Around the Bluhmin’ Town

Baxter is gone

By Judy Bluhm

He was just a horse. I realize that there are more important losses, like the death of a child, parent or spouse. Still, heartbreaking grief is the result of love. And I loved him.

Baxter was about 31-years-old. A giant of a horse, he was well- mannered and would do just about anything you asked him to do. Unless what are you were asking him to do interfered with his plans to do something else (like grazing on pasture).

He was kind and had a sweet disposition. In other words, Baxter was the best horse ever!

Baxter loved children and was the perfect “kid horse.” He has carried four grandsons, three nieces and numerous neighbor children of all ages on his back. He liked little girls best of all (especially if they put ribbons in his mane) and did not mind if two (possibly three small ones) were riding at the same time. No saddle required.

Adults could ride him too. He was the beloved “family horse,” and any adult non-rider could safely get on him in the arena. He has had more photos taken with people riding him than Roy Roger’s horse Trigger! Daughters, nieces, son-in-laws, neighbors, cousins and friends sat happily on his back as he would trot them around in circles.

Baxter also liked to be ridden on the trail. He never walked too fast, unless a mountain lion was stalking him (in his mind) and at times he wouldn’t move at all.

One time I rode him off the property and he didn’t want to go, so he started walking backwards down the road (maybe he thought I wouldn’t notice). He was undertrained and over-indulged. This goofy horse was filled with mischief, yet always a safe and gentle ride.

Baxter had many talents. He could take a huge swig of water and hold it in his mouth for a very long time. Then, without warning, he would spit the water out like a stream coming from a water pistol! He did this to a few neighbors and liked to walk up to folks and squirt them in the face. (Not very neighborly).

He would often stick his tongue out and had a habit of nipping (mostly other horses). And he loved to roll in the mud after a good rain.

Baxter fell in love with a little filly named Sedona and for nine years he was smitten. When Sedona died suddenly, Baxter was inconsolable. He paced the barn, refused to eat and his forelock turned pure white. He got an ulcer. But a small pony named Buttercup, brought him back to life and they were together for years.

Baxter experienced the joy of love and the agony of loss. He showed patience to adults and affection to children, all the time displaying the personality of Dennis the Menace or Mr. Ed.

He is gone now. Baxter took that last trail on the pain-free, glorious path leading to the gates of heaven where he will get his wings. I will be riding him in my dreams. No saddle required.

 Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local realtor. Have a comment or a story? Email Judy at judy@judybluhm.com.