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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Its been almost 9 years of grieving over my first horse. Is it normal to grieve after so long? I try to avoid talking about her and even think about her but I have dreams of her and she's always on my mind lately. I've been crying and every time I hear about someone losing a horse I think of that day. That was the worst Easter of my whole entire life and miss her like crazy.
 

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You should probably see a proffesional.
 

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People handle traumatic events differently. To many of us horses are actually equal to people, if not closer, so considering that think of how different people handle the grief of the loss of a close loved one. Some people move on pretty quickly, but for others it takes longer. Some never really get over it.
I personally don't think that what you're going through is such an unusual thing. If this horse was extremely close to you, I think it's understandable.
But whether or not you should seek help is really up to you. If you feel like it is making your life difficult and that it is affecting you in such a way that you need help to cope, by all means do it. It really is your call, and I don't think anyone here can tell you that any better than you can.
 

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You should probably see a proffesional.
Kevin...

I understand that you were just being blunt and to the point, but I think that was a tad rude.

I think a better want to look at this is understand how close rissa (that is my nickname! xD) was to her first horse. I lost one of my lease mares who I felt was mine. I am still VERY upset about loosing her. I can barely say her name or type this even without breaking down to the point where I cant breathe. I havent seen her for a year (maybe 10-11 months..?) and she was sent to the game farm some time last year (im not sure), I think during the summer (I tried to forget the day I got the email from the owners letting me know).

My point is, people handle things differently. I will never be able to knowingly eat game animals, as I just cant do it.... I lost my beloved Heidi to a game farm. I will always miss her and grieve for her, though I dont know if I will always break down crying when I talk about her. I dont know... But if people were to tell me that it was wrong and that I needed to see a specialist because I was still upset about years, I would be even more upset. I would have blood if someone said something snarky or rude to me about it too. :evil: But hey, that is just me... :wink:

So Rissa, give yourself a break. I understand how you feel. I think if that is how you are reacting to losing your horse, then it is perfectly normal.
 

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To many people a horse , especially thier first, is like a member of the family - and show me a person who dosen't show emotion for a lost family member - no matter how long ago they passed away.

I had my first horse for 19 years ( she when on to greener pastures last year due to illness and the loss of her field mate of 17 years ), which is currently 3 times longer than any of my relationships has lasted - you cannot have that sort of bond and not feel anything.

If anyone just says - get over it or seek therapy - then I feel that to them a horse is just a piece of meat to be used untill it is either too old or a better model comes along - then heartlessly desposed of.

I would say treat your loss like any other
 

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When our loved ones die, they leave a permanent mark in our minds. Often, they become a near-deity in our heads: we look to their memory in times of struggle and grief. Their image, which is not as much an accurate representation of the original being but rather an unearthly guiding figure, becomes a coping method and emotional support. I have gone through a similar process with my first horse, who I lost a year ago. What you, and I, are experiencing is a normal side effect of our brain's cognitive mechanisms. Most people never forget the death of their horses, and certain stimuli could provoke painful memories even 35 years later. However, if it is troubling you or making you miserable you can try a few things. You may want to try writing a letter to the horse to express your gratitude and reflect on how great she was rather than that you miss her. She may be overwhelming you at the moment if you are going through a dip of anxiety or depression, in which case you would want to treat this with the standard methods of depression (medication, therapist, self-help books). Meditative exercises and yoga can help you to bring peace to your memories of her. Most certainly not to forget, but to rid of some of the emotional suffering we go through. Just remembering that your tone of thought has an immense effect on your mental health. If you think in the past negative for most of the time (I also struggle with this), your future will become damper and your life will be harder, as well as your mental health degrading. If you think in the future positive and past neutral, you will have a brighter outlook on things and be happier. I hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you all for understanding. I had Dixie from the time I was three years old and she taught me everything I knew. I was very close to her and sometimes it felt like she was the only thing I had when I had a rough time.
She was more like a family member and imagine having a horse for so many years and then lose it abruptly. It is kind of like losing a best friend or a sibling even though she is a horse.
Lately I have been trying to talk more about it but many people look down upon grieving over an animal.
I quit riding for close to two years before I couldn't take being away from horses. I blamed myself for her death but after I realized and studied more on colic it had nothing to do with our accident. The loss of a dear pet is not something you can just get over.

Thank you Roro you're advice was very helpful and I plan on looking into yoga.
 

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We all deal with loss differently. We all also have a different level of attachment to our animals.

I think as long as your every day life is not being burdened by your mourning then you are just dealing with a loss the way you deal with a loss.

Just the other night I was talking about the passing of my first dog (the conversation was about cremation vs. burial, etc) and I got very choked up when I started thinking about it. She passed over 12 years ago.
I guess per Kevin I need professional help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
It doesn't effect my everyday life. I get very depressed when people talk about her, I talk about her, or someone talks about losing their horse. Lately its been hurting more but I think its because I've been avoiding it for so long.
 

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Since this loss isn't affecting your every day life I don't think it's unreasonable to still get emotional when you think of your horse. It's coming up on three years since I lost my horse, Star, to colic. She was my first horse (had two ponies before her) that I got when I was twelve and had her for the next 22 years. I still tear up when I think about the day I lost her, it was awful and something I'll never forget. Life goes on, though, and I have two new horses that have helped with the healing process which is different for everyone. Hopefully opening up to us and getting it off your chest has been a big help. :)
 

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im really sorry =[ its so hard to lose someone who you love that much. i know its not the same, but i can sort of understand how you may be feeling. i leased a horse for 2 years & she was EVERYTHING to me. she was my best friend & partner & just everything. i never owned her & her owner took her back. she has not passed on or anything but i still miss her every single day. i sometimes post photos of her on here, but it makes me really emotional. like i said i know its not the same at all, but once you have formed that bond..
 

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I still miss (and cry occaisionally) for my cat, Cougar that died 2 years ago. I had him for 17 years. Always told people that my dog is like a child. But Coug was like a friend, an equal. I got him when I was 10 years old and we were together the entire time excepting a brief period at the beginning of college when I was living in the dorms (less than 1.5 yrs and I was home alot). **** cat neared starved himself to death after I'd been home for a long break. Sat at my bedroom door meowing all day and all night for me. The only time he'd eat was when my sis would hand feed him.

Anyways, the point is that to my mind there is no shame in missing your animals. Even 20 years down the line. I'm willing to bet that thoughts of Coug will make me tear up (and laugh) for the rest of my life. How could it not? I'm not ashamed to let it be known that I miss my cat and you shouldn't be ashamed to miss your horse. Don't avoid talking about her and if people make fun of you or try to make you feel stupid about tearing up, screw em. Those people may not understand, but there are plenty of people that do. All three of my best friends and I have called each other and talked about the worrys/fears/emotions involved with watching our horses and dogs aging. We get emotional about it and then we laugh at ourselves. But we know it's ok to hurt. But I think if you face the pain it changes to something else. Something that doesn't hurt as bad and it leaves you freer to remember the good times with a smile.

Hope that helps.
 

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I STILL cry about my first horse, Gracie. My parents sold her when my trainer thought I was ready to move up to a flashier show horse. I still compare all horses to her, and bawl like a baby when I watch videos of us. She's been gone for 17 years but I will always miss her and always get choked up when I talk about her. I'm the same way about a dog I had several years ago!
 

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Although you never stop grieving the loss of a loved one, be it human or animal, it is NOT 'normal' to feel the pain so acutely after 9 years.
The response of seeing a professional was blunt but spot on. There may be an underlying problem that will not get better over time, and is altering your everyday existence.
I know. I have been there. PLEASE PLEASE talk to your doctor about this. This is a serious medical problem that can easily be treated, and with help, you cen enjoy life again.
The pain and loss will always be there, but it will be easier to handle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Although you never stop grieving the loss of a loved one, be it human or animal, it is NOT 'normal' to feel the pain so acutely after 9 years.
The response of seeing a professional was blunt but spot on. There may be an underlying problem that will not get better over time, and is altering your everyday existence.
I know. I have been there. PLEASE PLEASE talk to your doctor about this. This is a serious medical problem that can easily be treated, and with help, you cen enjoy life again.
The pain and loss will always be there, but it will be easier to handle.

It is not altering my everyday existence and many people that have posted feel the same way with their first pet or horse. It is like losing a family member. If you lose your sister or brother or anybody close the pain will linger.
 

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It's good to hear that it isn't affecting your everyday life. Hearing that makes me even more sure that what you're going through is definitely normal.

Heh, it's kind of funny because my first horse love was actually a gelding named Dixie and I lost him ages ago but it just hit a nerve for me reading that your mare had the same name..I guess I'm a little bit in the same boat, to a lesser extent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I grew up with Dixie and I personally think that it is normal but as long as I am not crying everyday and stopping my whole life over it. At first, I was DEVASTATED but it has never stopped me from living my life except when I quit riding but now my riding is stronger than ever and all my childhood goals are finally being reached.
I learned dressage and I jumped my first jump in November and my first oxer in December. If it wasn't for her I wouldn't love horses as much as I do now.
 

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You should probably see a proffesional.
Glad to see you so supporting and friendly? :)

However girl, it is alright..
I can understand it seems like a long time, but forever they hold our hearts!

Try to find ways to make yourself feel better with the situation.
I always soothe myself knowing that my pet is somewhere good and that I will go ahead and see her once it is my time :)
 

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It's been nearly 40 years ago that I lost Charlie (horse) and about 30 years ago that I lost Bear (German Shepherd). I miss them both every day. I also miss all the other animals I've had throughout the years. Yep,still tear up when I remember the fun we/I had.
Normal? As you say,it soes not affect my every day life,thought it was just me..Thanks for letting me know I'm not the only one.
 

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I was thinking about this the other day after I posted. Kevin and GoldRush have a good point. If this is affecting your everyday life then it's something you need to see a professional about. However that doesn't seem to be the issue in your case. Just normal greiving.
 
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