Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Copyright Ken Harris 2008

Dancer was our wonder pony, beautiful, sweet natured, gentle, good with children. Brilliant rump patch with prominent, defenite, chocolate brown spots. Dark chocolate. He had only one fault. He only had one testicle. Actually, he had two of them, but one was undescended. In vet school they would call him “cryptorchid,” a phrase that has nothing to do with flowers. In breeding equine animals, cryptorchidism is a serious defect. You can’t enter him in a show because one of the things the judge does is count testicles. If he finds an odd number of them, you and your pony are out of the show.

And so, with great regret, we called the vet out to have the colt castrated. In the testicle world none at all is better than one and at least we’d be able to show him off as a gelding. Unfortunately, the vet could not locate the undescended testicle. He reached inside the poor animal’s cavity and fondled various anatomical parts, but didn’t want to perform surgery by Braille. It would be really embarrassing if he removed a tonsil by mistake.

And then a curious thing happened. Dancer healed beautifully, but he had a profound personality change. He became vicious, unruly and carnivorous. Not only was his orchid crypted beyond access, it was putting out some really vicious testosterone.

We had to have the undescended testicle removed. This meant a trip to the University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. It also meant signing a lot of waivers, but we were willing to do that. Poor Dancer had what was called a “high flanker,” and it took the doctors and students a long, long time to perform the operation.

The operation was successful and our normally sweet horse was restored to us. We promptly sold him to someone in Southern California who was connected to the movie industry. Dancer did a few Disney television shows but then, one day, while doing something perfectly normal, jumping in the air, running in circles, something he did every day, he fell and broke his back and had to be destroyed.

Some days you're the windshield, some days you're the insect.

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