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