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Go Back   Talk Budgies Forums > Budgie Talk > In Memory


In Memory Tributes and Memorials to Budgies which have moved on to the Rainbow Bridge

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Old 02-03-2016, 07:11 PM
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Default In Memory of Wezzie, the Super Horse

My sister, Anne, trained her Fjord horse, Wezzy, in Dressage, an equestrian discipline that is usually accomplished by completely other horse types. Fjord horses are generally placid, chunky, hardy creatures, whereas the typical dressage horse is a lanky, high strung, thoroughbred type.

Anne and Wezzy absolutely excelled in dressage, and in the course of several years, during many small local horse shows, they accumulated enough points here and there to win the Gold Medal in dressage. The day she went over the top of her point count, she was riding in one of those small shows, and the moment of her consummate win went quietly by, with hardly anyone present realizing the significance of that Momentous occasion.
SO - I decided to Personally commemorate her achievement with virtually all the pomp and circumstance befitting a Gold Medal ceremony; I pictured myself in the audience, among many pictures of Anne from many ages and stages of her life; all the moments that led up to her shining Gold Medal!



A few weeks ago I posted a story about Wezzy, written by my sister, Anne, entitled "Wez and the Magic Blanket". Anne was upset with me for sharing it without her permission, but since then, Wezzy has left this world, Anne relented, (with some reservations), and I have created this tribute to him:



I am sharing Anne's story here (again), as a background for the video - I just ask that no one here shares it elsewhere...(I apologize to those who have already read the story, but it actually holds up very well to a second reading)

Wez and the Magic Blanket

Many people reading this may have heard of Wez but some may not have. He is a fjord gelding of humble beginnings , born on a ranch in Alberta, Canada, who gained international notoriety for his accomplishments in the sport of Dressage. He was written up in articles, and graced the cover of magazines and calendars world wide.
To me he was a food driven, hard working, good natured fellow, who distinguished himself by his huge personality, and by pouring his heart and soul into any task at hand. Once described as “Old Shep” by a horse show judge, Wez went on to reach the Grand Prix level in dressage, and ultimately earn the coveted USDF Gold Medal; the only fjord horse ever to do this.

He was (is) my once in a lifetime horse, whom I eventually retired from the show ring at the age of 24 because of a stifle lameness injury. Like everything else in life, Wez embraced his disability with grace and determination, learning to limp quite effectively and efficiently; whatever it took to get what he wanted! He has a spirit to match none.

One afternoon a year ago I came into the barn, and to my horror, found Wez down in the stall. Soaked with sweat, sides heaving, eyes wide and nostrils flared, he was in a panic and couldn’t get up. How long had he been down? I was alone… what could I do? I had arranged to meet two people at the barn who wanted to “learn about horses” and they arrived and watched helplessly as I pulled and pleaded and frantically tried to help him. I gave it everything I had, but the harder I tried, the less he did. Finally his eyes rolled back in his head, and he lay back and gave up. I tried to be brave, but my heart was breaking as I faced the most devastating decision of my life. I had to make the call I had long rehearsed but desperately dreaded for years.

The first call I made was to my partner, Bill. When he answered, I could only squeak out “Wez”, and the sob on the other end told me he understood. I hung up. The vet call was more difficult because I actually had to speak… the vet said he was on his way.
The visitors asked if they should leave, and I said probably. I didn’t think I could share this moment with strangers.
I sat down with Wez, and held his head in my lap. What could I say to my old friend? My soul mate? There were no words. As I waited for the vet, I decided to indulge my old food hound with any treat he wanted. His eyes were closed now so I knew it was more a gesture for me than for him but WTH. I got up and got a big carrot, and on my way back to the stall snapped it in half like I always did. That’s when things changed….. Wez’s eyes popped open and his head jerked up.
“Carrot? Carrot? Did I hear a carrot?”
OMG!!!!

The vet had just pulled up and, braced for a grim scene, he was instead met by a giddy, tear streaked lunatic dancing around the stall, with an old horse keenly watching for that promised carrot.
I told the vet he was not ready to go, and that we just needed to find a way to get him up. Never one to turn down a good challenge, my vet quickly changed gears, and set about attacking Plan B. Turns out that the visitors had not left yet, so we quickly recruited their help.
Drawing from a lifetime of experience lifting and moving large animals, my vet put us all to work with ropes, hay bales and pry bars, and after much swearing, pleading grunting and sweating, all of a sudden Wez heaved himself up, and VOILA!!
“Hi, How you all doing? What’s going on? Did I hear something about a carrot? Helloooo!!??”
He was fine… just stuck….
We were in all in shock. My vet left with prophetic words. “You know, with these old horses… this will happen more and more frequently…”

And it did.

A few months, then a few weeks, then more often. I created a long phone list of people to call (luckily he has a lot of local fans!) as it took at least three people but later, more, to get him up. We resorted to all kinds of techniques, some more radical than others, but as time went on, each became less effective, and eventually failed. My vet sometimes even came out to help on his days off , and one day he remembered he had an old horses sling in his clinic, and suggested we should try it with our tractor.
Question…. How do you get a sling under a 1000 lb horse on the ground? When Wez would struggle to get up, he would often end up in a dog sitting position. I took that moment to slip the sling under him. Then, in true Wezzy fashion, he soon learned to “sit up” on command, and wait until I had him all buckled in. We rigged up ropes and pullies and cables, and using Bill’s Bobcat in the barn aisle, soon had a workable, albeit quite complicated, system.

We installed a video camera in his stall, and watching that and monitoring his pasture, we were on call 24/7 should he need help. I was under the false impression that laying down too long was harmful for horses and so we would rush out at all hours when he was down. My vet soon dispelled that myth, and we started leaving him down long enough so that he could actually get some rest!
The sling worked great for Bill and me, but the critical details made it difficult to pass on the technique to other people. One day Bill casually said wouldn’t it be great if there was a horse blanket that had a sling built in that could be worn 24/7. I got right on the internet. How about those carts they use to mobilize disabled dogs? I found one designed for a cow, and called the woman. We decided it would not work for a horse and she gently suggested we “Do the loving thing…”

NO!!!

Then I found the Hast Large Animal Rescue site and Dr. Kathleen Anne Becker, DVM. She designs slings for all manner of large animal rescue; Rhinos, elephants, horses, humans; by helicopter, water… she does it all. A short paragraph on her web page mentioned a horse blanket sling she had in mind but had not made yet, and to please call if interested. I did… immediately. She was wonderful, and said she would love to help, but was swamped with other projects, and couldn’t get to it. I asked if she might consider lending me her blueprints, and assured her it would only be for our personal use, and not commercial gain. She generously agreed.
With Kathleen’s help, I ordered materials, made some minor design changes, and found an old Rambo blanket as a base. I then found a friend with great sewing skills and a commercial sewing machine. Bill fabricated the lifting bar, and after juggling work and family, and employing amazing ingenuity and patience, my friend finally finished the blanket. (two machines later…)

It was six months since the original incident and now , with his new blanket in place, we were ironically excited for him to go down!! When he finally did, we rushed in and hooked him up, but no sooner put tension on the cable then he hopped up by himself. Weird coincidence. We tried again the next time, but the same thing happened… over and over… Was this a magic blanket?
One day in early spring it was quite hot out, and Wez was sweating heavily out in the field. We decided to take the blanket off for a couple of hours to let him cool down. Bil suggested we hang the blanket on the fence so he could be “near the magic”! When we came back he was down, and couldn’t get up. He tried…. We tried… no luck. Then I asked him to “sit up” and put the blanket back on. No sooner had I buckled the last buckle, than he hopped up! Magic Blanket indeed!!

A year has gone by, and Wez continues to get up by himself most of the time. He will wait until the morning feeder arrives, and when he hears their car or the barn lights come on, he will hop up. He has a good side and a bad side, and when down on his bad side he always needs help.

We installed an overhead hoist which can be operated by one person pushing one button. Finally Bill and I are free to come and go!

Wezzy turns 33 this year. He now sports two blanket slings, one for summer and one for winter. I toy with the idea of making more or changing the design, but hesitate when I think of his age. Then I see him squeal and bolt across his field, or dash into someone else’s stall to steal their food, and I realize that his future holds just as much mystery as anyone else’s around here. Why not make those blankets?

Wez is not immortal, but his spirit is strong and I am grateful for every day I have to spend with him. He has taught me so much over the years, and I am beginning to think that one of those things is the power of magic. For everything and especially that I am eternally thankful!


So now - very sad to report that Wezzie broke his leg several weeks later, in his last fall, and Anne had to say goodbye to her good old friend.

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Old 02-03-2016, 10:11 PM
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I do remember that story well, Ollie!

Wezzy was a beautiful boy who clearly was well loved and cherished. Anne must be very sad to loose her old friend, but she will surely see him again, someday. For now I wish her the best and happiest memories of her dearest Wez. His long life is a testament to her love and care all those years.

Rest in peace, Wezzy, you will be truly missed.
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Old 02-03-2016, 10:43 PM
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Ollie, this was a beautiful tribute to Wez. Please give Anne our best, and our condolences.

Ride free and wide, Wezzy! you will be forever loved, missed and treasured.
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Old 02-03-2016, 10:54 PM
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Beautiful tribute to Wez sister Ollie. While your sister will spend the rest of her life missing Wez, she certainly will have many wonderful memories, and I'm sure will treasure your tribute too...
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Old 02-03-2016, 11:28 PM
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Ollie you know how I felt about your original post. I am so sorry to hear of Wezzy's passing. From Anne's story I felt like I knew this beautiful gentle creature. As you know I lost my beautiful boy when he was over 40 and I do know what Anne, and you are going through after Wez's loss. Please give Anne my thoughts and prayers for her beautiful boy.
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Old 02-04-2016, 03:46 AM
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I never saw your first post on Wezzy. I am so very sorry for the loss of Wezzy....Please tell Anne we are thinking about her, and also give her my condolences....
Wezzy is a very beautiful horse and is now up in Gods heaven.. Anne will treasure his loving memories. And that is also a lovely tribute you made for her... I am sure she will love it.....


*************


Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

Author unknown...
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Last edited by LynandIndigo; 02-04-2016 at 06:40 AM.
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Old 02-04-2016, 04:05 AM
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OH Ollie I was smiling and laughing and had tears running down my face at the same time. What an amazing spirit and bond they shared. I owned my own horses and do know the bond and the dedication and commitment to get to that level is amazing.
Wez is now galloping and squealing to his content I am sure. Blessings and love to you and Anne. Fond memories of her one in a million boy.
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Old 02-04-2016, 07:50 AM
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I am truly sorry to hear this very sad news. You and your sister have my deepest sympathies for this irreparable loss.
From your post, it's clear the deep connection your sister had with Wez, the souls combined into one when competing.
Thank you for posting this beautiful tribute to Wez, a much beloved champion horse that defied all odds.

Rest in peace, Wez. You will always be loved and missed.
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Old 02-18-2016, 09:35 AM
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What a fantastic horse, not only for his dressage career (although reading about his exploits later I can see why/how he was so good at dressage - such determination).
What spirit, what a wonderful soul mate your sister had and how great that darling Wez lived so much longer and had so many friends to help him. Heart warming.
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Old 02-18-2016, 09:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biggles View Post
What a fantastic horse, not only for his dressage career (although reading about his exploits later I can see why/how he was so good at dressage - such determination).
What spirit, what a wonderful soul mate your sister had and how great that darling Wez lived so much longer and had so many friends to help him. Heart warming.
Thank you so much, Sue!
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