|My beloved Peregrine left Destiny and me for the Rainbow Bridge on October 22, 2008.
I'm not sure we'll ever be sure what caused his symptoms, but the vet's best guess, after ruling out EPM, EHV, EEE, WEE, West Nile, botulism, and even temporohyoid osteoarthropathy, is that he had generalized melanoma. Like all owners of grey horses, I checked him obsessively for melanoma lesions and never found even one. But when Per's gutteral pouches were scoped, they were discolored with melanin, and it is the only diagnosis that accounts for his acute symptoms (ataxia, partial paralysis of facial muscles, tongue, and swallowing apparatus) and the other, smaller symptoms that we had been mystified about for some time (weight loss and some changes under saddle, for which we treated him for ulcers).
After a week of hospitalization, during which Per had to be on IV fluids 24/7 and be fed via a naso-gastric tube, the tests for EPM, West Nile, etc. came back negative and there was no longer any hope. He was not in any pain during this time, and I made sure he got out as much as possible. I visited him twice a day, as did a friend of mine, and I know he felt loved and cared for until the end.
|Peregrine came to me in 2004 after his retirement from an undistinguished racing career. I spoke with his racing trainer just after I got him, and she told me that Per might not have been very fast, but he was always the one they sent the "new kids" out to learn how to gallop racehorses on because he was so kind. "He never took off with them, and he was always a good boy," she told me.
And Per always WAS a good boy, every day of his life. I've never met a sweeter horse, and I can honestly say that Peregrine never had a mean thought and never did a mean thing in his life. Sometimes he didn't understand what I wanted, but that was my fault, not his. He always tried to do whatever was asked of him to the best of his ability.
|After Per and I had been together for 1 year, I had his shoes pulled and transitioned him to barefoot. Per was my first transitioned horse, and it was he who inspired me to learn more about barefoot trimming and, eventually, to become a professional trimmer. The changes in his feet over the course of the next 3 years were truly remarkable, and I know that he understood the great gift of his own 4 feet that I gave him, and that he appreciated it.
| Peregrine also loved being on 24/7 turnout, living the natural life with his friends. In addition to his beloved Destiny, he also spent time over the years with Gwen, Rhys (in the pic with him), Sonata, Legacy, and others. He was always low man on the totem pole, but he felt most comfortable that way. As a natural follower, he was happiest when doing just what Destiny told him to do. And she loved him for it.
I'm very glad that Per was able to live a natural life, after the years he spent stalled as a racehorse.
|Between time commitments and financial constraints, I've never shown much. But Per and I showed a little and he did very well.
In 2006, Peregrine and I were fortunate enough to win the Gifted Fund Scholarship, established by well-known dressage rider Carol Lavell (in honor of her horse, Gifted) to provide assistance to adult amateur dressage riders. We spent an amazing week in Louisville, working with former Cadre Noir rider Francois Lemaire du Ruffieu. We were able to return again a few months later. I very much regret not being able to ride with Francois more consistently, because his methods really work for me and he understood Peregrine as no other trainer ever did.
Click here to view the Gifted Fund Report I wrote up for the Dressage Foundation upon our return.
|The last ride I had on Peregrine, just 3 days before he came in unable to control his left hind leg, was one of the best we had had in ages. Although I now know that he was already having problems by that point, he worked hard for me and gave me not only some great lateral work, but also the best trot he had ever given me. After years of struggling with his connection, he seemed to suddenly "get it." I can't even imagine how hard it was for him to do that, not being 100% by any means, but that ride was an amazing gift to me. I can still close my eyes and remember feeling the first really BIG trot we ever had together. That it was also our last I will try to forget.
|Although I always suspected that Peregrine's immune system was not the best, because he was always the one to react to anything there was to react to, in the final analysis, I think he was far tougher than any of us understood. He was strong in ways that it is hard to BE strong -- it's easy to be strong when you're like Destiny, my tough little mare. But when you have the problems we now know Per had, probably for years, it takes real guts to keep on being a happy, loving, and giving horse.
I regret very much that I only had 4 years with my Peregrine, but every minute was a treasured one. He loved me and he loved Destiny, and he knew we loved him too. I think that adds up to a remarkable, special, and valuable life.
| Now cracks a noble heart. Goodnight, sweet prince;
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.
We will love you and miss you forever, Per.
Desi and I will see you at the Bridge.
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