Rosie has been woven into the fabric of Agape almost since the beginning. That is why, in this time of great difficulty already, it brings us immense sorrow to share with you that Rosie has been laid to rest. Late in March, Rosie developed a severe case of laminitis in all four hooves. Despite icing her feet three times a day, keeping her in a deeply bedded stall, and giving her anti-inflammatory medications twice a day, there was no improvement in Rosie’s condition. For this reason, we made the difficult decision to humanely euthanize her.
We are deeply sorry that we could not invite all of you to see Rosie one last time, to share your love and cherished memories with her, to thank her. However, that does not mean that we cannot remember her, honor her, or celebrate her life. Rosie may have been a miniature horse, but her spirit was as big as any draft horse that has ever graced our aisles. Please join us in honoring Rosie by sharing your stories, pictures, drawings, and love here in the comments, as well as on Facebook and Instagram.
One day many years ago–more than we can precisely remember, honestly–Rosie came to Agape. She arrived in the bed of a pickup truck driven by her breeder, Mr. King, and less than
a year old. Cheryl Miller, Agape’s founder, remembers it well.
“The King family raised miniature horses. They saw something very unique about Rosie. She was the only foal in the pasture who would leave her mom in order to trot over to the fence to visit humans. They knew that Rosie had a very special place on Earth where she could lovingly interact with humans to help them heal. That’s why they donated her to Agape.”
Cheryl said that Mr. King simply lifted Rosie out of the bed of the truck, and that is where her story with Agape begins. She loved to be groomed and to be with people. She would stand quietly with her people, no halter or ropes necessary. She was simply happy to be near those who needed her.
Rosie’s incredible spirit reached many lives. She has visited hospitals, schools, ice rinks, charity events, television stations, retirement centers…the list just goes on and on. In 2002 she was presented with the Indiana Horse Council’s Therapy Horse of the Year Award.
The awards reflect the truly great stories we hear again and again about Rosie. She helped a girl find her first verbal expressions of joy. She helped a boy do the same. She stood patiently with hundreds of children through the Black Stallion Literacy Program, helping new readers find their voice and confidence.
If one word could sum up Rosie, it would be confidence. Not only her own confidence in herself but the confidence she instilled in others. Story after story recalls how Rosie would patiently stand with a non-verbal child, or a 1st grader learning to read, or a child laying in a hospital bed. She would sometimes fidget with knobs or wheels, or clothing in her lips, and this never failed to bring a smile, laughter, and joy.
Well into her late twenties and early thirties, Rosie was still full of moxie and sweetness. She would often slowly saunter along at the back of the line of minis being led to the arena for social time. She would wait patiently while her halter and lead rope were removed. And then, with a squeal and a leap and a kick, she would tear off running around the arena, leading all the other minis half her age in a great gallop on the sand. She would often proudly prance toward you, toes floating over the ground with the lightness of a top-notch show horse. If she wanted something done a certain way in her herd, everyone listened.
Even in her last week, Rosie was as sweet and patient as could be. Four hooves soaking in ice water, standing there without cajoling from the staff, happy to slurp up her mash. All of a sudden, she would lift her head, put her face to yours, and plant a green, slurpy kiss on your cheek. There were many heart-to-heart conversations with her that last week. Some, she clearly was telling us all how tired she was of all this fuss. Others, she seemed to be thanking us. And still others, she seemed to be letting us know we’d all be ok. Always the confident one, always the one giving confidence to others.