August 31, 2015
The end was sudden. He looked a bit "off" on Saturday but was still willing to graze and eat a carrot. Dan found him Sunday morning: he passed away in his beloved stall with his friends, Bueno and Cody, nearby.
We are somewhat comforted by the knowledge that his last 11 years were happier than those before. We don't know how old he was but he had been a horse at a kid's camp before he came to the guest ranch where Dan worked. He was assigned to Dan to be made into a "string horse" to carry people around the desert. Buggs finally joined our little family because he was deemed an unsuitable guest horse after his adventure in the Chiricahua Wilderness.
Buggsy had been taken there with other horses, and guests, and after their ride had been left to graze without any restraint. He wandered off and decided that a life away from people might be preferable to being at a guest ranch. He was lost for days with saddle and a slicker and the barn boss and his assistant (Dan) went out to find him without success. It was hunting season but he survived, perhaps being white might have saved him. Buggsy was finally trapped when he came to a cattle tank to drink.
We decided to buy Buggs and after he came to live with us, Dan would occasionally take him to the guest ranch as his personal wrangler horse. This was a nervous event as far as Buggs was concerned as he was never sure whether he would be coming home to his own stall again. But he relished standing at the horse trailer after a ride telling his old buddies: "I am a private horse now", and he jumped into the trailer to go home with great alacrity.
Buggsy was always the gentleman with good people habits who preferred a ham sandwich to lush, green grass, a taste he no doubt acquired while being around kids. He gave my friend Kath a boost in life when she rode him after having recovered from a terrible car accident. We could depend on him to be a perfect guest horse here, whether he carried a novice teenager or an experienced adult.
We will miss the Bugsinator but feel good that he loved his life with us: loved his "room", loved being able to eat at his own, slow, pace, loved being groomed, loved standing around with his companions and not being asked to go on rides with people he did not consider to be family.