Twenty nine years ago, Precious Feathers was born on Lew and Jeanee Conner’s ranch. Part of a long line of prized Quarter Horses revered for their versatility and solid minds. She was raised in the Sacramento Valley and trained as a performance/working cow horse. She went on to raise several babies and was known as a wonderful mother whose babies excelled in the show ring and as working and trail horses. She taught several of the Conner’s grandchildren to ride.
September 11, 2006, Precious Feathers arrived at Square Peg Ranch with her best friend, Sugar. Together they were the stars of the barn and the best horses for beginners. Their patience and excellent training introduced hundreds of new riders to the wonders of horsemanship.
Feathers was quirky, she could never be tied and was always extremely girthy. She had opinions and she shared them freely. All of the male horses at the ranch fell in love with her even after her advanced age began to show. She loved soft brushes and hated baths. She could be gentle as a lamb with a beginner and yet she was the horse you wanted to be on when you needed to put the neighbors cows back in their pen.
She taught students until this past weekend and then developed a deep cough and a fever earlier this week. She spent the last couple days of her life eating grass and visitng her favorite horses. This afternoon she struggled to breathe and we surmised that she had a tremendous amount of fluid in her lungs. When she started to stagger as she tried to walk, we knew that it was time. Dr. Ashton Cloninger canceled dinner plans and was at the ranch just as the sun was going down over the hills. She ate a bag of carrots and a bucket of grain while we stroked and petted her and told her that she would soon be galloping in green fields with her very best friend Sugar.
She was an exception to many of the Square Peg horses. She had only two homes in her long life and in each home, she was loved, understood and cared for. She had never had a major injury nor had she been homeless or gone hungry. We should celebrate a long and good life of a wonderful, kind and gentle little red mare.
I wrote a blog post when we lost Sugar in 2007. Maybe it bears revisiting here.