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The struggle draws to a close

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  • Idea for a ield mate for my horse
  • Horse depressed after field mate left

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    07-07-2012, 02:40 AM
  #51
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry Godden    
QUOTE:

But should I come and call for her
Much sooner than you'd planned,
You'll brave the bitter grief that comes
And someday understand
.
UNQUOTE

Me,
No, sorry, I won't understand.
She didn't have my permission to go.
It wasn't her turn.
She has left too big a hole to fill.
I want her back
but I guess she won't be coming back.


Read more: The struggle draws to a close
I know what it is to grieve, and grieve ~deeply~

I lost my mom 2 years ago and we were the best of friends. I cared for her for 6 months as she was dying, and I curled up in bed with her stroking her proud forehead during her last moments of life, whispering "I love you mama."

I lost my husband 1 year ago very unexpectedly. No chance to say goodbye, or say "i love you sweetheart," one last time. The shock and grief overwhelmed me.

After this and the depression that followed, my horse and my dog literally saved my life. If it wasn't for their companionship I fear I would have been lost in the abyss. They gave me a reason to keep living even though the grief was almost too much to bear having lost SO much in such a short span of time.

I lost my beautiful dog, Boo, 6 months ago. I raised her from a pup and she was 14.5 years old when she died. She was my "surrogate daughter" since I had 6 miscarriages and no babies of my own. Again, my horse saved my life. I don't know where I'd be right now if it hadn't been for his gentle companionship and steadfast friendship.

My best friend, Khaiyaann, has been very ill lately. He almost died 10 days ago. He's 25 1/2 years old now and I know that his time is coming. I know that in the not too distant future I will be grieving his loss just as you are grieving, with a huge hole in my chest that nothing can fill but my sweet gentleman gelding.

I am so sorry for your loss Barry, and you are not alone in the abyss of grief and despair. But the love and trust and deep connection that you 2 shared is not lost forever in the sands of time. The love that you shared brought beauty into our world, for however long or however brief, and made this place a little better off because of it.

I wish you peace, and solace, and healing. You have my prayers.If it gets to be too much, please see your MD to talk about it. I did. And it helped me survive.
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    07-07-2012, 03:53 PM
  #52
Guest
Me, It reads that you've had more than your fair share of grief in a relatively short space of time.
I sincerely hope you have turned a corner in life and that you will have no more reasons to mourn in the near future. Thank you for sharing your story with me and others who might read this thread.

I am aware that for some riders and owners a horse is merely a horse. But for me a horse can be a unique companion to a human They are not just a means of transport.

Whenever I arrived on the yard, DiDi, when she had heard my car, would look up and trot over. Later when I took her back to her paddock, she’d stand at the gate until I was out of sight. Whenever she was fearful, she would quickly lose any fears if I went over to her. I could read her mind. Without hesitation I could get in close to her both physically and mentally. She was simply a horse who needed to be forgiven. I find that this type of relationship doesn’t develop with every horse.

Prior to DiDi, I owned Joe, a cob, and over my six years of knowing him, I never dislodged his ’Mum’ - from his affections. Yet it was she who eventually put him to sleep because he was no longer economically viable. He could have lived but he needed lay-off time for rehabilitation.

Am I in a state of depression? If I am honest with myself - perhaps.

Will I go to the doctor and ask for some pills? No. I’ll work my way through it.

There are some good understanding people around me. There’s plenty of help if I ask for it. And, I must not forget, there are a lot of well wishers out there on the web offering good advice.

Thank you

Barry G
     
    07-07-2012, 04:01 PM
  #53
Trained
Condolences on your loss Barry. I wonder if Didi is bossing around our beloved Clip in that pasture of the clouds? When I think of him & look up there, I will look for Didi as well.
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    07-07-2012, 04:25 PM
  #54
Guest
WB
If she thinks there's a male to boss about - then she'll be there.
     
    07-11-2012, 06:25 AM
  #55
Guest
I have been thinking of bringing another horse into my life. With DiDi now a memory and represented by a series of pictures on the wall, there remains a void in my psyche.

The hunt for a replacement is a complex affair - the end act of which is to say 'This one will do'. But the horse you think you see in someone else's field is not necessarily the one which appears on your yard. Take a horse away from its home ground, leave behind its mates, change its routine and the horse will morph into something different. Horses live by routine and familiarity. We all believe we can change the creature but sometimes the horse changes itself and for reasons we cannot always predict.

I spotted a couple of likely applicants for DiDi's stable and made a few phonecalls. Later I worked my way mentally through the criteria for any new horse. Finally I reached the seventh hurdle namely: whether to go ahead. Do I match with the horse's needs in an owner?

Sadly in the cold light of day, with a pencil and paper in front of me, I can see that I don't match up in several major respects. I am kidding myself. It would be irresponsible of me to take on a new horse, especially at my age.

Sad, but true. I must look for another way to fill the void in my day.

Barry G
     
    07-12-2012, 12:10 PM
  #56
Yearling
I could see you giving a fantastic home to an older horse who still has some miles left and would enjoy hacking to your pub. This country must be full of them, as everyone wants to buy younger horses. Don't sell yourself short. Any of us could get hit by a bus tomorrow, so really, your boat is not so very different than that of younger horsey folk. I know a fella probably around your age who lost a much-loved horse, then had to retire the horse he bought to replace that one as it was lame and crazy, and then he bought a solid, steady warmblood and he gets so much enjoyment out of that horse. I don't know how much he factored his age into his decision to buy the horse (other than making sure he got something sensible), but I don't think he had any intentions of spending his retirement getting fat and horseless.
     
    07-12-2012, 01:35 PM
  #57
Yearling
Barry, I'm so sorry for your loss I wish there was more to say other than that.

From the little that I've learned about you from other posts, you can't be much older, if older at all than my parents, and they are both getting back into riding. They are just choosing older horses. You can NEVER replace the love that you've lost, but you CAN find a new one.

~Smurf
     
    07-12-2012, 05:45 PM
  #58
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry Godden    
I have been thinking of bringing another horse into my life. With DiDi now a memory and represented by a series of pictures on the wall, there remains a void in my psyche.

The hunt for a replacement is a complex affair - the end act of which is to say 'This one will do'. But the horse you think you see in someone else's field is not necessarily the one which appears on your yard. Take a horse away from its home ground, leave behind its mates, change its routine and the horse will morph into something different. Horses live by routine and familiarity. We all believe we can change the creature but sometimes the horse changes itself and for reasons we cannot always predict.

I spotted a couple of likely applicants for DiDi's stable and made a few phonecalls. Later I worked my way mentally through the criteria for any new horse. Finally I reached the seventh hurdle namely: whether to go ahead. Do I match with the horse's needs in an owner?

Sadly in the cold light of day, with a pencil and paper in front of me, I can see that I don't match up in several major respects. I am kidding myself. It would be irresponsible of me to take on a new horse, especially at my age.

Sad, but true. I must look for another way to fill the void in my day.

Barry G
Hey! I agree with other posts! You are selling yourself short! An older horse is a great idea! Not ancient, mind you, but perhaps one that is in need of a good home. There are SO SO SO many older horses that get left behind and forgotten when their athletic abilities begin to wane. I stumbled upon my old boy and that was exactly his scenario, and he desperately needed someone to care for him. He was being left out in a tiny round pen with other horses knee deep in mire starving to death. He knows high level dressage, and he ended up like THAT!

There are so many horses out there in need, and I'm sure you can find one who's a good fit for you! To be perfectly honest, I think my boy outshines me! I don't know dressage... His education is better than mine in regards to that... BUT I love him and I care for him faithfully every single day rain or shine whatever.

Please don't close your mind to the possibilities... With an open mind and an open heart you may stumble upon a wonderful fit and a very good friend. :)
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    07-31-2012, 05:07 PM
  #59
Guest
The Cheque

The Cheque
Our postman usually delivers to the house early in the afternoon and mostly these days there is little mail worth going to collect from the postbox. The weekend delivery is rarely anything but junk mail. So it was early evening before I even bothered to check the box. For a change there was one single envelope on the back of which was the address of the sender, namely the company with whom my very sick horse, DiDi has been insured.

The insurers have been very good and they supported all of the treatment of DiDi suggested by the vet. Yes, I had to pay a contribution, but the insurers settled the bulk of the invoices, even the final charge for the disposal of the carcass The paper trail was sometimes a puzzle to follow but invariably it was the veterinary practice who was slow or lax with the paperwork called for by the process. However the important thing was that DiDi received all of the treatment which was needed to identify and hopefully cure her health isssue(s). Sadly, as yet there is no effective treatment for lung cancer in horses.

Under the British system the horse is insured for a named value - in DiDi’s case, what I had paid four years ago to buy her, almost $8000. There are several exclusions but there is a clause in the policy under which compensation would be paid for ‘loss of horse‘. The key factor is usually that the vet eventually proscribes : ‘PTS’ - in words: ‘put to sleep‘. At the beginning of DiDi’s treatment I had re-read the policy document and I had vaguely wondered whether in the fatal event I would be due for re-imbursement under this clause. Suddenly it seemed I was eligible, for there, inside today’s envelope, was a cheque for the equivalent of $8000. The insurers had paid all of the vet’s bills and now were paying me for loss of use. I had to commend them for their service as not all insurance companies in the horse industry pay out in this exemplary way. I can have absolutely no complaints about DiDi’s insurers and I would recommend them heartily.

As I walked up to the house, the memories leading up to her demise all came back to me. My jaw puckered up as I revisited mental images of her last moments with me. I remembered some of those moments of despair. Slowly as the tears formed in my eyes I lost temporarily the ability to both see and speak. In the house my wife asked what was in the post but I could not find my way to answering, so I passed the envelope over to her. She saw that I, a grown man of pension age, had to turn away and hide my face in embarrassment.

I did not really want the money in lieu; I wanted my horse back. I did not want someone else’s horse; I wanted my own. I cannot have again the relationship which I had with DiDi. She was something different. What good to me is a cheque? It is a small scrap of paper.

Probably I shall pay the money into a special tax free savings scheme. If I promise not to draw the money out, at the end of a year the bank will credit my account with about $200. DiDi was worth far more to me than a lousy $200. Her value to me was worth far more than mere money.

Actually she was costing something almost $8000 a year to keep in the splendour to which she had become accustomed. There were the costs for livery, feed, supplements, shoeing, chiro-massage, training, teeth and the odd item of new tack, which she simply had to have. There were diesel and transport charges, vet’s bills, insurance costs and medications for those odd little ailments which a vet cannot be bothered to treat. There were also competition fees and membership fees. And I must not forget the cost of travelling over the toll bridge to her stable yard. Keeping a competition horse in the UK is an expensive business, if it is done properly.

It was planned for DiDi to be my hobby in retirement. She was my equine companion. She was the cornerstone of my day. She was a talking point and a constant topic of conversation with friends. She was a never ending conundrum. She was a worry. She was a joy to watch and a pleasure to handle. Everybody who saw her, said how beautiful she was. Some even knew how sensitive she was to ride. And she was mine

So I immediately sat down and sent an email back to the insurers. In it I thanked them for the cheque and I asked if there was any way I could have my horse back instead of the money.

But I cannot see that as an option in the insurance policy document.
     
    08-11-2012, 12:38 PM
  #60
Guest
A Visir to the Physio

DiDi a visit to the Physio
I thought I’d let you all know how things have worked out over the last couple of months.

This story of ‘DiDi and Whither goeth She? ’ was very much a part of me for a year or more. As she made her way up through the levels of dressage I was enthralled to watch and record her progress. Then as I became aware that something, somewhere was wrong with her, I started to watch her even more closely and I attempted to probe into her mind. I could sense that there was something bugging her. Then, together with the Countess, the vet and various horsey friends, we came to realise that the likely cause of her odd behaviour was pain. Eventually we discovered it was a combination of ulcers and lung disease. Finally at the end of May 2012 I had to make the decision to have her put down.
That story has been told.

Long before the end came I had started to get tearful. What would happen was that I would be talking to someone, maybe even a perfect stranger to me, and the topic of conversation would come round to that of horses. Immediately I would feel an attack - for that is what it was - coming on. My chin would pucker, my voice would catch and the next thing I knew was that I would be crying. Tears would be coming from the corners of my eyes and dribbling down my cheek. |Suddenly I would be unable, physically, to speak. The person with whom I was talking would become embarrassed. I’d have to turn away, hesitate, take control of myself and then turn back to continue the conversation be it in a different, almost broken, tone of voice. Often I would break down again.

I had thought that when I had put DiDi’s things away that matters would get better. Surely I’d stop being tearful. Her things are now packed away. The bills have all been paid. The insurance company has even paid me back the original cost of her purchase. Her Grandee saddle is now with a sales agent. Her bridles, her mouthing bits, my riding gear, a couple of horse blankets and all the various items of paraphernalia of horse ownership accumulated over decades, are all wrapped up in polythene and have been carefully packed into containers. You never know I might need them again one day. Her stable remains empty. There are also some other momentoes of other horses in my life: a favoured bridle set worn by Puddy; a blue and white halter bought in the US forty years ago and used with most of the horses in my life. Carefully protected there is my old soft top brown saddle with the heavy steel tree which I bought originally for my long dead palomino cob. Such items become heirlooms. Maybe those items can be buried alongside me.

Of course, there have been several offers from friends for me to work with horses and even to ride if I feel so doing. Luckily I haven’t been offered a suitable black hairy cob gelding like Joe nor a fancy dapple grey mare like DiDi. Although I know where there is a tidy black hairy cob but he is a bit small and he is a sharp little chap. I often watch him graze through the upstairs bedroom window. He is owned by a young girl who, whilst growing fast, needs a bigger horse. Regardless the boyo is young - perhaps too young and too small for me. Meanwhile I must be very careful not to look at the ‘horse for sales’ sites - especially where I might read about a heavily set hairy cob gelding.

My problem now arises from my own sense of responsibility. I am ageing fast and as a result none of my close friends or family will give me any encouragement to buy another horse. Borrowing someone else’s horse would also prove to be difficult as I have my own old fashioned ideas as to how horses should be handled. Another acquaintance, who might well be short of cash, is getting quite pushy about taking on her mare who has a similar temperament to DiDi’s. But I sense the mare’s problems stem from the owner and the conditions under which the horse is kept. Anyway my sharing a horse would be a bit like sharing my wife, who incidentally is also very much against my buying another horse.

Today an unexpected event was illuminating. I had walked the dogs up in the woods where I used to ride with Joe. On the way back I passed by the picnic area and there parked was a horse box with two cobs tied up alongside. I simply had to go over and look see. One of the riders was a young woman in her late twenties and a man who could easily have been her father. I approached and asked to say hello to the heavy set bay cob who turned out to be 18yo gelding. He was calm and eating some hay after his morning’s ride through the woods.

Suddenly an attack came on and I was in tears. Yet I hadn’t said much more than: ‘Hello’ This time is was my whole face which was quivering as if I were ill. Instinctively, I suppose, the young woman put her arm around my shoulders. I had to stop, take my breath, concentrate and speak. I managed to get control of myself - just - although the breakdown happened again just a few minutes later. I tried to explain to this perfect stranger that I knew well the woods from horseback and that my horse had recently died. All she could offer in reply were platitudes but what more could I expect from her. I cut short my stay and drove home. By the time I reached home I was back to normal - until perhaps the next time.

Recently I had to go visit a physiotherapist. Despite the Pilates exercises, lack of riding exercise is weakening the muscle structure around my lower back - probably as a result of previous falls. Nowadays if I sit for too long, I stiffen up when I try to stand. I find it hard to get comfortable in order to sleep at night. Apparently my spine is bent sideways and the therapist needs to see some test results before she can suggest some exercises. There is a term for the condition called ‘scoliosis‘. It can’t be cured but you can learn to live with the aches and pains. An appointment has been made with the hospital for an X-ray.

However as she took down some medical notes, she could see that there was something else bothering me. Slowly but surely she, yet another perfect stranger, provoked me into talking about DiDi . I suppose it wasn’t really difficult for her. Eventually came the 100$ question: ‘Had I recently met with a psychologist?’ My answer was a sharp; ’No - any doctor would first offer me pills‘.
She continued to probe.

My final reply to the kindly lady was essentially: ‘I know what’s wrong - all I want is my horse back’.
She smiled knowingly and said she’d write me a letter for the doctor.

DiDi may be gone from this earthly world - but as yet she hasn’t vacated full possession of my head and I seriously wonder if she ever will.
     

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