Peaches was a wonderful horse and a loyal friend. I had her only 6 years, but she made a huge impact on my life. When I bought Peaches she wasn’t especially friendly because she had been used mainly as a brood mare and for occasional trail rides. I spend lots of time with my horses, so Peaches was soon getting lots of attention and was learning dressage (at age 14). She was a tall (almost 15 hand) Norwegian Fjord who had a huge body and great big fuzzy feet. She had a big barrel and was so comfortable to ride, I would tell my friends it was like riding on a big, soft couch.
When I had a knee replacement that resulted in a knee that wouldn’t bend well for over a year, Peaches would patiently wait for me to try to climb into the saddle and didn’t seem to mind when my stiff right leg would bump her rump several times as I tried to swing that leg over. Eventually my leg got better and we began going on trail rides again around the farm. Peaches liked getting out of the arena, but would get surprised occasionally when a deer would come bouncing out from behind the trees.
In 2016 Peaches went to OSU when she had a serious neck problem. She couldn’t eat her hay off the ground anymore (and a Fjord who leaves food definitely has a problem) and seemed to be in a lot of pain. X-rays showed that she had holes in some of her neck vertebrae and the bones had shifted and were pushing on her spinal chord. The vets weren’t sure what had caused this strange condition, but I was told she would never be rideable again. Peaches was comfortable on a high dose of bute and we fixed up a raised area for her to eat, so I figured we’d just keep her going as long as she seemed happy. Gradually she seemed to be getting better and I reduced her bute. After a year or so, she was off of bute, could graze again, and was balancing well when I cleaned her feet. I decided to start riding again, and amazingly, she did great. The vet at OSU had said it was possible that her neck bones would eventually fuse together, and that must be what happened. I was so grateful to have my sweet Peaches happy and healthy again.
While Peaches was dealing with her neck problem, I was going through chemo and then radiation and surgery to address a very aggressive type of breast cancer. Somehow we kind of helped each other get through our tough times. I always felt so much better after spending time with my big girl and she loved getting all the extra treats and scratches.
Peaches ended up getting more time off when I needed neck surgery and later surgery on my right elbow, but whether she had a week off or 6 months, she was always ready to go when I was able to ride. She would see me come out to the barn with the saddle, and look like, “Oh, I thought you lost that thing.” I never needed to lunge her before I rode, even when she had the long breaks, and she was always very good as we both got back into riding again. Peaches had a beautiful arched neck, a powerful trot and was a natural at dressage. She was such fun to ride!
Peaches was very unlucky and ended up with a bad fungal lung infection this spring. We thought it was pleural pneumonia and she was treated with many antibiotics, had fluid taken from around her lungs and lots of medical procedures by our local vet. Throughout all of this, Peaches was as sweet as ever. I had to give her doses of medicine several times a day, and she remained cooperative and was still happy to see me every time I came into the barn. A little neighbor girl came to see her before our trip to OSU and Peaches was happy to let the girl braid her thick forelock and gently took treats out of her hand.
At our visit to the vet hospital, I got the bad news that my horse’s lungs were very damaged by a fungal, not a bacterial infection and she would not be able to recover. Even after a long trailer ride and multiple examinations that day, Peaches continued to be so nice to all the veterinarians and stood still calmly so that the veterinary students could see the ultrasound images of her lungs. Peaches seemed to understand when I had to tell her goodbye. She seemed to know that her battle was finally over.
I have had a lot of horses over the years, but Peaches was the kindest and sweetest of all. Her dark eyes were so full of love as was her amazing heart. I miss my Peaches every day and feel very fortunate that I was lucky enough to have had this special horse in my life.
A donation was made in Peaches's memory and the memorial was created on August 26, 2019.