Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Saying Goodbye to an Old Friend, or a Friends Old Friend...



It's incredibly heartbreaking when a horse passes away. No one quite understands just how painfully easy it is to choose between a potential life in pain or to end a life in pain, whether it be a young horse or an old horse.

Over the past month we have lost two horses at BCL (our agistment property) and it always feels like something is missing, even if we never see the horse, if it is right at the back of the property, the fact is that we might not think about it or see it everyday, but once it is gone something feels empty.


A friend of ours did the most courageous thing and got her 6 year old, 17 HH thoroughbred put to sleep after finding out he had chronic arthritis in his hocks at only 6. The saddest thing about this is not the fact that she had to have him euthanized, but the fact that she rescued him from the sales, where he could potentially have been sent to the doggers, spend loads of money on boarding fees, feed, vet bills and chiropractor bills (he was also a bucker) and in all that time she was spending all that money, she grew to love him and appreciate him. I can honestly say that I have never really seen anyone have that much dedication to a horse they hardly know, but then again, I don't really come across a lot of horsey people other than aggisters.


Another horse passed away on Monday morning, diagnosis...colic. In the end it takes them all, and it's sad that it comes down to that, but that's mother nature. If we could see it coming, I'm sure we could all do our best to prevent it*, but sometimes it is too late. Dotcom was the horses name, he was a 15 HH appy gelding, 24 years young. He was a SAINT, his owners had him since he was quite young and spoiled him to the point where he had too many rugs to count. He was still in good health, no problems with arthritis (that I know of?) and he was ridden often enough to keep him happy. He was owned by a family of four, mum, dad and two 15 (I think?) and 17 year old girls. I can only imagine how hard it is for them at the moment, he was their first horse, he did the good yards and its sad that he didn't get the retirement he deserved.


Both Lisa and I lost our first horses to colic. I was thinking about both of their deaths last night after a song came on the radio that reminded me of the day I had to have Anira put down. It's that song by Newton Faulkner, Dream Catch me I think it is called. That song played while I was driving out to see her (speeding to get there as soon as I could) and also on the way home from saying goodbye (this time Lisa was driving, I wasn't up for it, I left my car there until that night), listening to it then made both Lisa and I cry our eyes out, and it still does for me, its difficult to listen to it as it just makes me feel what I felt back then.


That was one of the worst days of my life, but in saying that it was one of the easiest days of my life, making that decision when the vet gives you the stats and tells you the chances of a healthy survival (if possible), is the easiest decision I have ever had to make. I could say goodbye to my first pony because I loved her enough to put her before myself and give her the quiet passing she deserved. The only thing I regret is that I didn't get to do that earlier, it still gets to me that while I was asleep, she was going through a whole lot of pain. I miss her everyday.


I would tell you about Pom (Lisa's first horse), only that it is not my story to tell. All I can do is leave you with a diary entry that Lisa wrote a few days after poms death. I hope she doesn't mind.


"The death of a horse is strange to define.

It's not quite like loosing a friend or relative. It's definitely not like loosing a pet cat or dog.

It's loosing that special bond that can only be described as "horse and rider".

And boy, does it hurt like hell.

Pom was put to sleep at approximately 3pm on Thursday the 20th May, 2004, after a night and half a day of extreme abdominal pains diagnosed as Colic. His intestines were dead.

I had ridden him on monday, over the cross country course and in front of a bunch of my sister Natalie's friends, jumping a maximum height of a metre, Up and down ditches, over creeks, acting so full of himself, on the bit and collected up doing a very good impersonation of a lippizzaner stallion, he thought he was so cool. So did I.

The last time I saw him his eyes were swollen so badly from thrashing around on the ground he was following me around blind. He Kept laying down and thrashing about. The last time he layed down after I agreed with the vet, he laid as still as a mouse. I talked to him, saying "I love you", "be good", "You'll be ok soon". Then he was gone from my life forever. Just like that.

And I'll never get pissed off at him for stirring the other horses up when I'm trying to catch him.

I'll never gather the feed out of the corners of his bucket that he couldn't get to.

I'll never shape those perfect, dainty little hooves ever again.

I'll never yell at him when he scratches his mane/tail/any possible body part against a tree/fence/other horse again.

I'll never ride behind those perfect, hairy little ears again.

Or kiss his little nose, or sit underneath him and kick his belly gently, or fall off and have him put his head down close and sniff me, or hear that deep, throaty whinny when I'm making his feed, or ride that little bouncy trot, or have him give me filthy looks when I do up his girth, or any of the hundred million billion things that make up one individual horse, my horse, my baby, my meaning.

It's feels strange to be horseless.I don't know what to do. I have no one to go feed, brush, worry about too many or too little rugs, jump on and ride whenever I wish, show people and say "That's my pony".

I've started to keep my room really clean. I'm even doing my bed of a morning.

I'll be getting another horse soon. I just have to pay Pom's vet bills first. Then save.

But I wish I didn't have to.

What am I going to do? I'll figure something out. It's just hard to be alone"

Its hard for me to read this, I'm fine with being upset myself but when its my family it kills me. I miss Pom everyday, I'm sure Lisa does just as much

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

I just remembered I have a blog! I may as well have forgotten about it, even when I log in EVERY day to read the latest on FHOTD or Cakewrecks I still manage to let it slip by that I have one of my own.

In the past month the sentence "write a blog about Grace and Becks" has been clumsily thrown around the house, mostly commonly from my mouth, but it seems it has still be untouched up until now. Very lazy of us. I promise we don't forget about our horses the way we forget about our blog :|.

So moving on to the more important stuff!

Since the last post we have ridden grace a few times, equip with saddle and bridle. She is a quick learner. Naturally we used leg aids automatically without thinking, this proved to be quite a good move as she learnt within the first proper ride what leg on means and how it works in conduction with what's going on in her mouth. Lisa and I were very proud of her.

Since that first legit ride we have ridden her a total of about 4 or 5 times. Lisa has had a total of 2 kick-offs and me nil (well that's probably because I am the one with no guts, and have only ridden her once). I wouldn't call them a fall, since Lisa landed on her feet both times (she is pretty switched on when it comes to Grace, no sneaky manoeuvres there), but she was kicked off. The first time just because we stretched our expectations to far and asked for a trot, so Grace wanted to know "What the hell is bouncing on my back! Buck!", the second time because she was super fresh and spunky that day and decided she wanted to test didn't work, she still got back on.

So all in all we are very proud of our little grace when it come to her first few rides, she listens, she pays attention, she is yet to freak out (minus the trotting thing) and she is learning very fast!

We have given the ridding thing a rest for the past couple of weeks as Grace has some kind of lumps (about 6 all up, all in a row ,3 on each side) just sitting before her nipples. The lumps are squishy, not hard, they are all the same size and haven't grown or shrunk and she gets annoyed when you touch them, not as though they hurt but as though they are irritating her. We are hoping it is just a problem with the glands or some kind of mild hormone condition that can be fixed, please don't hesitate to inform me if you have had a similar condition with your horse. We will know what they are on Friday, our vet is coming out to float the pony's teeth and check her up. Fingers crossed! Watch this space.

Lunging is a success, FINALLY, it took a while for her to perfect it, but she has it, she even canters almost a full circle without too much encouragement. And we don't need to use a lunge whip anymore! SUPER happy about that, there's nothing worse then a lazy horse when it comes to lunging. My first pony Anira used to HATE lunging, she wouldn't go faster then a slow trot no matter how much you forced her too, she just wouldn't. She got away with it because she was so sweet and old, woops!

Leading = success also. We take Grace on rides with us when we go out in the back 1000 acre paddock now, leading or ponying, depending on how lazy we feel. She likes it because it is interesting to her, seeing all the cows, foxes and machines (they do some kind of turf farming or something in the back paddock, so there is always machines doing something out there) keeps her interested and distracted from being a young bratty horse.

I'm glad to say that she will finally trot beside me on the lead now also. Thumbs up for improving ground manners, there's no point in a well behaved horse under saddle if its ground manners suck!

So in conclusion I am super proud of my little growing filly! She is doing well, very well :).