Month: July 2015
It’s been the longest two weeks of my life. I miss my Yellow. I know I said I would leave this blog alone, but I need some place to vent. I try not to talk about him because it makes people uncomfortable when they don’t know what to say. They don’t need to say anything at all, really. It’s not like anything can make me feel better, and I’m really not expecting it to.
But I can speak of him without crying. I can recall funny stories, and good moments and smile sometimes. There are other times where, for seemingly no reason at all, I find myself sitting in the quiet car with tears streaming down my face. I haven’t had the guts to go to the barn and clean up his things. His tail sits in my bedroom, waiting for me to trust the post office to deliver it, to be made into a memory.
Every picture I see makes me well up with tears. I can’t help but stare at his hooves and wonder if something was already wrong. Maybe I missed something. Maybe I jumped too high, rode too fast, didn’t pick his hooves enough. I regret all the cold days of winter when I decided it was too miserable to ride, and preferred to spend my days indoors. If someone would’ve told me it would end like this, I would’ve been at the barn through the coldest of days.
I miss him. I miss the freedoms he afforded me. The hours spent grooming. I miss riding him. Knowing that he would take care of me over every jump, even if I made a mistake. I miss getting on him, after a hiatus from riding, and it was like we hadn’t skipped a beat. I miss being at the ingate, heart thumping from nerves, and thinking there is nobody else I’d rather be there with, than him.
He’s my background on my computer’s desktop. Someone saw his picture today and asked me, “oh do you ride? Is that your horse?” I didn’t know what to say. “He was, but he died” would surely make them uncomfortable. It sounds so definitive. So over.
I settled for, “he’s my baby.” Because as long as I’m living, my baby he’ll be.
He’s gone. After seeing him have a horrible couple of days, I couldn’t hold on anymore. He was suffering. I had to give him the gift of a dignified ending. The vet came out to do X-rays, and he was clearly showing signs of infection. He was dead lame. His fever had returned. He was losing his lust.
It was supposed to rain all night. But the sky was clear. It was peaceful and private and a cherished final moment shared between him and me. The seconds between the final injection and his buckling knees seemed to last forever. I told him it was OK to go. And just like that, he buckled and fought and then went peacefully.
And my life is changed forever. My best friend is gone, and I’m left to pick up the pieces. So many tributes have been posted on social media by those who knew and loved him. A short stirrup babysitter, a summer camp favorite, a pony-sledding yellow, a HITS champion, and a bareback fun ride extraordinaire. My favorite pictures are the ones of him being silly. Carrying 4 careless little girls on his back over a jump. Galloping carefree on our annual alaire trailride. Making his begging face that I will miss so much. Being hooked up to a sled during the biggest snowstorm of the year.
We won many ribbons. I showed up to some of the biggest shows in the region on a little yellow quarter horse. I was proud to show my little halter horse in the Hunters. But he wasn’t my show horse. I never referred to him as that. Instead, he was my best friend, my confidante, the only one I trusted completely. I don’t know how to build from here. I don’t know how to heal.
My friends and family have been amazing. My house is filled with yellow flowers, my phone with encouraging messages, and my life with meaningful relationships. I feel like a failure for not having the founder success story that I promised him. I’ve spent the last few days crying. I will keep this blog up, in his memory. Maybe posting a picture and a memory when nostalgia hits. Or maybe not doing anything at all. Some times, people are lucky enough to find their once-in-a-lifetime horse. What do you do when you find him at just 16, and lose him over a decade later?
Tazzy was sent to be cremated. His ashes will be returned to me with all but his feet. Prior to his removal from the property, His hooves were donated to science – so that maybe one day, our dream of fixing founder, can be realized. My sweet, soulful boy did not die in vain. His memory will live on in every yellow flower, every ray of sunshine, every bag of twizzlers.
…oh and he crossed over the rainbow bridge wearing the first halter my 16 year old self purchased for him – in all of it’s faded pink studded glory. Funny, I used to love the color pink. Now, I’m more of a “yellow” kind of girl.
8 weeks ago, I made the decision to put down my best friend. I felt like a failure, like I had done something wrong, like I was letting him down. Today, I’m thrilled that his stall plate is mounted. I was too nervous to order one for fear that I’d lose him before the plate came in. And that having it delivered after the fact, would be more than I could handle. People often tell me that I have done a wonderful job with him – that I’m a great horse owner. I feel the need to set the record straight. I’m not this magnificent, eternally optimistic, human being. I didn’t have unbelievable faith that everything will be OK. Hell, I still don’t know if everything will be OK. Want to know a secret? I’m selfish. Extremely and unbelievably selfish. I couldn’t bear to lose that animal. For the last 10+ years, he has been my rock. The being I turn to when nothing is right in my world. I run to him when I need a reprieve from the real world. I couldn’t lose my sanity. I wasn’t ready to live a life that didn’t revolve around him.
There ya have it folks. 8 weeks down the road and he is recovering, slowly but surely – on his own accord. The only thing I have done is selfishly decide that I’m not ready to lose this horse. And so I haven’t. I have to give the credit to those who deserve it: Rachel, Paula, Bob, Ali, Lauren, and the countless people in and out of his stall all day making sure he is comfortable, loved and happy. These people have lost sleep to medicate him, held him up when he couldn’t stand on his own, and take him for his daily walks to be turned out. They’ve adopted a cranky yellow horse and I can’t thank them enough.
I visit and spend time with him every day. There are days that I really wish I could hop on his back and go out on the trails.I long to throw caution to the wind and enjoy a good gallop with my best friend. But then I see him gingerly walk, and am quickly brought back to reality. Life as I have known it, has forever changed. I’m just lucky that he is a bigger fighter then I ever imagined. His heart is as golden as his coat, and I am humbled by his tenacity.
Oh and in case you were wondering… those mother F*&$king bedsores are still an issue. And duck tape does not hold for longer than a few minutes.