In Memory Of Buck
Buck served as a schooling horse at the Windy Ridge Ranch from 1980 until July 21, 2005. He was euthanized after a 2-month retirement with steadily weakening hind quarters. Until that time, Buck worked well as a jumper, drill team mount, trail horse, English and Western show horse, game horse, and schooling horse for all levels. For the last few years, Buck provided lessons to junior beginners.
I often told his riders that I thought of Buck as a good example of the type of horse I considered a "blank slate." He would just do his job without seeming to dream up alternative plans. While that may sound like an uninteresting personality, it does work well for a schooling horse. Buck was trustworthy. He had no vices and few foibles. And I loved him.
One story I like to tell about Buck was when we were galloping full speed along a trail in St. Croix State Park, leading a small group of horses and riders on an exciting ride. Too exciting, it turned out. Buck saw a puddle in the middle of the trail that he considered unsafe, and to save our lives, Buck veered suddenly off the trail and into the swamp next to the trail. The sphagnum moss looked solid, but when Buck entered it, he sank immediately to just below his ears and floundered about badly, trying to gain some foothold in the muck and weeds. I was off him in a flash and pulled myself out of the swamp, looking for something to tie around his neck to help pull him out. Just as I took off someone else's reins to use as a rope, Buck found some footing and leapt out of the muck. We continued on with the ride, a little wetter, and I a little wiser for the lesson Buck taught me. Don't gallop on narrow trails through swamps.
For the last year, Buck has been Filly's constant companion. They have been eating together, standing under the shelter together, walking around the pasture together, and in general always caring about each other. It will take some adjusting for Filly and I feel sorry for her. I know how she feels. We will all miss Buck. He had many fans.