By Michael Stewart / Executive Editor
The Meridian Star
His name was Haven Hill Amaas, but everyone called him Amos.
Larry Brock had to have Amos — a white Arabian horse — put down earlier this month.
For Brock, the loss is painful.
"He would bray at me every time I entered the barn," Brock said. "I miss that."
Amos was 3 years old when Brock first got him and in the 25 years since that time grew to be a trusted friend and member of the family.
"He taught all of my grandkids how to ride," Brock said. "He was a good baby sitter. I would put them up there and he would take care of them."
Debbie Boles, a friend of Brock and his wife, Tiny Brock, said the relationship between Larry Brock and Amos was special.
"Larry would be walking and Amos would walk right beside him," Boles said. "Larry would stop and turn around and Amos would turn around and follow him."
Larry Brock purchased Amos to compete in endurance rides — long-distance races of 15, 25, 50 or 100 miles. It is a sport in which Amos and Larry Brock excelled. The horse and rider took third place in the Southeast in endurance riding one year and in 1989 Amos and Brock won the title of reserve champion in the Mississippi Endurance Riders Association competition.
While the horse and rider were well known on the endurance race circuit, Amos was perhaps most recognizable for his work in church plays at The Evangel Temple on Highway 145 in Meridian.
For 19 years, Amos was featured as the white horse on which Jesus returned in "The Tribulation," "The Great Tribulation" and "Deceived."
"I put rubber shoes on his hooves so it wouldn't be so loud when he walked across the stage," Brock said.
Amos appeared onstage 78 times over a period of 18 months during "The Great Tribulation" play alone before crowds of 1,500 to 1,800 people each performance.
"He never in all of those years acted up; it was just amazing," said Boles, who is the wife of The Evangel Temple Pastor Mike Boles. "Amos carried himself majestically. It was like he knew the one riding on him was representing the Lord himself.
"He knew what was going on. He was very smart."
Amos was also a card-carrying member of the Lauderdale Emergency Management Agency, participating in searches and rescues along with his owner.
Two weeks ago, Larry Brock went to put Amos up in the barn for the night.
"I called for him and he wouldn't come," Larry Brock said. "I went to see what was wrong and he could barely walk."
A veterinarian examined Amos and discovered the Arabian had a broken shoulder that could not be treated, likely the result of old age and weakened bones brittle from age.
It was a tough decision, but for the horse's sake Larry had the vet put Amos down on Dec. 12.
"He was in a lot of pain," Larry Brock said, his voice trailing off.
Amos was buried on the Brock property, located in the community of Long Creek south of Meridian, with a service attended by family members.
Once the weather clears up, Larry Brock plans to erect a headstone in honor of the Arabian.
Larry Brock said Amos always came when he whistled and he has caught himself about to whistle for the Arabian a few times since the horse's death.
"I've even dipped his feed up a few times before I realized he's not there," Larry Brock said. "I guess it's just habit."