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June 24th, 2011
By Dan Miller
Teka, my small (about fourteen hands high) Paso Fino – Quarter Horse mix who died on June 23rd due to a snake bite, was my favorite horse; I have never known one better. We knew each other well and I loved him. Here is a photo of Teka taken soon after I bought him. He eventually became grayer to the point that he looked a bit like Robert E. Lee’s horse, Traveler, except that his mane was naturally hogged, probably because he habitually stuck his neck through the fence to get the grass on the other side, always greener and better tasting.
I bought him about five years ago as a five year old and trained him as well as I knew how. Before I bought him, he had been ridden little, in a severe bit, and was skittish. He then seemed to resent being ridden. As we worked together, we got to know and understand each other well. As we progressed, it seemed as though he could read my mind and I his. Only the most subtle leg pressure, weight shifts and rein signals against his neck became needed to ask him to do what I wanted and after we had worked on his training he always obliged. I used only a simple bosal, no bit in his mouth and no leverage to amplify my requests. Teka’s favorite treat was a banana. Whenever he saw me, he pawed the ground in anticipation. He seemed a bit jealous if I rode one of the other horses first.
Teka was young, only about ten. Somehow, I’m reminded of this song by Jimmy Buffett.
Teka had a good but short life for a horse and for him to deteriorate in old age would not have been good, for either of us. At least we were together about an hour before the end and I think he knew that it was near. He seemed to appreciate that I was with him, even though I had to give him an intramuscular injection. As always, he did not flinch when I gave it to him. I shall treasure his memory always.
(This article was also posted at Dan Miller’s Blog.)
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