Rescue Journal

swinger's song

Carol  ·  Dec. 29, 2007

usually when one of the animals passes, especially one i felt a deep connection with, i do this kind of eulogy thing. just to make them real because i want the world to miss them as much as i miss them too.

i didn't do it right away with swinger, firstly because i was raw from the crises and guilt and then i was mad at the flurry of ammunition gathering that occured.

but i am not mad anymore and i am not raw and i want to talk about swinger alive. and i would ask any of the ammunition gathers to please respect this moment of my putting swinger to rest.

i went back thru the blog tonight and i searched for swingers name and almost every post that came up was with swinger driving me insane. he bit me in the ass, he bit ellie mae on the shoulder, his hoof print was painted on her delicate pink skin and the other farm guys stayed out of his way. yet he and gideon flanked spritely in her own life threatening crises and stood patiently beside her to keep her safe. he was a clod and a klutz, he frequently fell down, he was afraid of the rubber matts i laid to try to keep him on his feet. his arthritis pain was out of control and we got his comfort back, but his meds were going to bankrupt us and they were giving him bleeding ulcers. i called him a doorknob and i called him a freak and he totally traumatized me the last time he was down. i had never been so helpless at witnessing such violence and pain and then he got up and was fine. and i bonded with him that day as i shared his utter terror and a deep love was born for this horse who was in every way possible just a complete and utter disaster. mo and i would smile whenever we looked at or talked about swinger the dork. that horse was just such a freaking disaster that honestly neither one of us knew how he had survived so long.

and then swinger started playing with me at night when i was busy feeding and settling them to bed....bang went his stall door as he once again proved that he could undo his latch. it became a bit of a contest, we put in a lock pin on his door. he couldn't figure it out right away so he reached over and let gideon out instead so we had to put a pin in gideons door.

and then i am not sure how he managed this one but somehow he taught spritely across the way how to open both hers and sparkles doors so we ended up putting locking pins in theirs too.

then he started letting out the entire barn (before i had put in their locks for the night) while i was out getting their hay, he'd sneak up behind me and give me a scare then go trotting back to his stall when i would give him heck.

swinger finally figured out how to pull out the pins and slide open the bolt. so next i started putting the pins in from the bottom and he never did figure that one out.

until the night of his final escape when god must have whispered in my ear cuz before i left that barn on christmas night, i decided to stick in a second upside down locking pin. ( i obviously didn't get the whole message from god, or maybe i was just too tired to hear.) anyway we all know what happened next...but now i want to see it from swinger's perspective.

32 years is a very long life for a horse, especially a very large TB, riddled with severe arthritis and bleeding ulcers. and swinger was very close to the end of his road, his pain and ulcers were an ongoing struggle. horses don't gently pass away in their sleep..they are either killed for profit or convenience or they die in some kind of crises. we knew that he was safe from profit or convenience but the crises part had both mo and i worried.

so swinger had his last hurrah, he not only figured out a difficult puzzle and outsmarted me yet again but he got himself an unexpected late night free snack. his last 24 hours when he felt quite well was spent with mo and me peering and watching and assessing him. he got an extra bedtime visit with me popping in just to see him and a rub and a very fond "you are such a big goof"

while swinger was waiting for the meds to take his life, he lifted his nose up to mine several times...he wuffled my face and he let me kiss him and he heard me say many times that he was such a good boy.

whatever the cause of swingers death, hen scratch or just plain old age...that horse had personality, he had curiosity, he had important stuff that he liked to do and he had one helluva a very long life. some parts of that life were really hard and i also know that one of the best parts was the last year and a half that he lived here being a dork. it was something that he was really good at and it was something that he really liked to do and he knew that was why we loved him so very much.

rest in peace swinger, i do not regret even a single second of anything about you being you.


Chris T

What a great tribute to a magnificent animal. Swinger was loved in spite of himself!


A beautiful tribute, Carol. His personality shines through - a mischievous but beautiful soul, for sure.


it is ok deb, i am fine now, i know what saints gave to swinger, i am ok with that. 


The ammunition gatherers didn't know Swinger, don't understand SAINTS and will never have the kind of relationship with any animal that you have with every animal that makes his/her way through the gates at SAINTS. Even doorknobs who bite are loved in a deep and inexplicable way.

Jealousy is an ugly thing, and when that ugliness is manifested through character assassination, innuendo, lies and pure unadulterated hatred, everyone suffers. To say "it's about the animals, not the egos" is beyond laughable.


Rest in Peace Swinger and watch over Carol cause she loves you. Take care of yourself Carol!

Susan from Chicago

Beautiful tribute to Swinger, I feel like I knew him too - I had forgotten about he and Gideon flanking Spritely - what a character - thanks for sharing him with us. Take care of yourself. Swinger knew he was loved very much.

Hillevi Dodson

Oh, Carol, I am crying. How truely lovely Swinger sounds. I always admire a smart horse - always reminding us that we don't know as much as we think we do. Sounds like Swinger was a true gift from God. Sounds like his last year was a gift to both you and him. God Bless you for everything that you do.