Sunday, 27 November 2011

The Hardest Thing About Horses

This post is the hardest one I've had to write.  I've been waiting until I'm calmer but this is as calm as I'll be for a while.  I've had a very long, hard day and I both want to go to bed because I'm both emotionally and physically exhausted but I also don't want to sleep because I know it's all I'm going to think about and probably dream about. 

As soon as I saw her I knew.  I spent time with her today and it just proved that it was the right thing to do.  She's gone through a growth spurt lately and with that, the angle of her leg has gotten even worse.  My dad lives two hours north of me so he doesn't get the chinooks that I do.  Once the snow hits, it's usually there to stay and that can mean several feet of snow just out in the field, not counting how much snow there can be in the trees.  She just wouldn't be able to make it through another long, cold winter in that much snow.  Her leg can't hold up for another winter.  I could put her in a stall and leave her there, but she'd hate her life and it would only delay it.  She can't be healed, she'll only ever get even worse.  She lasted a year longer than the vets thought she would.

She's sick of being bothered.  She tries to bite if you attempt to lift up her bad leg and even with her other ones now, she doesn't want them to be touched.  She just wants to be left alone and to have people stop messing with her.  She's even touchy about being brushed.  She just seems like she's sick of being harassed.

I said my goodbyes to her today.  I won't be there when it happens.  I live two hours away and we cannot wait for me to be up again in two-three weeks.  I spent several hours with her, sometimes it was just the two of us, sometimes Jillian and Sommer were there too.  I hugged her a lot and cried a lot.  I took lots of pictures of her and my sister took some of Cas and I, since I have only a few of us.  I felt morbid the entire time. 

She bit me three times in true Cas fashion.  I've tried her entire life but I've never been able to get her to stop biting.  She bit Sommer once and wouldn't stand still.  She still tolerated hugs though, like she always does.  The whole day I was either laughing or crying.  She was the same Cas she's always been.  She didn't care that I was upset, she was annoyed she couldn't go back out in the field. 

I brushed her one last time and fed her some sweet feed.  I took pictures of her leg to remind myself that this was the right decision, because I know there will be times when I doubt that.  I took her out to her field and hugged her one last time.  I let her go and she didn't run like she used to, she just walked away calmly.  She didn't look back at me.  I watched her go until I was distracted for just a second.  I looked back and she was gone, down over a rise.  I kept hoping she'd come back  up but she didn't.  I told myself it was very metaphorical and then I hated myself for thinking that. 

I just keep praying that this was the right decision.  She wasn't even three yet and it'll always bother me that I'll never get to know what she would have been like when she was older.  I'll never know what colour she would have ended up to be, I'll never know if I could suceed in getting her mane to grow.  I'll never know if I could get her to stop biting.  She was the first foal I've ever dealt with, she was my first foal and she wasn't at all what I expected.  She truly taught me that you get what you need, not what you want.  She wasn't the foal I imagined but she let me know she cared in her own little ways. 

I could go on forever about this horse.  She has more personality than any horse I've ever met.  You don't have to get to know her well to know exactly what she's like.  She became known as The Demon, both for her "tempermental" disposition and for her long and interesting namesake.  I keep going through moments where I feel like I've made the right decision, and moments where I'm certain that she would be fine and a miracle would happen. 

I love this horse and I will always love her, no matter how much time passes.  She was a nobody to the horse world, a crippled, mean, "fugly" animal but she is amazing.  This wasn't how it was supposed to happen, it shouldn't have ended this way.


Megan said...

C-jay I'm so sorry.

Your post made me tear up a little bit and my thoughts are with you. At least she won't suffer.

I really am sorry =(

Wolfie said...

Cjay - I am so sorry to read this. It's always a tough decision when we have to help our four-legged companions in this way. I have to wonder if her biting was a way to tell you that she was in pain. Thoughts are with you.

Ally said...

Your post made me cry. I am so sorry Cjay. I hate having to see you go through this with another baby, and one that meant so much to you. I won't ever forget you telling me the day she was born, right in the middle of everything else that was going on and how beautiful she was. I know she's not "beautiful" by horse standards but I always thought that her forever changing coat was amazing.

I think Cas represented a lot of spirit and will, even in such a short term. We won't forget her.

Again, I am so so sorry. I wish that there was something I could do. You know that I am here if you need me for anything.

smazourek said...

I'm so sorry for your loss.

I just came over from Wolfie's blog to read your post. This is my first visit so I don't know anything about you but I do know what it's like to lose a horse. I lost my beloved arabian 8 years ago today. Eventually the pain diminishes but the love and memories remain.

~Allison said...

I am so sorry for your loss.
I read about this on Wolfies blog and I wanted to give my condolences.

I can tell you truly loved that spirited horse! I will be keeping you and Cas in my thoughts.

Grey Horse Matters said...

I've stopped by from Wolfie's blog to lend support in this hard time. I've never been here before but I know what it's like to lose a dear friend and companion. Nothing anyone says will make you feel better for a while but it sounds like you did the right thing because she was in pain and not having a the quality of life she deserved. She sounds like a character though and she will always be remembered. Feel better soon.

Laura Crum said...

I've not read your blog before, but I had to put two old horses down on Tues that I had been careing for for over ten years, so I can relate to some of the loss you are feeling. It is not the same as having to put a young animal down, though. I've been there with dogs and cats, though not horses, and the grief and loss is so intense. It sounds as though you did the right thing--I, too, made my choice because winter storms were approaching and I didn't want the horses to suffer. We do the best we can out of love...its all we can do.

Anonymous said...

I've never visited you before, but came over to say how sorry I am that you've had to make this decision - it's never easy but it's one of the most important responsibilities we have as horse owners.

Sending best wishes and thoughts.

aurora said...

The decision's we make out of love, are often the hardest. May the good memories help you heal. Sorry to hear of your loss.

Anonymous said...

Cjay, I'm so sorry that you had to make this decision, but you're right, it is part of our responsibility when an animal can't go on. A few years ago I had to have my beloved thoroughbred Brego put down. He was only 4. I'll never forget him and I'll be forever grateful for what he taught me. For a long time afterwards I tortured myself about wether I had made the right decision, even though I knew that there was no alternative. Please don't doubt your decision, you did the right thing. Thinking of you and Cas.

50+ Horses said...

This is the first time I've dropped in on your blog. I had to make this decision 8 weeks ago and as much as I miss my horse I've found as time passes that I know I did the right thing. That knowledge brings me peace. I hope you will experience the same. I'm so sorry for your loss.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

I stopped by from Wolfie's blog just to lend some support and empathy. Such a tough, difficult decision, but it sounds like you've not made it lightly. Sounds like she's ready to go as well. She'll always be your horse and you'll have those memories, but you might want to save some of her mane and tail as a special keepsake. You can even have it made into jewelry or to decorate pottery, too.


Ruffles said...

I'm so sorry to read this. I'm almost crying. I know whats it's like to have to say goodbye to a much-loved equine frined and although it's one of the hardest things ever to do - you know it's the right thing.

Megan said...

I'm so sorry C-Jay. Just know that all of your blogosphere friends are here to support you.

It's always a hard decision, but you just have to trust that you've made the right one.