A New Job – And A New Lease On Life

Copper, a grinning "King of the Hill" at 33!

I’m not talking about me here. I’m talking about Copper, my 33-year-old, hand-me-down, un-vanquishable, star-of-the-world Quarter Horse.

Copper has a new “raison d’etre,” “joie de vivre,” — translate: “reason for being.” Copper is in Seventh Heaven, Nirvana, and is cantering and kicking up his heels to prove it.

We all know how invigorating and rejuvenating it is when we suddenly have an exciting new direction in life, or find that we are really needed. Maybe we’ve just landed that incredible, stimulating job we’ve always sought that will utilize our unique and shining talents; maybe we’ve been nominated for a Nobel Prize or discovered a new cause to commit to, one that will help a lot of people or animals. These kinds of things are like a shot in the arm, energy-wise, and we feel important.

Moments like this are such a high and are unmatched for getting our creative juices flowing and inspiring us to achieve great things. Copper is having such a moment.

I don’t know all the details of Copper’s past before he came to me, but he’s always been kind of low down in the pecking order, as there were always overbearing alpha geldings present who lorded it over him. Not so since we lost our dear Gabriel in November. It was a painful loss for all of us, but all of a sudden Copper is the only male horse around, and he has two lovely mares to take care of. If there’s a bright side to every situation, I guess that would be it. Gabriel really needed to be released from his broken-down body, and Copper really benefited from the rejuvenation he has experienced by moving to the top of the gelding pile.

Although some horses can live to be 40 or even older, most don’t even make it to 30, so Copper is indeed a wise old elder. He is in excellent health but his age does show in certain respects. He moves around a little more “creakily,” is set in his ways, and — at least until this new change in his status — has frankly enjoyed his independence and alone time away from the herd. No longer.

I first noticed a dramatic difference in his behavior about a week after Gabriel’s passing. Copper has his own enclosed eating area where he has been quite content to stay, sometimes for hours on end, taking his time downing his rations with the few teeth he has left in his head. No longer.

Copper now gulps down his meal and, if the girls have wandered out of the barn area and are out of sight, he starts whinnying like crazy and banging on his gate until one of us comes and lets him out. He then GALLOPS off to find his harem and is not content until the threesome are all back together. True, “gallop” is using the term rather loosely here, but we haven’t seen him run by choice, for any reason at all, in years!

The girls are both docile. They both love him. And he has finally whipped the new mare, Lopeh, into shape and gained her complete respect. I don’t think they’ll be putting many demands on him, but Copper is obviously King of the Hill at this point in his life. And I figure it can only energize and extend his already amazing old age.

Here’s to Copper and his new lease on life!

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