Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Unpleasant life lesson

Last night in what seemed out of the blue, one of the girls who boards her horse at our barn had her horse die last night.  It was really shocking and scary to think that a horse I had just seen in the morning who seemed fine and had no health issues would be dead the next morning.  I can't even imagine how devastated the girl is.  I don't know her well at her but I would see her and her horse around the barn.  He coliced so badly last night that he had to be put down.  So when we got to the barn this morning there was a dead horse covered with a tarp in the parking lot - which is a heartbreaking sight.

I had to bring my daughter and her friend with me to the barn because we were going to a going-away party for one of their friends after Toad's training.  I explained to them that Shamus had died and his body was in the parking lot under a tarp and that they weren't to touch it.  When I explained to my daughter about him dying last night I didn't know what to expect her reaction to be.  But after explaining she would see his body under a tarp and a truck would come to take his body away and she was to stay in the office while the truck was there, she was silent for a moment and said, "I feel really sad."  I said I felt the same way. 

Horses are so delicate! I couldn't help but feel that fear of "what if it had been Toad?"  I think it is more important to me that she doesn't suffer and I was relieved to hear that Shamus was put down in order to end his suffering so he didn't die on his own from the colic.  Meanwhile it is a reminder to value every moment I have with my pets because they won't be here forever.  And even though it was a tragic way to learn it, I think it was good timing that my daughter and friend were scheduled to come to the barn with me to deal with the situation. 

Toad got to be turned out with Misty in the front pasture today so there was lots of shadowing Misty everywhere.  She really likes to touch other horses - as in rub her face on them.  Misty doesn't seem to mind at all so they are a good pair together.  They'll even stand together and eat from the same pile of hay very peacefully and happily.  It's almost like they're both saying, "Do you have enough? Am I in your way? Here - you can have some of mine."

I got Toad started on the lunge line so Trainer K. could take Shamus's shoes off and I think she clipped her forelock for his owner.  She asked who would help her who wasn't squeamish and I said I would if she needed me too but luckily another one of our friends said she would so I could work with my horse.  I wasn't so worried about being squeamish as I would've probably started crying if I helped her hold his feet to take the shows off.  The girls wanted to watch the truck load his body in but Trainer K. said no, under no circumstances could they watch.  When I asked her to explain to me how they did that and why they couldn't watch, she explained how they do it and it didn't sound gross at all to me, it sounded sad.  I think if I had watched I would've ended up in a heap on the ground crying my eyes out.  I almost started crying just hearing about it.    And to make matters worse my friend's horse, Gemini is sick with something which worries me.  The vet is hoping it is just a virus so fingers crossed.  Gemini was very sheltered and didn't see a lot of horses where he was a baby and we just got a new horse in the barn across the hall from him (and next door to Toad) so he may have picked up something that the new horse was inadvertantly carrying.  Toad is fine but then she lived at Emerald Down when she was young and there are literally 1,000 horses there.  So she's like a baby in daycare - she's been exposed to everything!

Speaking of Toad she did great in our short ride today.  I only rode her for about twenty minutes and we had just had a great trot where I literally had that moment of feeling like we were dancing in perfect rhythm, when one of our friends stopped by the arena door to say the rendering truck had arrived.  Trainer K. and I had agreed that I wouldn't ride when they got there because of the strange noises and such.  Plus, most of the horses were already pretty tense because they knew something tragic had happened. And as it was I wasn't feeling very confident myself - between having a cold and feeling shaken up about Shamus.  So, I'm glad we ended on a good note.  And it was a REALLY good note for us.  I'm really liking this ride Toad three times a week thing.  It's especially good for me because I lost a lot of confidence about riding her when I fell of a couple months ago and I need to get that confidence back.

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