was very, very quiet. The vet was called right away. The exam at the farm was a bit inconclusive as to what the exact problem was. He clearly had some gastric distress but it wasn't clear what the cause might be. We decided with the vet it would be best to transport Stormy to the clinic.
Stormy and Walon
Rubrico and Stormy
Unfortunately Stormy began to go downhill at the clinic. Despite being on IV fluids and pain medications his comfort level was decreasing instead of increasing. After a couple of hours an abdominal tap was done to check the state of the fluids. The news from that was as bad as it could get. There was no other decision but to let him go.
Stormy waiting for breakfast
matching yawns, because being retired is so much work
Stormy and Toledo
Stormy napping with his friends, front right
Stormy was 25 years old and he and his mom had been together for 20 years. Stormy made an impression on everyone he met. From the clinician he fired at with double barrels to the horses he obsessed over, he always made an impression. You always knew that Stormy was there and that he had an opinion on anything and everything. It will feel very strange to start the day tomorrow with out Stormy being pushy and demanding to be fed, or watching him hang on every move made by his current obsession, Clayton. He was predeceased by one of his previous obsessions, Bergie, so I have no doubt that he is already fully occupied again. But that doesn't change the fact that we have a an empty void left behind.
Rest in peace Stormy. May your choice of friends to obsess over be never ending and your opportunities to express your opinions be limitless. We miss you.