Meet Esmeralda, my sister Merry's good friend and companion. They first met at a stable in Sonoita, Arizona. Merry was a mom about to send her only son off to university and Esmeralda was…well…the friend of a horse that Merry was getting saddle-ready. It was love at first sight.
Did you know that you can gentle a horse into taking a saddle? It's true. Merry gentled a horse named Gloriana and Mike, Merry's husband, gentled Esmeralda. Imagine how close you can get to an animal you treat with respect. Now imagine you have to put that animal down. It is a horrible choice to make.
Esmeralda is a Paso, a Peruvian breed of horse with a smooth swaying gait. They are charming animals, but their breed is prone to DSLD, a disease where little tears form in the ligaments, but do not repair with the same elasticity as before. Eventually a horse with DSLD cannot walk or stand. They are in constant pain. There are some intervention methods, but no sure cure at the moment.
Knowing that their animal carried this disease, Merry and Mike retired Esmeralda to pasture. By that time she had a colt named Perla. They felt that this mare should have time to enjoy her off-spring, the seasons, and more than a few carrots. That's the kind of people they are (kind and thoughtful), but that is also why today is a sad day for them.
Mike and Merry say good-bye to a fine companion this afternoon. Please wish Esmeralda a gentle passing.