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MN Tigerstripes 08-12-2010 02:25 PM

The end of my childhood. RIP Flame
I had to put Flame down this morning. She'd gone down in the night and we couldn't get her up. She had been seizuring too, so I guess it was time. We tried everything we could. I thought she was doing so good this summer that we were going to bring her through the winter. I was researching pain relief to keep her more comfortable. I didn't expect to say good bye right now.

I'm sure some of you have heard this before, but I've been with Flame since I was a baby. I'm 29.5 and Flame had turned 30 this spring. My parents bought her as a weanling along with her half sister and I was born shortly after. Mom named her Flame because she was so bright and so fast she looked like a flame when she ran.

She's the first horse I remember riding. She was a beautiful bay TWH with a crescent moon star and a big snip. Her black went high on her legs. She had two white stockings on her hind legs and a coronet on her left front. Her tail was a little weedy in her older age, but she had ripped a huge chunk out years ago and it never quite grew back. But she had the most beautiful wavy long mane and forelock. When she was feeling mischievous she'd peek at you from underneath her forelock and I swear her eyes were twinkling.

I don't even know how to tell her story right now. How do you tell the story of a childhood friend? I was an idiot with her, she put up with so much crap from me. I taught her to rear on command (dumb dumb dumb idea), pretended she was a race horse, a show horse, a jumper. During my childhood she was the realization of all my horse crazy dreams. As a teenager my escape from the house. We'd go on all day trail rides all summer. Just the two of us, a bottle of water, and a bag of veggies from the garden. As I grew into a better rider I rode her less. I graduated to Red, the fast and fiery one, but we still had adventures. Once when a friend and I went riding we got off (friend INSISTED the horses needed water even though we'd only been out 10 mins). The friend went to get back on and didn't hold the reins. Good ol Flame bolted for home, running faster than she'd probably gone in years. After a couple precious seconds reassuring the friend I jump on Red and we were after her. I caught her in one of those daring cowboy manuevers (you know, full gallop, leaning half off your horse to catch the reins of the other horse) probably 20 feet from the highway. I swear that mare was prancing all the way back, of course so was Red but he always loved a good race.

In my college years I saw her less, but her siblings were still alive and living then. Everytime I came out I'd go down and groom them all out. She was always happy to see me, of course they all were I always had treats and scratches.

When I moved home 3 years ago it was just her and Red left. Red was doing really badly and she wasn't much better off. They were like Jack Sprat and his wife. I coddled Red through the winter and most of the next summer, we ended up putting him down that fall. Poor Flame, she was so frantic. She ran around screaming and wouldn't let anyone but me near her and that took some time and smooth talking.

These last couple of years have been good. She was ridden up until last spring (when she injured her foreleg pretty severly), just lightly of course as she had a lifelong tripping problem and some fairly bad arthritis. Everytime I got on her she'd start acting like she was two again, pracing, trying to run, acting like a nut. Goofy girl, she seemed to be telling me that she could still give me a run for my money. Or maybe she just wanted to feel young again. I pampered her the best I could and found the best ways to ease her stiffness. I groomed her, took her on walks, bathed her when she got too hot in the summer, and trimmed her hooves every other week to help her with her tripping. When I started trimming her hooves the tripping went away, until she injured herself. She just couldn't bend that leg, so the hoof got caught on the ground if it got too long. I even body clipped her for the first time this summer. Poor girl looked a little moth eaten when I was done but she was more comfortable.

She got along pretty well with Soda after the initial 9 months. They'd started grooming each other this summer all the time. I think at first he gave her new life. She was like the old lady with the young hot boyfriend. She'd flirt and squeal at him. Follow him around when she wanted attention. He put up with it pretty well, only occaisionally biting her (he bit her at other times though, but rarely when she'd flirt with him).

I don't know what to say or how to finish this. I've been crying for about 5 hours now and haven't eaten a thing. After the vet was done and when I was finished with the tarps and cleaning up I gathered her a boquet of flowers. I laid them on her neck and took one perfect purple pansie and laid it on her face. And I just bawled. I laid on the ground next to my dead friend and sobbed. Soda keeps grazing off and then suddenly panics and runs back to her. He'll sniff her and then he'd come over and sniff me, then her ear, then groom my back. Then he started licking my leg. Poor baby.

I don't know where to go from here. pasture, so I'll always have one of my Walkers here. It's fitting it's her. She was my first and my last.

I don't know where to go from here so I guess just thanks for reading.

cakemom 08-12-2010 02:38 PM

I'm so sorry, but she lives forever in your heart. Your post was a beautiful tribute to her.
Big hugs.
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charlicata 08-12-2010 02:49 PM

I'm so very sorry for your loss. Reading through this made me cry. I'll keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

Speed Racer 08-12-2010 02:55 PM

MN, my deepest, most heartfelt condolences.

What a beautiful tribute to a well loved companion. Thank you for sharing Flame's story with us.

Flame had a good, full life, filled with love and wonderful care. She was one of the lucky ones. They should all have someone who loves them the way you loved your girl.

Godspeed, Flame. Say hello to the little bay Arabian with the pinned ears who's waiting for me at the Bridge. He's been there 3 years now, so should be able to show you around. He always did like the pretty ladies, so you'll be in good company.

MN, we're here for you. We may quarrel and snark, but like all families we rally around those who are hurting.

Alwaysbehind 08-12-2010 03:04 PM

Godspeed Flame!

That is a tribute fitting to a life long friend.

So very sorry for your loss.

Wallaby 08-12-2010 03:21 PM

I'm so sorry for your loss.

There is no better life for a horse than to be dearly loved her entire life by one set of people, and you really gave that to Flame.


farmpony84 08-12-2010 03:38 PM

I am so sorry. Walking horses always seem to have the hearts of lions, they are fierce and passionate with the greatest will. They love you uncondititionally. I'm certain that she new that she was loved, it seems her job here was done.

I don't have any words of wisdom, just well wishes.

MN Tigerstripes 08-12-2010 10:35 PM

Thank you everyone for your thoughts and condolences. I buried her in the pasture tonight with a couple of very good friends. I told her to look out for your boy SR, I'm sure she's flirting and squealing as we speak.

Mom and I decided to plant some non-toxic flowers over her grave and I'm going to get a marker commemerating her, Red, and Sin. It's a beautiful spot. Four white (? the long needled ones) in the Northeast corner of the pasture. She liked to sit there and scratch her butt against the pine trees. Can't tell you how many times I've pulled/brushed/washed pine sap out of that girl.

Soda is really hurting right now. Those who say animals don't feel haven't ever seen one mourn. He was fine until we started moving her to the grave site. Then he started running around the pasture screaming for her. He stood at the South fence and stared towards the barn/paddock. I brought him down there because of the storms tonight and it was hard for both of us not to see her down there waiting. He's been screaming most of the night and when I went down there to see him he was so depressed. If he could shed tears he would be right now. I spent 30-40 minutes down there just grooming and rubbing him.

I know that at some point the memories of her will bring more of a smile and less pain to my heart, but for now it's so hard. I feel like I'm dreaming and I'll wake up in the morning and she'll be peeking over the fence at me or striding over to have her breakfast or a good scratch. Loving an animal can be agonizing at times, but you know I wouldn't trade all the pain I have right now for one year of her life.

Thanks again everyone for your sympathy and understanding. It's great to have people that understand what I'm going through.

dedebird 08-12-2010 10:37 PM

I'm so sorry for your lost... i know when the first horse that i've riden died i was very sad so i feel your pain

payette 08-12-2010 10:41 PM

so sad :( she sounds like an amazing friend.

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