Arrived 9th January 2011
Passed 13th March 2017
To what do we owe our equine companions? For us at Calan Horse Sanctuary, we say ‘Everything’. Even, and especially in, old age and after having served the harsh demands placed on them by humans. We as caretakers of equines in their twilight years – many formerly neglected and/or abandoned, have laid to rest our dear friend, 28-year-old, Australian stock horse, Lawson – a deeply soft soul inside who it is believed to have been demanded and driven throughout his life to perform in camp draft before being abandoned to a paddock for two years.
As we had a duty of care to ease his suffering after he was found in a painful bout of colic that could not be reversed by our joint efforts, the vet assessed and advised we help free him from this life and on to the next. Thus, we did and in his eyes, one could tell Lawson was relieved.
Understandably, it was a slow process for Lawson to trust when he arrived at CHS, 6 years, 2 months and 4 days before his passing on March 13, 2017.
The years of these harsh demands took a major toll on old Lawson’s teeth, feet, and general well-being. He was discovered when Alan was assisting a person in the care of another horse and noticed how Lawson kept approaching from the other side of the fence. He had a dreadful sore in the shape of a mini-volcano erupting with flies as if ants from a nest, near his tail. Thankfully, a local horsewoman kindly helped remedy Lawson’s physical situation. He eventually came into our care at CHS and even with love, mulching his hay, trimming hooves and dental work, he struggled.
Whilst here, however, Lawson found refuge in becoming part of the Old Guard and befriended our copper-coat mate, the five-star General and senior equine known as Topaz. Even as old fellas, you could see the bond they had was true and deep, few words spoken yet always shoulder to shoulder, nearly touching when together and perhaps pondering how to best keep the troops in line. Age and their physical condition did not diminish the respect given them by the other horses. They experienced the later years of life on their terms and when trust in a human was earned, you knew you had proven worthy of it.
Old Lawson never got over the death of Topaz in 2015. And, for 9 months, we would watch him stand over Topaz’s grave, motionless and grieving. Some would say perhaps Lawson had known or had enough and was choosing to join his old friend. Horse herd members experience loss and sadness much the same as what has been observed and noted in elephant’s social structures. Whatever the case may be, we know in our hearts and minds that we gave each other much satisfaction. His loss reaffirms our commitment to do all that we can to help animals that are forever at our mercy. For that, we salute and honor you, Lawson, for all that you’ve endured in keeping humanity honest.