On September 28, 2008, Mom and I followed Will to pick up the grey horse. We found deep within the orchard, terribly thin and foundered. There was no way to get the horse to the trailer, so I took the trailer to the horse, through a narrow row of trees. Mom and Will waited with him and he grew excited as the trailer approached. Help had arrived. He enthusiastically limped in.
LeRoi spent the first two nights at Loomis Basin, receiving treatment for choke, among other things. Not surprisingly, the doctors recommended euthanasia. Jane St. Croix checked in on the sweet soul and saw that he very much wanted to recover. The clear message was "I can do this." He was not a terribly old horse, so we set up a M*A*S*H type unit for him at home and gave it our all.
On his second day at the ranch, Rachel Chao, our barefoot trimmer, took her time removing those extremely overgrown toes. She took the right toe off with a hacksaw, which was a laborious project, and the blade kept getting stuck in the saddle pad he stood on for comfort. For the left toe, we moved to the efficient reciprocating saw, which worked beautifully. I just pray that no one reading this ever find themselves in a position requiring the use of a sawz-all on a horse hoof.
On the morning of October 3, LeRoi collapsed and died. The effects of such long term neglect were insurmountable. I was crushed. Later that day, insight from Jane revealed that he was confused and didn't understand that he had died. He really wanted to make it.
I couldn't write about LeRoi at the time. It was emotional, exhausting and consuming. There was no way to encapsulate. There were so many intricate details. Then time slips away and other things capture your attention. But today seemed like the appropriate day to deliver the "Reader's Digest Condensed Version" of our journey with LeRoi.
I think of him each time I notice the scratches down the side of Woody's Sequoia. We tried, sweet boy.