We first met Stormy five years ago. He made his way from Massachusetts to our farm in 2010. However his story began on Martha’s Vineyard, and in fact that is in part how he got his name. Stormy was by the hanoverian stallion Sandsturm out of the thoroughbred mare Viento de Marza. The combination of his prior owner’s location on Martha’s Vineyard, along with his sire and dam’s names, resulted in the name of Sea Storm, otherwise known as Stormy.
Stormy and his mom met on Marth’s Vineyard when Stormy was five. Stormy’s mom had ridden as a child, however college and then law school had put horses on the back burner. However, once she was finished with law school Stormy’s mom was determined to get back into riding. She first started leasing, and then finally was ready to buy a horse of her own to partner with in her dressage training. She originally fell in love with a mare named Compass Rose in Rhode Island. The mare’s owner ended up changing her mind about selling her, and it was back to the drawing board. Someone saw an ad for Stormy, so his mom and her trainer got on a ferry and went to Martha’s Vineyard. His mom even got to drive the ferry for a bit that day.
Stormy made quite a statement when he and his mom were riding in their first dressage clinic together. Apparently Stormy took exception to something and let everyone know of his displeasure. He did this by stopping, backing up, and then firing double barreled towards the clinician.
His mom knew that the time for retirement had come after 15 years together. Stormy was no longer enjoying his work and his mom wasn’t going to push him. She had looked at retirement farms for almost two years, anticipating that the day was going to come. Luckily for us, we were chosen to be Stormy’s retirement home.
We met Stormy five years ago when he walked off the trailer after traveling from Massachusetts. The original plan was that Stormy was to stay on stall board for a few months. However, as with everything else in life, Stormy let us know that it was going to be his way or the highway. After he had been with us a few weeks and started making friends in the pasture, all he would do when he came in a stall was to scream and spin. He both screamed and spun with increasing intensity until he got what he wanted, which was to go back outside. The stall board plans were scrapped after a few weeks and Stormy was happy that he finally got through to us.
Once we acquiesced to Stormy’s wishes to skip the stall boarding, he proceeded to have a wonderful time over the last five years. I told his mom more than once that Stormy was happy as long as he had a horse to obsess over. He didn’t always obsess over the same horse. He would pick one out for a few months and then move on to a new obsession. Then sometimes he would go back to an old obsession, but he always had a horse that he was obsessed with. Over the years he focused his obsessions on Toledo, Clayton, Bergie and Walon. Of all of them he probably spent the most time being obsessed with Clayton.
As all of our retirees do, Stormy spent his days playing, grooming, grazing and napping. He never did anything by himself. Ever. He was an extrovert in the extreme and never ran out of energy for socializing, grooming, playing, or simply hanging out. He was one that we always had to employ the buddy system for if we needed to do things with him not in the pasture. If he saw the farrier one of his buddies came with him. If he had a bath one of his buddies came with him. It was pointless to try and do anything with Stormy alone.
I knew this morning that something was definitely wrong with Stormy when he was off by himself. That just didn’t happen with Stormy. We brought him in and instead of screaming, spinning, and working himself into a lather he laid down and was very, very quiet. The vet was called right away. The exam at the farm was a bit inconclusive as to what the exact problem was. He clearly had some gastric distress but it wasn’t clear what the cause might be. We decided with the vet it would be best to transport Stormy to the clinic.
Unfortunately Stormy began to go downhill at the clinic. Despite being on IV fluids and pain medications his comfort level was decreasing instead of increasing. After a couple of hours an abdominal tap was done to check the state of the fluids. The news from that was as bad as it could get. There was no other decision but to let him go.