We lost Slick today.

(empty, hollow, intense heaviness)

I say ‘we’ because he had so many friends who adored him.  Slick was best friend to Norma Jean and Dodger and 1700 internet strangers who wished him well on Norma Jean’s FB page when they heard he was sick.

Slick was the best pony friend, ever.

I am grieving.  My heart is so heavy, I can hardly think.  He lived with me for 21 years.  That is a lot of days.

As I sat with him today, knowing it would be his last day, I wondered how all of my other life things had gotten in the way of enjoying him more often.

So, I say to you, go out and hug your pony.  Just do it.


Slick was an adorable, devilish piebald Shetland Pony who was used as a teasing stud at a Thoroughbred farm near where I lived in Oregon.  One day, I learned that they were going to dump him because he was such an escape artist.  Evidently, Slick couldn’t see out of his huge stall so he would let himself out to roam the pristine aisleways.

I had known Slick and thought he was adorable… so when I heard of his proposed fate, I decided that Slick would be my first ‘at home’ horse.  I figured I could geld him and bring him home to live with me.  He was small and I guessed that I could handle a small horse – to learn on.

(I owned several horses when I met Slick, but they were always boarded.  It never occurred to me that I could live with my horses, until I met Slick.)

So, I made the deal.  Slick was gelded and as he recovered, I fenced my field and tricked out the ramshackle barn to house a tiny pony.

Slick came home with me and I adored him.  He was only 3.  He was my world.  I brushed his glorious white mane and tail every night.  I picked his feet daily and hung out with him after work – just to watch him eat.  In turn, he smelled my hair and nuzzled me.  It was perfect.  Just like I had dreamed of a pony since I was a kid – except he was such a pony!  Slick was so full of pony ‘tude!  He could open any gate, demand everything all the time and be cute doing it.

If he was a big horse, he would have been intolerable.

But, he wasn’t.   He was adorable.

Having Slick at home was so great, I grew in confidence to have more horses and then buy larger properties so I could have even more horses… and then breed horses… and so it went.

Basically, it is the success and love I had with and for Slick that spawned my huge herd.


A week ago, I was feeding in the morning and I noticed a spot of bright, red blood in the dirt in the pony pasture.

I checked Norma, Dodger and Slick.  None had any cuts.  Odd…

At that time, I decided to let the trio out to eat green grass so I opened the gate and watched them dash out.  Except once free, Slick immediately posed to urinate.  That was odd…usually he would run and eat.  So, I watched.

Bright, blood red urine came out of him.  Bright, blood red.

He continued to urinate bright blood about every 2 minutes.

I was terrified.

I hooked up the trailer – shaking.

I tried to load him but he sensed how upset I was and he wouldn’t load.  All the while blood was draining out of his penis.  At this point, it was all over his belly and legs.  I was almost insane with worry.

Finally, I got an apple and tricked him, shoved him inside and slammed the door.

We careened to the equine hospital…

…They knew immediately that this was not an ordinary bladder infection.  This was much bigger.

They put Slick in the ICU, gave IV fluids, coagulation meds and ran a battery of tests.  It looked like kidney cancer but they wanted to give antibiotics in case it was a massive infection.  However, the ultrasound didn’t look promising.  His kidney was huge, irregular and full of exterior nodules.  One of them probably ruptured which caused the initial bleed.

Slick stabilized with the fluids and meds.  We waited for a week to see if any of his blood values would normalize or if the antibiotics had any effect.

They didn’t.  Nothing was working.  He had cancer.  The specialist said he was a ‘ticking bomb’. Slick was going to bleed again… and what if I wasn’t there to help him?  He would bleed out in his pasture.  Eventually, he would have many small bleeds and they would not be controllable.  Surgery was not an option due to his age and other health conditions – but more because of the type of cancer.  It wasn’t contained inside his kidney, it was on the outside and into his abdomen.

He wasn’t going to get better.  He would only get worse.  We had fought it… we had given it time.  But, we lost.

So today, Slick had the best meals ever.  They brought in fresh blades of green grass, alfalfa leaves, mashes, and sweet feed.  I brought in his favorite cookies and carrot pieces.  Once again, I sat and ate with him for the umpteenth time in 21 years.  He was soooo happy.  His eyes were bright with all of this wonderful food – he couldn’t believe his good fortune.  Yes, he urinated blood every 10 minutes, but he wasn’t in extreme pain. I groomed him and loved on him.  The techs all fawned over him.  We went for a lovely walk around the gardens. He was a very happy pony.

And that is how I left him.  He was happy, eating and contented from his walk.  Slick had one of the best days of his life.

I, however, cried for the rest of the day.  I’m still crying.

My boy.

My boy.


I’m hoping Mama Tess and Aladdin will greet Slick upon his arrival… Aladdin didn’t like him much, but Tess tolerated Slick.  I’m hoping little life tussles won’t matter and that things are different in Horseheaven.  I hope that Slick is already dancing with the mares.

He was such a great, inventive, spirited guy.  They are lucky to have him in heaven.

ST FRANCY – Watch over him/us and help with his medical bills.

I also hope St. Francy is waiting for him.

St. Francy was my good friend ‘Nancy’ who passed away suddenly a few years ago.  I was in total shock. I wanted to do something to honor her.  So, I made this pendant.  Nancy was an ardent animal lover.  The St. Francy Sterling pendant has a winged heart on the front and the back says, “Watch Over Me”.   I know that Nancy was a very, very good friend of mine and loved all animals dearly.  I think of Nancy as a Personal Saint we can call by name –  for ourselves and our animals.

All St. Francy pendant funds will go to Loomis Basin Equine Hospital for Slick’s wonderful care.

To purchase a St. Francy on a ball chain for $23, click here.

To purchase a St. Francy medal on the lobster clasp for $25, click here.

Thank you.

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31 comments have been posted...

  1. dawndi Post author

    I believe you. One never knows how they visit us… do they ever leave? Thank you for sharing with me.

  2. Kari

    I wish I could give you a hug , and get one myself.. my lil Arabian mare left me on 22616, she was in perfect health except a metabolic disorder that would put her in a state of constant unending founder even with shoes and all the trappings.. Slick and Firefly would have gotten on real good ..she was an escape artist.. if I was working another horse she literally would look out over the ROAD side fence and I could see her and I would drop what I was doing and race for the barn and loser pasture screaming at her don’t you even dare Firefly dang it and she would from a stand still hop over like it was a 2ft fence instead of 8ft with electric cattle wire running the top.. never stopped her.. I was owned by my lil girl.. and I thought I did the rescuing .. no .. she did.. I cant go out to the stalls.. all our horses were elderly except her.. my last one before her went on my bday one year ago may 3… I knew he was about 40 so I expected it and when I found him down I called and sat there with his massive head in my lap sharing our memories and altho I cried and mourned .. Firefly mourned and cried for Blaze right up to the end.. altho I think the tears she had that day were for me.. she knew how much I needed her but I couldn’t bear to see her possibly have that coffin (ironic name for a bone considering what happens when it rotates ) punch the sole , and after viewing xrays… it was going to happen .. when ? I don’t know, yes I wanted to be selfish.. but she was .. and still is my heart…I know your pain so well .. and I cant make it better but I can tell you .. altho they all have a special place in our hearts ,. some are the very heartbeat in our souls.. i walk out now to silence … no happy momma come see me bugles or soft nickers if she could sense my anxiety was in a rough spot.. she was my rock that kept me tethered to the ground , my calm when i was agitated beyond normal bounds.. if i do see her empty stall it rips the very breathe out of my chest … and somedays i still need her and start to go out and sit on the ground crying … when someone i used to know said omg its been aa month .. it was a horse.. not a person ..i stopped and said yes she was a horse , an amazing funny not so nice to everyone zany sneaky..Beautiful , loving and caring and she accepted ME and loved ME.. when no one else had time for a panic attack She was there ,, not you .. and i love her way more than i ever cared about this person and ended that .. Today was painful ..i sat with her blanket ( i miss her special scent so much) and slowly folded and put it in a box. then her halter and new bridle , and i grabbed Blazes and Zoes bridles as well.. and laid them in .. i took one of her pics and her tailhair bracelet i made and laid them in the box.. and lost it… because i know ill never ride again .. or know that kind of love and acceptance.. and my old boy Toby Dog i got him the same day she came blazing in to my life.. 14 years ago.. and he laid down by the box and was smelling her and he got that puppy look and then it seemed he remembered she was gone as well.. and then i really looked at him and my heart stopped .. he wont see his 15th birthday this year.. dec 24, if God is kind he will infuse him with a lil bit more life.. so i wont be alone in this world but i have a feeling.. soon.. i think if it hurts who cares what those who haven’t been touched or owned by a horse or pony say… cry.. but remembver the good and not the reason they are milling around being lazy and getting fat on the abundant grass , waiting for you in the Meadows over Rainbow Bridge.. i believe i have to believe ill see her again.. and i know you will be reunited with your furbabies and the tears of sadness will forever be tears of joy .. tomorrow ill close the box.. maybe in a week or so ill be able to move it outside to the shed. where things are deposited but nothing ever gets brought back out.. i jokingly told my folks 20 years ago it was a graveyard for memories.. and that maybe one day we should clean it out.. i caretake for my frail failing mother… and i was sure she was gonna get up and whoop my arse lol.. maybe that is exactly what its supposed to be.. a Memory cache .. its been a long day .. and I’m sure there are going to be many many more before i get to see my beautifull cuckoo red headed girl.. but every night shes right here .. inmy dreams and i think I’m keeping her waiting.. i cant say ive found peace .. maybe the illusion of it.. either way.. if it works its all good

  3. Kathy Johnson

    Aww, so sorry about Slick. He was lucky to have such a long and loved life with you. Peace and comfort to you as you adjust to life without him.

  4. Kim

    Wishing you peace and comfort knowing that you gave Slick a wonderful life – what a cute little guy who gave you so much inspiration in your horse journey.

  5. Jess

    I’m SO sorry for your loss! Sending hugs your way! Losing our friends is so hard!

  6. Valerie Oakleaf

    Oh, my heart breaks for you again! Praying that you are comforted that Slick is running his little pony heart out in heaven today. Bless you and your stories.

  7. Delrene

    I am so very sorry about Slick. I cried for a long time for him. I don’t do Facebook anymore so have not been checking in on Norma Jean and her friends. Slick was a fun guy and I do know he is dancing and prancing up in horse heaven with his buddies. Please know you and the herd are in my thoughts today. Losing our beloved pets is never, ever easy. What a wonderful last day on Mother Earth you gave him.

  8. Jan

    I am so sorry for you and Slick. I am sending many many hugs to you. I too have just lost my baby girl. Instant colic with no hope. Amazing how she was fine one minute and on the down ward slope the next. I had had Myeshia since she was 8 months old. She passed at 26. There is a huge hole in my heart and even though its been 2 weeks I cry at a moments notice. That empty corral just rips my heart in two. Her stable mate is having some issues too. They haven’t been without each other in 26 years. Hopefully they, Myeshia, Tess, Slick and all the others are running pain free and are watching over us. I can only hope. Much love and hugs to you.

  9. Kimberly

    Dawn, how lucky little slick was to have had you for a friend for life….thoughts and prayers for your broken heart….

  10. Jody Brittain

    I am so very very sorry! My heart brakes with you! I will give Racer and Scarlett, Libby and Buddy and extra hug for you!

  11. Martha Bright

    I am so, so sorry for your loss of Slick. I lost my big silly Andalusian gelding, Camin, 2 weeks ago so my heart is very heavy too. It’s terribly hard. There are no words.

  12. Laurie

    Oh oh Dawn,
    I’m soooo sorry to hear this!
    My condolences to you!
    Slick is beautiful!!!
    Thank you for sharing…..we are all family and mourn with heavy hearts with you!

  13. Christine Stone

    I am so sorry Dawn. I hope you take comfort in the knowledge that Slick was loved very much, and that you did everything humanely possible for him when he became poorly.

    I know how you must be feeling. I know how hard it is to come to terms with such a huge loss but I hope my love and hugs which are winging their way to you from England bring you some comfort. You are in my thoughts and Prayers. Chris xxx

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