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Alterrain
Jan. 17, 2010, 08:19 PM
I guess I should have posted this in the breeding forum, but I really only check this one, so here goes:

My forever horse passed away, god rest her soul, giving birth to her first foal last spring. This foal, now a yearling colt, is GORGEOUS, personable, a great mover, big, solid, chromey, etc. Basically everything I wanted in a hunter baby. I went through such great lengths to "make" him, picking out the stallion, convincing DH that we needed to breed one, sleeping in the barn for weeks waiting for him, and then of course mourning his dear mother. Not to mention then the costs and emotional stress of leasing a "mother" for him, board, care, and so on. But a year later, he is perfect. I should love him, right? But I just can't. Everytime I look at him I can't help but feel that he "killed" my horse. That is so dumb, huh? And everyone in my barn is always talking about how gorgeous he is, my trainer wants to do the HB this year with him, my hubby is always saying how he is "just like" his mom, and I always smile and agree with them, but I don't even like him! When I get the board bill each month I pay it with the feeling you would get paying board on a filthy stopper you just can't unload. I know I should love him as he is the only offspring of my beloved horse who is now passed, but I am having a really hard time with this.

Has this ever happened to anyone else?

Thanks for listening, all.

:(

Spud&Saf
Jan. 17, 2010, 08:38 PM
I am so sorry for your loss.

I think by finally admitting your feelings, you are working towards healing your grief over the loss of your mare.

I would hold off on doing anything with the colt until you have given yourself adequate time to complete the grieving process. If you decide to sell the colt before then, you might really regret it later.

Just because it has been a year doesn't mean that it has been enough time.

*Hugs*

pday09
Jan. 17, 2010, 08:43 PM
Sorry for your loss as well. I think you should hold off on selling him, even if paying the board is an expense you could do without. I think with time, you might come to see him as a blessing instead of a burden, and you'll be glad you didn't do something rash in grief. He sounds like a great little horse someone would be lucky to have. Big hugs!

houndsRus
Jan. 17, 2010, 09:00 PM
(((((sad you)))))

Of course you're sad. Be sad. But like others have wisely said, don't sell the colt. You will still be sad and the colt will be gone. You have hardly begun to grieve your mare. You are suffering from the loss and the trauma of how the loss occurred. Give yourself time. Take an active interest in mourning her loss, her being, your past with her, all your hopes and dreams for your future with her, all your hopes and dreams for raising her foal WITH HER. There is a term for your grief, disenfranchised -- grief that falls outside accepted social conventions and understandings of significant losses. It is a harder path of mourning, but certainly one you can navigate over time. Be gentle with yourself. Treat yourself and your emotions kindly.

When you are done grieving, you can make a decision about the colt.

I recommend, "How To Go on Living When someone You Love Dies" By Dr. Therese Rando.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_2_13?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=how+to+go+on+living+when+someone+you+love +dies+by+therese+rando&sprefix=how+to+go+on+

(((()))) ol'Hound

DieBlaueReiterin
Jan. 17, 2010, 09:02 PM
i am soooo sorry for your loss. i can totally understand why you would feel that way. that is the #1 reason i will not breed my mare! i am so scared something like that would happen. :( i really feel for you and would not blame you one bit if you sold him :no:

Kinsella
Jan. 17, 2010, 09:19 PM
What happened to you is one of my biggest fears. (((Hugs))) to you...

I agree with those that say do not sell the colt yet. Do you spend time with him? If not, make yourself do that. You may be surprised to find that you actually like him. There may be things that he does that remind you of your mare, or he may be totally different, but in the end you will find that he has his own personality. And remind yourself that it isn't his fault your mare died. It's a risk we take every time we breed a mare. Heck, it's a risk every female takes when they get pregnant.

Let yourself grieve and go through the whole process, but do not make major decisions while you are doing it.

Again (((HUGS))) for your loss...

Fharoah
Jan. 17, 2010, 09:42 PM
Well maybe you need to consider that a part of your mare will live on in your colt and bringing out the best in your colt may be in a way honoring your mare.

The world is just not fair sometimes! I am so sorry for your loss, I am so sorry, follow your heart!

Coreene
Jan. 17, 2010, 09:58 PM
And if you hadn't bred her she might not be dead. And If I hadn't gone out of town for four days seven years ago, Willem would have had his pergolide for those four days and may not have foundered and died (instead of the ass I was paying to do it just skiping that part). And so it goes. Life happens. You play the hand you are dealt. You were blessed with a beautiful colt that your mare would expect you to treat the same as you did her. It's your chance to do this.

pintopiaffe
Jan. 17, 2010, 09:58 PM
I lost my Best Girl, my first foal of my own, 5 weeks post foaling. At the time her daughter was already sold.

The orphan was even adopted by my Trak mare. So it was not as difficult as it could have been...

For a long time I had *issues* with the filly. At times I really didn't like her very much. I did have a chance to purchase her back, so I did... sometimes wondering why. Just this past year, FIVE years after Mama's passing, have I become smitten with her. She has matured, become less emotional... but *I* have changed too.

I still bawl over my Best Girl at the oddest moments. I put down her *mother* this fall, and I miss her terribly, but it's different when it is a young horse and sudden. The old mare had an incredibly full, long life. The young mare was only 8. You cannot compare the sorrows at all.

Eventually, when you can remember the good times and good things about your mare, with a wistful smile instead of tears, you *might* find that you like seeing parts of her in the son.

Or maybe not.

I would definitely say it is too soon to let him go. I think it's huge to acknowledge the anger. I was very angry at my filly too--even though she was five weeks, it was post-partum twisted gut. I shelled out a lot of money for the filly to go to inspections a couple of years ago, and she never loaded on the trailer. In my LIFE I have NEVER had a horse NOT LOAD eventually. She didn't. I probably would have sold her for meat at that moment.

It takes time. Time and more time.

And if in time you still don't like him, it's ok to move on. It sounds like there will be no problem finding him the right person. If he's not YOUR horse, that really is OK.

But he just might be... when the pain leaves room for a tiny bit of love to creep back in.

mvp
Jan. 17, 2010, 10:04 PM
It sounds like you are putting a great deal of pressure on yourself to not only like this colt for what he is, but to *adore* him the way you did your mare. Don't.

Don't compare them-- you'll always find him "not her" and miss enjoying him.

Don't expect him to fill in or make up for the loss you feel for her. The horses and your feelings toward them are distinct.

Sooner or later, you may arrive at the place others are encouraging-- recognizing that he carries some of what you like about your mare forward. But the more people rush that, the more you'll insist (at least in your mind) that your mare had value in her own right.

Fortunately, he's a yearling. You can ignore him while you grieve the loss of your mare and he won't be the worse for a little benign neglect. As to the enormous amount of work you put into producing him, think of it that way: It's what you did to get him-- a colt you enjoy. It's not about an awful price paid.

birdsong
Jan. 17, 2010, 10:18 PM
He is an innocent...and certainly not to blame.

Once you recognize that then you can move toward healing.

Rockfish
Jan. 17, 2010, 10:21 PM
i don't have anything to add other than ::hug::

WB Mom
Jan. 17, 2010, 10:54 PM
Keep him for now. If you should sell him, you are losing the what is left of your wonderful mare, and you may never get it back. Give yourself time to work through all of this.
In time it will come, the understanding and acceptance. You will find real joy in looking at him, and see him as the gift that he really is...

Zu Zu
Jan. 17, 2010, 11:35 PM
Keep him for now. If you should sell him, you are losing the what is left of your wonderful mare, and you may never get it back. Give yourself time to work through all of this.
In time it will come, the understanding and acceptance. You will find real joy in looking at him, and see him as the gift that he really is...This -- this is "spot-on" ! Jingles for your grieving heart ~ your mare would want you to love and cherish her colt ~ your soul knows this ~ it's just your heart is still wounded ~ it will heal with time and you will recognize how special this colt is ~ coming from from your mare's spirit to your spirit.

citydog
Jan. 18, 2010, 12:03 AM
My "heart" mare died giving birth (I was not responsible for choosing to have her bred). The foal was fine, and turned into a lovely horse, but at the time, I wanted nothing to do with him. I remember bottle feeding him through tears and hearing over and over in my head, "You killed her. I hate you."

Now, 22 years later, I realize that he was innocent and I was actually hating what had happened, and not him. To this day I wish I had kept him in my life, even if I'd taken a year away from him or something.

Your colt didn't kill your mare. She lives on through him and in your heart.

Let yourself grieve. It make take quite a while before you're able to see him as his own special self. It's also possible you won't ever "click" with him (and wouldn't have even if circumstances were different--sometime we just aren't a good match). But give yourself the time to work through your mare's death and make sure you're really evaluating him for *him*.

Hugs to you. It's a lousy situation.

JustJump
Jan. 18, 2010, 09:04 AM
Little reality check here.

If I'm reading it right, YOU are the one who bred the mare.

I'm sure it's occured to you that you went out of your way to precipitate the events that caused the death of your mare.

If you ask me, your feelings are a little confused. It's your own guilt you are feeling.

A nightmare scenario could result from any breeding, or from any other horse related scenario you might care to picture--injury and colic is right around the corner no matter how we try to guard against them. If you aren't up to accepting that responsibility, horses are not for you.

If you are, suck it up, and go on, doing the best you can not to repeat your 'sins.'

If you aren't, sell him and reevaluate wether you are cut out for being involved in an activity that entails such large responsibilities.

KC and the Sunshine Band
Jan. 18, 2010, 09:30 AM
JustJump,

Why are you always such a jackass? Are you part mule?

EqTrainer
Jan. 18, 2010, 09:34 AM
It takes time. Time and more time.

And if in time you still don't like him, it's ok to move on. It sounds like there will be no problem finding him the right person. If he's not YOUR horse, that really is OK.

This. You are putting too much pressure on yourself and him to fill her shoes, which of course cannot be done.

M. O'Connor
Jan. 18, 2010, 10:57 AM
I don't do tip toe very well either...

There are a lot of things we do that have unintended consequences...it IS sad, but you do have to get on with things.

I'm glad you have a nice baby, but...I'd say snap out of it soon, or move on.

fordtraktor
Jan. 18, 2010, 11:04 AM
Slightly different perspective -- I had a horse once that was truly crazy. She had been abused, and would lash out at people. She nearly killed me once -- if my brother hadn't been there to administer first aid, I would be dead.

She had a filly before I bought her, and I'd purchased the two as a package deal when she was a weanling. The filly was perfectly nice -- I never had any issues with her. Just when the time came to train her, I couldn't do it. I could never get past the bad feelings, even though there was no reason to think that would be true. I couldn't put her momma behind her -- visiting sins of the parents on the child and all that. I just couldn't get over it - I associated the filly with the bad thing that happened to me, even though it was unfair to her.

I eventually sold her for a loss. I hear she turned out well for her new owners. But I have never, ever been so happy to not have to deal with a horse again, and I don't regret it for a second. Sometimes it is a relief just to turn over a new leaf and start afresh with a horse you enjoy.

Don't feel guilty if you sell the colt and use the money to buy something you really like. He sounds like he is really nice and will end up in a good home. That doesn't have to be you.

Eventer55
Jan. 18, 2010, 11:15 AM
Personally, I would look at the baby as a gift. You have a young horse who is carrying the genes of your mare. You still have your mare within the foal.

I would absolutely cherish that baby and be thankful you didn't lose both of them. It's a blessing to have that little one, move forward and let go of whatever the real reason is behind your negative feelings.

Spend some real quality time with him and you may change your mind.

{{ hugs to you and yoru baby}}

Jane Honda
Jan. 18, 2010, 11:28 AM
I don't know you, but I want to help.


First of all, I'm SO so so sorry you lost your forever horse. I have only lost one horse in my years of having these beautiful creatures, and it's painful. Even now, I miss him. But, I can tell you, it does get easier. I promise. It never goes away, but your coping mechanism gets stronger.


Now, I can really understand how you feel about your colt. I wont get into 'maybe it was her time to go' but that is just utter bullcrap and does nothing to ease the pain.

I believe that maybe you are afraid to love him, and feel close to him because you may lose him too; so it's easier to feel anger towards him. It's similar to having a relationship with another human after being burned badly. We tend to blame the new ones after that. Be it romantic, or platonic.


Don't do anything out of emotion just yet. Actions that are done in an emotional state are almost always regretted.


I hope this helps. Good thoughts going out to you.

Nickelodian
Jan. 18, 2010, 11:58 AM
And if you hadn't bred her she might not be dead. And If I hadn't gone out of town for four days seven years ago, Willem would have had his pergolide for those four days and may not have foundered and died (instead of the ass I was paying to do it just skiping that part). And so it goes. Life happens. You play the hand you are dealt. You were blessed with a beautiful colt that your mare would expect you to treat the same as you did her. It's your chance to do this.


And if I wouldn't have injected Mr Two Bows coffin joint trying to make him sound, he would be happily living out life in retirement.

Let me just say, its been a year since Orion died, and I cry about it almost every single day. So although I can't identify with the association of the colt (I only have myself to blame for Orion's demise). I can say that most certainly the grief can be fresh enough to cause strong emotions.

I'm terribly sorry for your loss, and honestly know exactly how you feel.

PolarPony
Jan. 18, 2010, 12:26 PM
It hurts me to say this, and I'm very sorry for your loss, but that colt is the closest thing you'll ever have to your mare.

But then again it's your choice, and I'm pretty confident all us COTH'rs will be behind you with whatever your choice is.

Alterrain
Jan. 18, 2010, 12:33 PM
Thank you everyone for your kind words. I think even just saying it "out loud" has helped. I am not going to do anything rash for the time being. I am lucky enough to be able to keep the colt in a full board situation, where I don't have to handle him everyday myself and risk making decisions I may later regret. In time, I may learn to love him, and if not, I can make a rational decision when that time comes.

Thanks again.

KBEquine
Jan. 18, 2010, 01:20 PM
It's not like you need to make the decision now. And you may grow to like him.

But you may not, especially if you bred the mare, thinking it WAS a way to "continue" her. Because even had the mare lived, the foal wouldn't necessarily have her personality or her bond with you - and you may have been a little disappointed in him for that, even without the drama & conflicting emotions of the mare's sudden loss.

One good horseman of my acquaintance once cautioned me to never try to breed my next horse because you will almost always be disappointed. (Since we've got a breeding program, I obviously didn't listen to him completely.)

Another good - but blunt - horseman of my acquaintance counseled that if you aren't satisfied with (or getting along with) your horse, sell him to someone who CAN get along with him & likes him. Because it's fairer to the horse than keeping him where he isn't appreciated.

Why don't you let your trainer show him in hunter breeding & see how that goes? You may learn to appreciate him for himself, or you might find that there is someone out there who already appreciates him for himself . . .

There are no wrong answers - only you will know the best one for you.

Cataluna
Jan. 18, 2010, 01:20 PM
First of all, I'm so sorry you lost your mare. It's never ever an easy thing. :no:

As for your feelings towards the colt, look at it this way. IMO, the world has a strange way of working. Even if she hadn't been bred, you very well could have lost her to something else entirely different. Illness, colic, freak accident... anything. The possibilities are endless.

Instead, she left this earth leaving behind something more valuable than I think you realize right now. He's all you have left, and instead of resenting him, be thankful that you have this amazing little gift to not only remember her by, but one who will grow and develop right in front of your eyes. How would you feel right now if you hadn't bred her for fear of the risks (and there are many in this business) then lost her anyways? Would you have regretted not breeding her while you had the chance?

Be proud of him. Give it time.

europa
Jan. 18, 2010, 01:24 PM
He is all that is left of her. You will be fine and you will come around to loving him in time. Remember if she were alive she would be doting on him. You owe it to her to take good care of her son.

fordtraktor
Jan. 18, 2010, 01:36 PM
He is all that is left of her. You will be fine and you will come around to loving him in time. Remember if she were alive she would be doting on him. You owe it to her to take good care of her son.

Not picking on europa, but I just don't see this. I agree that giving it more time is a great idea, but don't feel like you have to love him because he was hers. If you owe the mare anything it is letting her son have a life where he is appreciated -- and if you find yourself unable to do that, it is better to find him a new person to love him.

I lost my horse of a lifetime to colic 5 years ago. I still miss her all the time, but I don't regret having sold her only baby. He has a great home where he is loved, and no matter how much I might want him to be, he isn't her and can never be her. I sold him before she died so the situation was different, but I've ridden him since and THAT was painful -- like riding a ghost. I don't get on him very often, as it brings it all back.

ETA: and even then I do love him, I just don't want him to be mine!

TBMaggie
Jan. 18, 2010, 02:17 PM
I agree with fordtraktor (mvp - you were a close second!). Hearing people tell you that you'll eventually love the foal, or that time will heal your heart is making you feel like screaming I'm sure. You're mad - mad at the unfairness of it all, mad that you're beloved mare is gone,mad because DAMMIT you feel that you did this to her, mad that your heart feels ripped out of your chest and you can't breathe. I get it. Grief is a nasty business and takes its own sweet time to ebb and flow, and go through all its wicked cycles.

I think that we're doing you a disservice by telling you that YOU WILL love this foal. That's like telling a parent who just lost their child, that it'll be ok, you've got other children to love. Or telling that parent to 'just make another kid.' Your heart has to heal first...let me rephrase that, your heart has to' grow scar tissue over the gaping wound' first (because I don't think these wounds 'heal') - and then you'll be able to address the issue of whether or not you can love again.

I wish you well - and it's ok to grieve, for however long. You'll wake up one day and say to yourself " I'm DONE feeling like this, and I'm ready to move on." :)

Elouise
Jan. 18, 2010, 03:24 PM
I am so sorry for your loss. It doesn't make sense. Life is heartless and cruel at times.

I too, experienced the same thing seven years ago. Horse of a lifetime, lost at foaling her first foal, bottle feeding the baby and finding a nurse mare etc.

Having my "newborn" was a distraction for my loss, but everytime I looked at him I seconded guessed whether I had done the right thing breeding her and how she would still be alive etc., but I have never thought of selling him. I look at him now and realize he is ALOT like her. Ok, he is not as talented, but he is just as sweet and lovable as she was and he has a really great attitude. Get rid of him? Never! I have made arrangements that if he should out live me...he will will be fed and taken care of for the rest of his life. I owe it to "her". She gave her life for him.

And you know what - you could have lost both and then you would have had nothing to remember her by.

Love him for who he is and what he will be.

Good luck. Time heals many wounds.