By Jane Van Berkum on December 4th, 2012
The true heart and soul of our Colorado dude ranch lies with the horses. Without horses, a dude ranch is just another place to stay, albeit a pretty one, and although we do have awesome fishing, a fish doesn’t seem to inspire the same love that a horse does, although some of our staunch fly-fishermen might disagree! We are very lucky to have many wonderful horses, each with their own story, but there is one in particular that we’d like to share.
Many of you know Mikey. He is a great big sorrel with a notched blaze, a very large head and a huge heart. He has been with us for about fourteen years and he is truly one of our most special horses. He started out as an adult horse who was great on trails but didn’t like the arena. He’d get wound up before loping but he was always a horse that people asked for time and again. He’s carried everyone from hotshots to grandpas to teens and now his favorite, the Cowpokes, who are the six to eleven year old group here at the ranch. He’s mellowed over the years and has no problems in the arena now, gamely carrying his Cowpokes through the barrel and pole patterns, usually at a lope.
But over the last few years, we’ve watched Mikey’s right eye get more and more swollen and painful and his visibility decrease daily. We have a super Vet who looked at him several times and advised us give him some time, but this spring we decided that we needed to do something about it in the fall. David took him in three weeks ago and he spent two nights at the Alpine Vet Clinic, the same clinic where MudFlap had her hind leg amputated. He now has stitches and not much else that side of his head but he is adjusting to life with a blind side. He is up here at the house where we can take care of him, living with two groovy fillies, Prima and Blossom. Come spring, we’ll ease him back onto the trails gently, but we really believe that he will adapt just fine to his new condition. And most importantly, we know absolutely that life is much more comfortable for him now.
Emma, a Cowpoke who visited the ranch this summer, had a particularly strong bond with Mikey and she’d come down in the early mornings to brush him and get him ready for the day. Her Dad kindly shared these photos of them together. You can see how his eye used to look in the first picture at top. Keep scrolling down to see Mikey as he is now.
Mikey, we love you. You are truly one of the greats among greats…
David and Jane.
PS–If any of you have Mikey pics or stories you’d like to share with us, please do so on the ranch Facebook page. We’d love that!