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.