Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: A small town in NY
• Horses: 0
Therapy started and finished in a whirl of parent interviews and cameramen everywhere and kids laughing at pony snorts. Everything had gone well. By the end of it, though, it was late and I was tired. Leading the last mare over to the barn, I could see my dad’s car and him mouth, “Hurry up!”
Grumbling, I took the mare into the barn. As I clipped her in the crossties and hurried to untack her, E came in behind me. “E, I hate to ask, but I’m in a hurry and my dad is already pissed we finished late. Could you finish for me?”
“Yeah, no problem.” She said absently. Suddenly turning serious, she said, “F, I need to tell you something.”
“What’s up?” I asked, a little concerned by the tone of her voice but continuing to grab my stuff.
“S is down in his stall…and we’re going to have to put him down tonight.”
My first instinct was to run, to deny that this was happening. If I didn’t see it, if I didn’t ask any questions or details or even why, it wouldn’t really be happening.
And that’s what I did.
The wind whipped at my wet cheeks as I headed for the car. I just wanted out – and fast.
Entering the car, my dad didn’t even realize I was crying until I could no longer keep my tears silent. “What’s wrong?”
“S…They’re putting S down.” I began to sob.
Of course, he asked why. And of course, I had no idea.
“Do you want to go say goodbye?”
No I didn't. Goodbyes were final. Goodbye meant the end of something. He turned the car around anyway.
As I got out, the vet nearly hit me with her truck. I wish she had. I thought.
I found a small crowd around S’s stall. I could see S laying in his stall, a gash above his eye from where I assumed he hit the wall when he went down.
I began to cry harder, and felt several people put their arms around me. A woman I didn’t even know embraced me. “I loved him.” I cried softly.
The BO patted the spot next to her on the ground, near S’s head. I stroked his face gently, reality forcing its way in. I watched the vet try to move his back legs, but they were stiff as boards.
Tears streaming down my chin, I asked the BO, “Did I do something wrong? I didn’t bring him in warm.”
Very seriously, she answered, “Not at all. F, you made these last few months some of the happiest ones of his life. He got his last ride with his girl – exactly how it should be.”
I realized I couldn’t go through watching this. Sure, I had seen other horses be euthanized before, but not my horse. I stood up abruptly. “I have to go. My dad is waiting for me.”
Several people offered to drive me home, but I politely refused. It was the denial part of me again. If I didn’t see it, it didn’t happen. My heart ripping in half, I took one last look at my baby. His eyes were closed, and his breath came in uneven, heavy snorts, as if each one was a struggle.
And as much as I didn’t want him to leave me, I didn’t want him to suffer. So I let him go.
A horse is a mirror to your soul. And sometimes you may not like what you see. - Buck Brannaman