Horses of Tir Na Nog

Kris Kringle

Gender: Gelding

Breed: Haflinger

Approximate Date of Birth: 1/1/1996

Kris Kringle arrived at Horses of Tir Na Nog in December of 2011. Kris Kringle arrived at Horses of Tir Na Nog in December of 2011. Kris was picked up by Animal Services as an underweight stray in Potrero on November 9, 2011. At the time he was rescued, an old injury had resulted in the calcification of the bones in his fetlock and the partial fusing of that joint. As a result, this area was significantly enlarged. The staff at Animal Services was concerned that this injured leg was causing Kris pain. After the vets from East County Large Animal Practice (ECLAP) evaluated Kris and took X-ray, it was clear that although the leg looked bad, it didn’t prevent Kris from enjoying a comfortable life of retirement. We cannot thank Dr. Oman enough for giving Kris four and a half years of retirement with us.

Enjoying retirement was Kris’s specialty. He was one of the most laid-back horses at the ranch. His gentle, calm demeanor and good looks won him a lot of fans among our Hearts for Horses Volunteers. 

When Kris first arrived at the ranch, we quickly discovered he had found a number of ways to compensate for his fused joint. He had perfected the act of standing up. Sadly, over the last few weeks we had noticed that he was slower to stand up after lying down, especially in the morning. Most recently, he had actually begun to struggle with standing after he had been lying down. For a horse to have to struggle to stand is a critical quality of life issue. Today the difficult decision was made to say farewell to Kris before he began to suffer. His bad leg tells us he had already suffered too much in his life when that injury originally occurred and he was not given medical attention. 

Not long after we said goodbye to Kris, a very special bird appeared at the ranch, a roadrunner. It was the first time in our eight years at the ranch that we had seen a roadrunner. Roadrunners hold a special place in Native American beliefs. They are revered for their courage, strength, speed, and endurance. The roadrunner’s distinctive X-shaped footprint—with two toes pointing forward and two backward—are used as sacred symbols by Pueblo tribes to ward off evil. The X shape disguises the direction the bird is heading, and is thought to prevent evil spirits from following. Kris’s injured leg always left a distinct pattern in the dirt. The roadrunner’s prints were a beautiful reminder that his bad leg did not follow Kris across the Rainbow Bridge. As he crossed the Rainbow Bridge his leg was transformed. There is no doubt that he is now running with the speed of a roadrunner.

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