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  • Kylie

Don't Cry for the Horses

I’ll always remember the first time I saw you. It was July 2017. You stepped out of that trailer, snow white, tiny tail and so nervous and unsure of where you were. You came from an auction, an ex-carriage horse sent away when you could no longer do your job. The first time I rode you I knew you were in no way the horse I was looking for but I had already fallen in love with you. You were confused by the signals I was giving you, you tried to bolt when I mounted (a habit you never really grew out of) and you had no clue what a canter transition was. I wanted an eventer, you were not one, I paid the ridiculous asking price and I bought you anyway.


I named you Albus.


I was told you were 10 by the horse dealer, but the vet told me you were really around 18. If I lifted my arm up to take a selfie while riding you would panic and bolt thinking I was going to hit you. If you so much as heard the sound of a whip cracking you would begin to tremble. I’ll never forget the time we were on a trail ride and you suddenly spooked and took off up a hill, jumping over the road at the top and sliding down into the trees on the other side. We had some incidents while we got to know each other but it didn’t take long for our trust to grow and for a bond to form.


We began having fun together, trailing out to different places for trail rides, hunter pacing, teaching you to jump, and there was even the time I dressed you up as a my little pony and attempted barreling racing on you (in an english saddle to boot). I remember the night I was getting ready to go to a Christmas parade, I was going to take a different horse but she was acting up that night so on a whim I pulled you out, covered you in tinsel and lights and rode you in parade instead and you were a star, you didn’t put a foot out of place, you trusted me.


You had a health issue though. You would occasionally go off your feed for a day, you would lay down a lot and you seemed more prone to colic then other horses. I had owned you for just 9 months the first time you colicked bad, displacing your colon and having to spend a couple nights at the equine hospital. While you were there it was discovered that you had significantly bad ulcers. The ulcers explained those times when you would “sulk” in your stall and ignore your food. We began a new feeding regime with you, over the next almost 2 years we tried everything. Different feeds, different supplements, medications, exercise routines anything that we would think of to help but the ulcers kept coming back, they were relentless.


Between March of 2018 and November of 2019 you had some minor colic episodes, you went to the clinic every 4 months or so to have your ulcers checked. You seemed happy despite the ulcers and the reoccurring colic, you were full of life, you loved trail riding and being groomed. You probably got sick of baths considering how often a white horse that likes to use poop for a pillow needs to be bathed, but you were overall healthy and happy.


In November of 2019 you displaced your colon again. You ended up back in the equine hospital for 2 more nights and even though you recovered and came home I told myself that I couldn’t keep putting you through the pain, if a bad colic happened again I would have to think about making some very tough decisions. I noticed a change in you after that November colic episode. You seemed to have aged very quickly. You spent your days sleeping in the hay pile. You weren’t as comfortable being ridden. The bright spark you had always carried with you seemed to be going out.


When I got the message that February morning that you were down and off your feed again I knew deep down in my soul that it could very well be our last day together. I called the vet out and sure enough you were trying to displace your colon again. Your eyes were dull, you looked ancient and tired and as I drove my truck and trailer to the clinic I knew what questions I was going to have to ask and what decisions I was going to have to make. When we got to the clinic they took your vitals and blood and hooked you to an IV then I pulled your regular vet aside and asked to speak with her. I told her my worries, I told her I was afraid that you were suffering and that there was nothing more we could do. She agreed with me. She said that you probably had something major going on inside that was causing all of this and the only way to find out for sure was exploratory surgery, which was absolutely out of the question.


I waited for your other mom, Marlane, who loved you as much as I did, and we made the decision together to say goodbye and lay you to rest.


I have spent a lot of time thinking about you since we said goodbye, but I have never regretted my decision. You brought me so much joy in life and deserved for me to do right by you in death. I love you my so handsome marshmallow snowflake. You will always be in my heart, and flying by my side and Marlanes, keeping us safe.


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