First of all, I hope you all had a lovely Christmas. This blog took a bit longer than normal. Due to Christmas, but also since something unexpected happened. As a horse owner, or any animal owner, we know our companions unfortunately do not have eternal life. Even though we would like to keep them with us our entire lives. How convenient if we go to Hogwarts and get that potion or spell.
My mare, Bo, had a tendon injury that was never going to heal. I found out about it when she was in foal of her first one. I got it treated with a chance of 50/50 it would come back. That unfortunately happened, but I caught it in time and she could still enjoy the field and life as a broodmare. Did everything I could to keep her as pain-free as possible the last couple of years. She loved being a mum and looking back that was her calling in life. Last summer she had an inflammation (Einschuss) and lost her fetus of 3 months. The leg did recover quite well, and it seemed she was doing ok again. For me pain was the limit, if the pain would become too much and she couldn’t function without putting weight on it pain-free, that would be it. A horse needs legs to function properly and deserves to be pain-free.
So, last summer after treating the Einschuss, I decided that if it would happen again, we would stop with the vet visits and treatments. It would only get worse from now on and the pain would increase every time. Unfortunately, that moment was last Sunday. I lunged my gelding and wanted to grab her from the free range stable so she could eat her meal for the day when I saw something was wrong. She had trouble walking and her leg was twice the normal size. When she was eating (she never stopped eating, no matter how ill) I checked it, but the moment I touched it she pulled away. She will never hit me, and she is a tough cookie, so the fact she pulled it out of my reach was an indication it hurt badly. So looked it over, walked with her on soft ground, but it only got worse by the minute. She wanted to put less and less weight on it.
11 years, 11 years she was my best buddy. We had the craziest adventures together. And then you have to make one of the toughest decisions ever. I called the vet and there was no doubt left I would have to let her go that day. She was in too much pain and she did not deserve to have that pain another whole day. Then I had to think about where. First, I didn’t want to bring her to the vet practice since she would have to balance on her painful leg in the trailer. But then I realized toppling over in the paddock wasn’t ideal either since she is quite a big horse. At the practice they have a special euthanasia room with a special wall that makes it much easier for the horse to lie down when the anaesthesia is administered. I wanted to make it as easy as possible for her, so decided to go to the practice after all. Thankfully there were 2 lovely people who came with me and delayed their plans for the day. Unloading upon location showed me this was the right decision. She was in so much pain she had to carefully back out with baby steps. She also was very calm, while normally she would be very alert when on a different location. Now she was duck walking around, sniffing everything. Totally zen. She even walked straight into the room, barely fitting as large as she is. Turning was a bit difficult, but she was ok with it all. Sedative kicked in quite quick. Everything went smooth and easy. I think it took less than 10 minutes in total. When she was lying flat and got the final shot, she was already in deep sleep, she sighed twice and was gone.
Best decision for her, and as an owner you always have to do what is best for your horse. Even if it leaves a gaping hole in your heart and soul. That hole needs to be filled with all the beautiful memories you made together. And I could fill a book with all the adventures we had. In addition she gave me 2 beautiful foals, so she lives on in them. Her son especially looks a lot like her, in behaviour and exterior. Her filly can continue her legacy.
Saying goodbye to something so dear to you, is hard, and will always be a difficult thing. It is also inevitable as an owner, but all those memories remain. That special place in your heart remains and will always be there, even after they have gone to the eternal field to join all those other wonderful creatures who have left us.