Marcel AKA Clownface is not a cuddly type of horse. He doesn't go for all that mushy stuff. He does, however, present his muzzle for a kiss on the nose every time Pam sees him. When Pam was diagnosed with breast cancer and started her treatment, she often retreated to his stall to cry. When things were particularly bad Marcel could sense it and would even make exceptions to his no neck hugging rule. As the days turned into weeks and Pam lost most of her hair, he would lick the top of her head. In 'horse-speak' this is the highest form of acceptance and a demonstration of herd loyalty. During Pam's treatment her barn time was limited and Marcel spent much of his time in the pasture with a few other geldings. When Pam was able to visit, she would walk into the pasture and she would watch as Clownface would not only run to see her, but he would protect her from the other geldings aggressive antics.
"Marcel has good Horse sense and if he perceives danger, he will take action! Many years back we showed at a Summerfun show. It was actually the first time I showed him driving." Pam recalled. "We did very well and were up against some really big gun Saddlebreds! We placed well enough in the first class to be qualified to show back in the Championship. The first way of the ring was pretty smooth. The reverse was called and we changed direction. The extended trot was called for and we went off at a good speed. After rounding the first corner Marcel suddenly lost all of his momentum. He slowed to a jog and no amount of whip tapping, rein slapping or clucking would get him to step up again. We obviously did not place. Oh well. I thought.
A few hours later we were back at home and unpacking. As we lifted the cart out of the bed of the truck, one of the wheels almost came off! Once we had it on the ground, we could see one of the nuts was missing. Had the wheel come off in the arena, it could have been a huge disaster. Later that evening we watched the video of that class. I could see Marcel's ears go back in that corner, right before he lost his impulsion. He knew something was wrong and did not ignore it. Good Boy!"
Pam was not able to ride much when she was fighting cancer. She just did not have the strength. The new medications available helped to fight the nausea associated with chemo and they worked quite well. Unfortunately, combining that with the pain and fatigue, Pam's activity level dropped dramatically. She not only lost her hair, but she also gained quite a bit of weigh. Marcel was getting fat too. the only difference was that he did not care!"We developed RPO body types" Pam laughed. "Rolley-Polley- Olley!"
to be continued...