Jack’s life was charmed. He was a good racehorse, then an excellent show horse – trained and loved by responsible horsemen. He repaid everyone with performance and affection. In 2008, he lost his left eye, thus losing his place in the show community. Official rules in the hunter ring labeled him as unsound.
So Jack came to Square Peg. I hope you will believe us when we say that he marched fearlessly down trails and he jumped everything. He taught beginners and advanced riders with alacrity. He approached everyone with openness and friendliness. He was one of the happiest souls we have ever known. He never hesitated, and he never made excuses. In doing so, he touched lives – the lives of kids who lived with disability, loneliness and hardship everyday.
Jack’s attitude toward what others might see as a glaring disability — a literal hole in his head where his eye should have been — had something to teach everyone at the ranch.
We lost Jack in late September most likely to heart attack. That sad morning, he was just gone, no sign of struggle or distress. He’d laid down and left us. In his life, he served everyone he knew with courage and cheer. We miss him so much. But we remind ourselves to be grateful for the gifts he gave and the lessons he taught us all. Jack modeled how our attitude toward life’s challenges makes all the difference.
Two weeks later, the call from the racetrack came in. “Can you take this four year old gelding? He needs a home and the owners are getting restless.” We called all our contacts, we thought for sure he would be easy to place. He was physically and mentally sound, a great size, excellent bloodlines and conformation. Certainly someone would want this handsome young horse? But times are still hard and a home was not to be found. And a home is just what he needed.
Winter is the wrong time to bring a healthy horse right from the track when feed is high and daylight for training is short. None of the staff had the time or the bandwidth to take on another project. But he came anyway. He’s now in the stall where Jack used to be.
Nobody will ever replace Jack of course. But that doesn’t mean that our hearts didn’t break wide open for this kind and sweet gelding. He’s fallen in love with Bob, the world’s best pony and we’ve fallen for him.
It is in Jack’s honor that we take on Confer, aka: “Slim Shady.”
Thank you Jack, for all the wonderful gifts that you have given us.
It’s that time of year again, time for us to ask for your support. Your donation helps us save the lives of these horses and in return, they give joy to the kids who know the courage it takes to be a Square Peg.