On losing a heart horse and horse ownership

What a weird world we are living in right now. Never in a million years did I ever expected to be in the situation where our barn was closed and it was mandated to not see our horses. For readers in other countries, in Canada and specifically my province, we have heavy fines for indoor recreation (including recreation) and just today most outdoor recreation spaces our closed. Our governing bodies in the equine industry have strongly recommended all barns close to all but essential services (and this EXCLUDES horse owners unless they provide care that is essential to the animal’s lives).

This is not a gripe at the barn – they absolutely did the right thing. I am so impressed with my barn staff that have stepped up and taken on many additional tasks done by horse owners to get through this time.

I was just reflecting on my horse life and realized I haven’t shared some updates on that front. Perhaps because they were difficult, but I think it’s time.

I lost my lovely Miss Mare, my heart horse, back in early October 2019. She was 18, but was in fantastic condition (as you can see in the photos from spring 2019). We had some ups and downs with tendon injuries as she aged but she was doing great. Then a freak paddock accident took her from us. I will not go into all the details, but her fracture displacement was some of the worse the veterinary hospital had seen. There was really nothing kind or any good prognosis for even being pasture sound. I made one of the most difficult decision I’ve ever had to make.

It’s hard to put into words, so I will just share my original announcement. I think this says it all.  

I’m sad to say we had to say goodbye to our sweet Miss Scout Monday after a paddock accident. The suddenness of this is very difficult. I can’t thank all the vets at the OVC enough, and Scout’s retired vet for taking my calls, working with the OVC and for her compassion throughout. At 18, Scout had been with us for over 14 years and there is no way to explain this loss for our us. She was more than a horse, competition partner, or pet – she was part of the family. This will leave a hole in my heart and an empty space in our lives that will never be quite the same. Gallop free sweet lady.

I didn’t want to go to the barn initially or own a horse again. But I had been helping out a lady at my barn for about 1.5 years by riding her mare a few times a week. She encouraged me to come back when I was ready, as she was sure Misti would miss me. And you know what. That gave me the purpose to go back.

So I kept going back. And over time I started missing horse ownership. Riding the other mare is fun – but not the same – although I do continue to ride her. I was missing the bond you build with one that is all your own. I am a bit unusual as a horse owner, in that I keep my horses and am very involved even when I competed, so I was missing that feeling.

So I started scanning sales ads and after only seeing two other horses – the third just sort of fell into my lap. Well maybe fell is relative, he was 4.5 hours north of me, but although he was such a fantastic guy, few people were willing to go that far north. So my mom and I made a road trip to meet him. He was fuzzy and turned out for the winter, but just as advertised. I thought over a few days then decided he was the right one, I had him vetted, and then in early January he arrived!

I’ve had a few holly s*** moments over buying a young horse again. Like do I really want to do this again with a 3 year old Trakehner? But overall, I am just excited for the road ahead – whenever we can get back to the barn.

It’s weird, it took me 26 horses, yes 26, to find Scout. And I only saw 3 total this time around. I would like to think Scout had a little part in it (whether that is silly or not). And I can’t wait to see where we go.

For now, I keep a little reminder of her everywhere I go – even the barn.

5 thoughts on “On losing a heart horse and horse ownership

  1. Hello. I am new to your blog but wanted to say that I also know the pain of saying goodbye to a cherished horse. I loved how you described your relationship with Scout, what she meant to you and how much you still think of her. Every horse should be so fortunate to be loved and cared for like Scout. Your new fellow is likewise lucky to begin a life chapter with you. I will look forward to reading blog updates about him.

    1. Thank you so much for the kind words! It is much more difficult then I ever expected it – but sad memories are beginning to be replaced by happy memories. I am looking forward to new ones with my new guy too and see where our journey takes us.

  2. It must have been a difficult moment, more so with the freakish nature of the accident in a paddock where most of us would think is pretty safe.

    Fortunately, my daughters haven’t had to go through losing a horse. We still have the ponies they began with, living the retired life. When they graduated to full-size horses, they belonged to their instructors. Those horses are living in retirement too. My step-daughter, though, has had the experience. In Tara’s competition debut as a barrel-racer, Jasper slipped on a turn and suffered a catastrophic injury. Tara suffered a broken leg. While it took Tara a couple of years to come back to equestrian sports, she hasn’t forgotten Jasper. Brie, her gray mare, brought Tara back. Those two are incredibly tight.

    1. Thank you for the comment – very sorry to hear about your step-daughters horse. It is so hard when they are taken from us abruptly like that. Glad she was able to come back and enjoy that sport. I know having other horses has been wonderful for me.

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