The bond between the man and the horse you are about to meet is one of those unique bonds that almost defy understanding. The two found each other just in time. Each one helped the other one through some pretty major stuff. We would like you to meet Donnie MacAdams and his 40-year-old horse, Waco Hanover. Waco is a retired harness racer.
Here’s their story.
WACO AND DONNIE
Donnie is an older man who is typical of Vermont. He’s a hard-working, no-nonsense, self-proclaimed “grumpy old man.”
Now, Waco may not have been the greatest racer of all time, but he sure did outlive the competition. Horses rarely live to see 40 years of age.
Generally, a horse’s life expectancy is only around 25 years. Considering that Waco turned 40 at the beginning of this year, that makes him one heck of an elderly horse. That actually equals 120 people years.
Donnie lives in an apartment above the barn. He cares for the horses as well as shares space with them. Out of all the horses, though, he and Waco’s relationship is special.
Here’s how they met.
Eight years ago, Donnie moved into his apartment there and met Waco at that time. When he moved in, Waco seemed to be nearing the end of his life. He wasn’t eating, and Donnie thought perhaps he should dig a hole because it didn’t look like Waco would make it through the winter.
Waco wasn’t sick, though, he was lonely. So, Donnie (even though he acts like a tough guy) went into the barn and had a heart to heart with Waco for about half an hour. In that time, Donnie explained to Waco that, “I ain’t going anywhere, I’m your buddy.”
‘I’M YOUR BUDDY’
Eight years later, here we are. Man and horse formed such a bond; it seems unreal.
These two hardscrabble old dudes aren’t exactly warm and fuzzy — but that doesn’t matter to either one. They make it work, somehow.
“He’s a cranky old SOB, just like I am,” said Donnie.
For fun, the two best friends eat animal crackers together and hang out.
LEAN ON ME
Donnie saved Waco just in time, though, for Waco to save him right back because Donnie had a heart attack. After the heart attack, Donnie had a long and challenging recovery period that he didn’t think he would ever get through.
Waco didn’t leave his side. For the entire recovery, Waco had Donnie’s back lending strength, love, and most importantly friendship. Finally, with Waco’s help, Donnie recovered and got back to his old self.
That’s not the limit, though, to Waco’s help.
You see, Donnie also works at a State Information center off route 89. He works with the public all day, and that brings him a great deal of stress.
Donnie describes getting home from work at the end of the stressful day. He walks straight to Waco’s paddock and leans into the gate. Waco then comes over and puts his head over Donnie’s shoulder and chews. According to Donnie, Waco’s nuzzles melt the stress of the day away instantly.
When the interviewer asked Donnie what he thought would happen to Waco if something were to happen to him, his response left us in tears.
“I think that’s part of the reason why I’m still around,” said the supposedly mean old SOB.
As long as these two cantankerous old fellas have each other, there’s every chance they may just live forever. Watch the video below.