El Rosio's Last Day: November 23, 2016

El Rosio was the Prince of the Pasture.

He was Kelly’s first horse (perhaps not technically, but in the heart-sense, definitely). She arranged to acquire him for Steve Edwards and Mill Swamp Indian Horses (where she worked at the time) after Joty Baca passed away and his herd of hand-selected and carefully bred Colonial Spanish Mustangs needed homes. El Rosio was Joty Baca’s last (and some say favorite) stallion.

She drove up to the mountains of Virginia with Nelson Edwards, because that was as close as the cross-country horse transport truck would get to us. It was love at first sight. She spent hours acclimating him and just being with him, and he took to her in a special way. Later she acquired Motita, a beautiful Baca that had been one of El Rosio’s mares at Baca Chica Farms and who had foaled several of his offspring. Together, El Rosio and Motita, were quite a devoted pair.

When Kelly moved her horses to Timberline Ranch, Steve Edwards gifted El Rosio to her. El Rosio now had a pasture of his own to share with Motita and other Baca mares, plenty of hay and grass and feed and loving attention. He was a happy horse. 

He began losing weight this summer and the diagnosis was cancer. There was nothing that could be done. We fed him extra food and gave him extra attention, but there comes a point where weight loss turns into organ failure and the inability to stay warm. Suffering was not something either of us was willing to allow, no matter how much we wanted to keep El Rosio around. 

El Rosio left us this morning, and there is an empty place in our heart. Kelly and I spent the night with him last night and woke early to feed him one last time. He spent time in the nursery pasture with his beloved Motita and Motita’s daughter, Cara Blanca, his two favorite mares. He was not in pain, but spent long moments staring off into the woods, at something we could not see. We’d like to imagine that it was Joty Baca calling him home. Our dear friends, Pam and Dan Yohn and Barbara Beach, were with us and helped everything go smoothly and gently, with love. When the vet came, it was quick and painless and El Rosio seemed truly ready. There was no struggle and no fear.

Motita is still with us and El Rosio left behind one last colt, our little Red Star. The pasture is quiet tonight. Good night sweet Prince.