Thank you everyone for sharing your stories, I appreciate it and it does make me feel better to know that I am not alone. It is nice to have others to share our emotions with and to have shoulders to learn on, with those who have the same "pangs"
We horse people are never along. There's always someone that's gone through (or is going through) the same thing! Sometimes it just doesn't feel like it and you feel perpetually alone. -hug-
I, also, have a horse and regrets that follow. Her name was Livia, a bay OTTB, and when I got her (I was...13?) she was a 6 y/o with very little dressage training but she really enjoyed jumping. She was the first horse I ever evented on, ever went cross country on, etc. She was a bit of a witch, especially when I first got her. I only owned her for about 2 and a half years (actually 2 years, 5 months, and 30 days, 1 day shy of 2.5 yrs). She was officially "mine" on December 17th, 2003. We even had the same birthday (March 7th, obviously I was not born in 1997 though, hah). On June 16, 2006 she had a very, very severe form of colic that is also quite rare. Basically the blood got cut off to her small intestine and the tissue started dying. The only way you can know if it's that kind of colic is if you do surgery and by the time that the vets decided that was our only option about 80% of her small intestine was dead. If we had proceeded with the surgery she would have had a 9% chance of survival. Obviously I made the decision to have her put down (as my parents made it quite clear that I was the one that had to make that decision).
I never really appreciated Livia. I was always envious of the other riders with their fancy horses, the girls that always won and who seemed to have it all. The ones that I thought got everything handed to them (granted, a lot of them did...) while I was over there working my butt off with a tempermental, somewhat green mare. I remember finally having the courage to go look at the show pictures of our last show together (we had FINALLY moved up to Novice level eventing and we placed decently, no ribbon but we were in the middle of the pack, dressage held us back) and being stunned by just how good of a jumper she had been. She had good scope and my trainer and I had finally gotten her to where she picked up her legs nicely and rounded her back, even over the smaller jumps. She just looked so happy in all the pictures. I eventually saved up money to buy a poster size of one of the photos, which now hangs on my wall to remind me that I should never take any horse I own for granted.
I know, I'm in my awkward teen years in that one, lol. Don't judge me. Look! Dressage ribbon under her face! *attempts to distract*