“Walk on.” Those two words were so often uttered to our Jim. However, the kind soul inside the the Percheron body didn’t just hear those syllables as a cue to move forward, he heard them as a cue to connect with the person positioned on his back. And connect he certainly did.
Jim created moments of confidence in our riders through all of life’s seasons. Summer is when Jim brought confidence to the hearts of our summer campers at Bradford Woods. Jim’s gentleness shined as campers stepped into stirrups and Jim, ever the strong-silent type, stood patiently for his rider to feel secure. Then, when asked, he’d “walk on” ever so gently, giving his rider the kind of control they strive to achieve in their daily lives.
Therapy horse wasn’t a job title for Jim; rather a journey, and he traveled it with the most stoic of steps. Whether Jim’s servant heart was beating at Bradford Woods during lessons, or inspiring students in Cicero, Jim journeyed through each moment giving to others.
Although Jim’s natural compassion made us feel he was born a therapy horse, he started his life as a carriage horse for Indiana Carriage Company. His hooves were heard clicking in the background of people’s special moments. Jim’s ears heard the dreams people only think to utter when they’re under a midnight skyline.
When Jim came to us in 2012, he didn’t just hear the dreams of our riders, he made them a reality. Students, who were overwhelmed with his height, learned that fear is something they can face and overcome. Jim showed our students the value in trusting, the comfort in allowing oneself to feel love. Jim brought out the best in our riders and the best in us during his magnificent journey.
After years of bringing out the best in others, the Agape family was forced to decide what was the best for Jim last week, as he faced difficult diagnoses and multiple battles of pain. Jim was diagnosed with peritonitis; along with battling colic, anemia and a distended abdomen. Jim also had numerous symptoms indicating he had a cancerous mass in his abdomen. In the end, along with Janssen’s Veterinary Clinic’s knowledge, we made the difficult decision to lay our Jim to rest April 20.
Jim’s spirit breathed extra life into our barn, and we feel his loss. We look for our gentle giant as we walk by his stall each morning. Although we know he won’t be there in flesh, we feel his legacy. We feel the hearts Jim healed, the imaginations he sparked, the lives he forever touched.
We thank you, Jim. We love you, Jim. We wish for you to “walk on” into the greenest of pastures.
More about Jim’s diagnosis:
Peritonitis: A life-threatening condition that occurs when the protective membrane — that lines the abdominal cavity and covers the intestines — is punctured either by accident or because of a disease. Peritonitis manifests itself with the symptoms of colic and may be difficult to diagnose. All of these symptoms, along with Jim’s history of diagnosis with squamous cell carcinoma last year, led us to conclude that there was most likely a cancerous mass in his abdomen. More information about peritonitis, here: http://www.merckvetmanual.com/mvm/generalized_conditions/peritonitis/overview_of_peritonitis.html