Grace Carey was one of my favorite clients. But I always worried, watching her walk slowly into the horse pen. She was a tall woman, well into her 70s, and lived alone, although her family members were regular visitors. She eased up to Spanky and dropped the halter over his head with a horseman’s practiced ease, but her stiff ingers struggled with the buckle. Spanky was a small Welsh Pony, but in his mind, he
was a large, tough horse. He was turned out for a few hours every day with several Thoroughbreds, and it was comical to see little Spanky among the large mob.
I’d vetted the gang regularly over the years, and Spanky was usually in the
thick of whatever equine excitement might be taking place, always emerging
unharmed from the action. Grace would chuckle, watching him, and call him
Little Big Man.
Despite the field antics, Spanky was a perfect gentleman when haltered, and
very careful of his elderly mistress. He stood perfectly for his shots and practically
held his mouth open for me when
I checked his teeth. I marveled, as I
always did, at Spanky’s lean, muscled
body. So many ponies were over-
weight, but not Spanky. Grace would
never allow it.
A Gap in Time
Time passed, and one summer I
realized that I had not heard from
Grace to come and vet the horses. I
called her number but there was no
answer, so I left a message that was
not returned. Then in late September
the phone rang.
“Yes, is this the vet? I’m taking care
One pony’s fortunes rise and fall.
BY COURTNEY S. DIEHL, DVM