So much has happened over the summer. I hadn’t blogged about it at all because A) I hate blogging via my phone and B) My phone is all I have.
I’ll just summarize things briefly here, because it’s a LOT. It’s safe to say, it’s been one hell of a summer!
1) I free leased Wings out to a wonderful older couple near Charlotte. This horse is so lucky, I swear! I have had him in my life for at least 13 years now and each time he has left me, he has found wonderful caring homes with people who truly love him. It doesn’t get any better than that!
2) In June (on my birthday actually!) I acquired a new face! Pearl is an approximately 18 yr old 13h POA, who previously belonged to Ashley’s stepbrother and his mom. She hadn’t been ridden in several years previous to my acquiring her but since then I have taken her all over creation to make up for it! 😉 Most recently, however, she has been claimed by my 8 yr old daughter and it appears that she may have stolen my pony. Pokey – it’s back to you and me old man!
3) Oh Pokey! He injured himself this spring being an idiot in the pasture, and then upon recovering, promptly threw a shoe and was lame for two weeks. Days after he was finally declared sound again, he was in a serious trailering accident when my mom’s truck (driven by my sister) blew a back tire towing their fully loaded steel frame 3-horse trailer, and fishtailed out of control and ended up flipping onto it’s side.
It was one of the scariest moments of my life. For the first few minutes, I was certain my heart horse had been killed.
Miraculously, all 3 horses walked away with minor(ish) injuries. Pokey sustained a deep cut above his eye which was promptly cleaned and stapled by the emergency vet, and a deep gash to the front of his fetlock (which she was unable to close and despite digilent care, had retained a slight bump (scar tissue) and white hairs as a reminder of the incident. (Pokey is a tough old bird, and at the same time a delicate little flower…time has proven him remarkably resilient but his old body scars easily).
3) I am now 7 months pregnant. In June I came to the realization that I could no longer continue working 3 jobs, and ended up leaving my part time 3rd shift position in favor of my full time engraving job in Greensboro. It was a huge leap of faith to do so, given the fact that I am still technically a temporary employee with them. However so far so good…the company was bought out, and I am the only person who even knows how to run the machines in my department so my position there is pretty secure right now.
4) Siesta took a downhill turn over the summer, becoming noticeably stiff and laminitic. Because she had somehow chipped off a huge chunk of her hoof wall, she was not a candidate for shoes immediately and so we spent months trying everything we could to make her comfortable. However she continued to decline. We made a vet appointment for her, and euthanasia was discussed as an option, if the resulting X-rays were bad. Then at the last minute my brother (also my farrier) was, at long last, able to actually get therapeutic shoes on her. There was some improvement, and we were hopeful.
But we never got a chance to see how much it actually helped. Last Wednesday I was home sick in bed when my barn manager texted me telling me Siesta was down in her stall. Not thrashing or rolling – just flat out on her side. We rushed to the barn – by the time we arrived she was up again but it was obvious that she had been down for most of the day. She was breathing heavy and seemed despondent. My first thought was related to her laminitis, but to my surprise she walked out of her stall with close to no soreness whatsoever. I suspected colic but there was some poop in her stall, and she wasn’t trying to roll. We walked her for a while, and she seemed to perk up a bit. I didn’t have banamine but my mom did, so we made a run to her house to pick some up. After dosing Siesta and walking her some more, she seemed much more comfortable. Her respiration slowed. She was walking around her stall and looking more alert. She didn’t try to lie down again. She drank some water, and actually tried to mow me over to go outside. I decided to keep her stalled overnight though so we could determine if she pooped. We continued to check on her throughout the night. Each time she seemed improved and we were hopeful. We decided if she hadn’t pooped by morning we would run her over to the vet. But she was doing so well we didn’t feel an emergency call was warranted. And I was still sick as a dog, so we opted to go home briefly so I could snag a couple hours of sleep.
And in the wee hours of the morning, sometime between our last visit and 7:20am, Siesta just laid down and died.
There was no sign of a struggle. No thrashing, or distress, or excessive movement. That is my one consolation. I have spent a lot of time blaming and second guessing myself. But the truth is, it was her time. We had watched her go downhill all summer, and I am just grateful she is no longer suffering.
We did take Pokey to view her lifeless body, and his reaction was heartbreaking. He definitely knew she was gone. He stared very hard, then started backing down the barn aisle, and tried to run back out to the pasture. Later, he watched us move her body quietly, with big sad eyes. When we put him out in the pasture that night, he looked back at the barn, whinnied maybe twice, and just stood by the gate the rest of the night. Another border commented that he looked so sad, it made her cry. I made sure to give him extra love and attention the next few days, and gradually he left the gate and drifted out into the pasture on his own.
The hardest part, was telling my daughter that Siesta was gone. She took it pretty hard. I don’t know how to explain to a 8-year-old why exactly these things happen. I tried telling her that Siesta was very old, and her immediate comeback was, “Pokey is very old too! Is he next!?” I assured her that Pokey is in great health, and will probably outlive us all.
On Sunday, after our ride at the Biltmore (another story for another post) we moved Pearl to SStables. It took less than five minutes for her and Pokey to bond. Both are small, submissive horses and there were absolutely no fireworks. Nobody even squealed. They just sniffed each other, and turned and walked out into the pasture together. They haven’t left each other’s sides since. I still sense a sadness to Pokey, but he is definitely glad that he is no longer alone.
As for myself, I will never forget Siesta. I am just glad to have her for the length of time I did, and that we were able to give an aged, broken down mare something of a happy ending. I have a couple ideas for a memorial tattoo, and to my surprise my boyfriend wants one too. She definitely touched all our lives in her own special way. And she will never be forgotten.