Thursday, September 27, 2012

In Memory of My Friend Flicka

Yesterday was a sad day at the Rainbow Ranch

July 4, 1986 ~ September 26, 2012

I remember the day I got her. The BLM was holding an Adopt-a-Horse weekend at the Ventura County Fairgrounds. They had 125 horses and burros, most of them were foals like Flicka. I was the first one there when they opened the gate.

It was January 9, 1986. I looked at foals for 3 hours. Finally I had a list of about ten, I looked at those ten for another hour. At last I picked #4544, as she had the most beautiful eyes. I went and filled out the paperwork, and paid my $125.

Flicka was mine.

On Sunday Jan11th we loaded her up and took her to a little stable in Oak View California, where she lived for the next twelve years.(she was so little (& the BLM didn't want us to tie her head) that she was able to jump up in the manger of the trailer & look out the back. She rode that way to Oak View!)

This is what she looked like the day I got her to her new home (Well actually the day after ~ I was so excited I forgot my camera!) I was still trying to decide on her name, among the possibilities were Jackpot, Keno, and Flicka. I'd won the money I used to pay for her in a Keno game in Henderson, NV., so now you know where those other two names came from!(biggest jackpot I've ever won!) But as you can see, she was definitely a "Little Girl", the horse next to her was only a month older than she was, so "Flicka" it was! She was only 15 hands when she stood on tippytoe full grown (That's 5' at the shoulder for those who don't read horse!...snicker...)

This was Flicka  four months later when she had moved into her "Princess" Box stall.(you might notice, she always wore the Royal Purple!...snicker...) It had been so wet that winter that her original stall had never been dry. So she had a box stall that was almost as big as her original stall with nice dry shavings that they closed up at night and when it rained, with a big run outside for nice weather.

Those white markings on her neck? That her BLM brand signifying she's an American Mustang! Because she was born in 1986 the first two "numbers" looked like it said "US" (The BLM uses what's called "Alpha Angle Code" instead of "real numbers")

You can't see it in the pictures, but while she had no white on her face except a tiny nab on her nose, she did have two swirls in the middle of her face. Those of you with horses may have heard that means you have an ornery, smart critter on your hands! You heard right!...snicker...Flicka was the Alpha mare, and would never take directions from anyone but me!

One of Flicka's favorite things to do was race Fancy, the stable's dog every afternoon when it was her turn in the arena. They did that almost every day for 4 years until Fancy died at the ripe old age(for a Rottweiler) of 10

This is how she looked as a yearling in August of 1987

She was always the Queen of everything she surveyed, and that shine to her coat was natural, even last Spring, she was as shiny as when she was young.

One summer I decided she would enjoy being out in a two acre pasture with other horses rather than being in her box stall. Well, the other ten horses all had to wait while she ate. She put on 50 lbs in less than a month!

She was pretty picky  in her treats too! She loved to eat the wild Anise in the spring, but didn't touch it once it was dried. Only green apples, and Dr Pepper, never a Coke! Her cookies had better have molasses in them, or the other horses could have them!

This was Maggie. Maggie thought she was a ranch dog, and came with us on a couple rides, but...have you ever seen PigPen from the Peanuts cartoon?...snicker...Yup, there was a cloud of dust around her the whole ride! Cockers really aren't meant to be trail dogs! (and, yeah, that's a scan of a Polaroid!)

The one and only picture of Flicka and me together! Turns out I couldn't take pictures of her if I was on her back!

These were taken at the Rainbow Ranch where Flicka lived the last 14 years of her life. This was right after she came home from two weeks at the equine hospital when she flipped an intestine, and had to have surgery. She lived another eight years after that. (Yeah, she's laughing at me in that middle one!)

She was a wonderful friend and was happy and just about always healthy all her life(except for that flipped intestine!). The last six months she was starting to slow down and act her age, but she was never in any pain, and enjoyed her days standing in the shade of her tree rather than running around like she did as a youngster, but I guess that's to be expected when you are a horse older than a quarter of a century.

The morning she died she called out to me as I was coming out to feed them their breakfast, and again two hours later when I checked on them. At about 2 o'clock she had a stroke, and when I got to her, she was down and couldn't get up. She still looked at me with those big beautiful eyes of hers, and was as calm as a horse can be that is down, because she knew, as always, I was there for her, as she was for me.

When I called her vet, he drove 20 miles in 15 minutes, and we helped her complete her journey to the Rainbow Bridge. She was buried at sundown in her pasture.

Rest in Peace My Friend Flicka, 
your time on earth may be over, but you will live forever in my heart.


  1. Dear Ruthie, We're so sorry your beautiful Flicka had to leave you, but it sounds like it you provided her a beautiful life and were there for her in every way.

    We should all be as lucky to be so loved and cared for.

    Wishing you love and peace, and a quick transition from mourning to remembering all the wonderful times you had and the beauty of your having shared her life.

    Love, Kristin

  2. My sweet friend, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. What a magnificent horse Flicka was, and I know she must have loved you very much. Sending you purrs and cuddles my friend.

  3. Very sorry to be readin bout Flicka but it do sound like she had the pawfect life and was a good companion for you. Run free my pal...

  4. I'm sorry to hear this sad news. This story of her life with you was very touching. She was lucky to have you as her owner and you were so loved by her in return. Huge hugzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

  5. Ruthie - that was a beautiful tribute to such a beautiful girl. I'm leaky eyed over the special bond the two of you had. I can just hear her laughing at you too, and I know horses laugh. Run free on the range Flicka - there are no more fences holding you in girl!

  6. So sorry for you loss. Seems you two were meant to be together in life. Both blessed, that's for sure. May her heart run free and her spirit soar... Hugs to you and your family.

  7. Flicka wuz a bootiful horsey. U wuz luck to hab each utter. I so beary sawry fur ur loss. *HUGS*

  8. What a wonderful tribute to such a wonderful horse. Love all the pictures. Nothing better than a bond between a person and a horse. I had that a couple of times.

  9. Thanks all, your hugs mean so much! ;o)

    Speaking of fences, there wasn't a one that could have held her. She stayed because she wanted to. Her fence could have been a string, barb wire, or a maximum security prison, if she wanted out, there was no stopping her, especially if she wanted into the hay, or the grass next door...snicker...I didn't call her Houdini for nothing!

    Many was the time I'd be standing alongside her when she'd decide to jump for the joy of it. I'd be left looking at horse hooves! Then she'd come back down to earth & laugh. Little horse could jump over 6' in the air while standing still!! And she always knew exactly where each hoof was going to land too.

    Thanks again all for reading my tribute to her & all the hugs!

  10. Very sorry for your loss:( was a very sweet tribute to Flicka :) Sounds like you gave her a wonderful life and she knew she was loved. Hope the tears turn to smiles very soon for ya. Hugs for you and your family. xx

  11. Wonderful tribute. So sorry for your loss. *ducky hugs*

  12. Dear Ruthi, what a beautiful story of Flicka! She was such a beautiful horse, a queen of the ranch. So teary to read about her last moment. It was so sweet and sad! May she rest in peace until the day she reunite with ur family again. Many hugs to u & ur family. xoxoxo Dominique

  13. I am sorry for your loss of Flicka, she was a beautiful horse an a wonderful friend xxx

  14. Alive in your heart forever because Love never leaves us. One day you will be together again but for now the new free spirit of Flicka is like a tree dancing in the wind on a summer's day. Life & Love forever to you both. Freddy & Deb

  15. *teary eyes* What a beautiful story of the life of a beautiful horse. We are so sorry there came an end to your time together here on Earth. But may she be running free with the wind in her mane, as spirited and magnificent as ever, until she meets you at the Bridge and you are together again.

  16. Oh Ruthi, I just now read your tribute and all the lovely comments. We're so sad for you that Flicka's gone OTRB, but as I read your story, I was smiling through my tears. She'll be waiting for you and from what you wrote, you better take some Molasses cookies with you! Love & Hugs, Pixel, Otis, #AngelJinny & Mama Jodie.