The Chronicle of the Horse
MagazineNewsHorse SportsHorse CareCOTH StoreVoicesThe Chronicle UntackedDirectoriesMarketplaceDates & Results
 
Results 1 to 17 of 17
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar. 30, 2004
    Location
    Lexington, KY
    Posts
    2,969

    Default Need some help, having nightmares over having lost my horse last year

    I put down one of my two horses in October of last year after a long, downward spiral. I hadn't ridden her at all since January of '10 and I was almost relieved when she died that she was out of pain and I wasn't spending huge amounts of time and energy worrying and fussing over her and trying to fix the impossible. I cried the first week afterward, and then I cried when I went back to the barn where I boarded her, but other than that I've just been happy that it's over for her, and that I don't have to wonder each day whether she's better or worse.

    My other (newer) horse was seriously injured back in March of last year, right after my first horse really went downhill as well, and I spent six months rehabbing him at the same time I was taking care of my first horse. I've finally been riding him regularly, and really enjoying it, when three weeks ago my SO, thinking he was being helpful, went to the barn without asking me, took my young horse out to try and give him a bath at the old (semi-rotted, nobody uses it) hitching post with cold water (my horse is jumpy around water, hates cold water, and SO doesn't know how to tie a quick-release knot that I'm aware of. Horse is also difficult to lead when not in his comfort zone if you're not a horse-person, and is quite impressionable to bad experiences) and THANK GOD that my BO intervened and thinking that I knew what was going on and had okayed it, had him go up to the other warm-water wash rack and bathe him. SO then hung a feed bucket without asking me either (he'd gotten hung up twice already and escaped serious consequences, so I'd said I didn't want him to hang another bucket, but I guess I didn't draw him a good enough diagram as to why not).

    Long story short, my horse gets himself hung up badly on the bucket, the handle pierced through the butt strap on his blanket, he steps into and through the bucket, and then runs around like a maniac with a 5-gallon rubber bucket attached to his rear tendons. He ended up with a shoulder bruise, a chest hematoma, swelling in the leg with the bucket attached, and then two days after the swelling goes down in both places and the vet sees him, his OTHER hind leg is swollen, but goes down with exercise. No lameness, I'm still stumped.

    Problem is, I've been having nightmares since horse #2 got hung up on his bucket where horse #1, the mare I put down, is having some emergency i.e. colic, laminitis, broken legs, and I can't get to her to save her. My dreams are really realistic, and in them, I'm working really hard to try and save her, but I wake up panicking in the middle of the night every couple of days now and it's really hard to sleep. SO has been handling the whole thing terribly, and I'm horrified about that, honestly. The thought of losing the other one while I'm still grieving the other horse is too much, and SO had been there and known me the whole time I was working on trying to fix horse #1.

    I need some sort of COTH magic from people who actually understand why you don't go to your girlfriend's barn when you know NOTHING about horses and handling them, and try to bathe/hang/kill her horse. And then, you neglect to mention it and leave it to the BO to text your girlfriend about the whole thing. Really? Aside from the SO issues involved, I just need some online hugs from people who've grieved a long time, and letting go of the fears for horse #2 even though I feel like I just lost horse #1.
    send some of their smart literate deer who can read road signs up here since ours are just run of the mill dumb ones who get splatted all over creation because they won't stay in the woods



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov. 29, 2007
    Location
    IL
    Posts
    1,190

    Default

    Oh, wow. MAJOR hugs for you.....what a mess.

    My first horse was a health disaster almost from day one. When she finally colicked and was PTS, I was devastated, but also RELIEVED--her multiple issues meant she was often uncomfortable and unhappy, and caring for her was a big financial and emotional drain for me.

    I pick up my new horse a month or so later. Less than 6 months later, new horse goes through a fence, sustains major injury, requires intensive after care and 3 months off. Horse recovers, goes back to work--and 6 weeks later pops a major splint requiring surgery and another 3 months off.

    Regarding your SO--when you say he's handling it horribly, what do you mean? Is he guilt-ridden or shrugging the whole thing off?

    I am 100% OCD about the care of my animals. Last night I arrived home to find my husband frantically searching for my little dog (who is like my heart)--he slipped through a gap in the fence--a gap I'd been asking my husband to fix for MONTHS.

    We found the dog, thank god. I am kind of a high-strung, type A individual and my first instinct was to just absolutely skewer my husband for letting the dog get out. But--he was just as upset as I was--so I let it go.

    Regardless--I am jingling for a smooth recovery for your horse and some major stress relief for you!
    friend of bar.ka



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct. 27, 2010
    Location
    Nevada
    Posts
    2,561

    Default

    First of all, condolences on the loss of your first horse last year.

    Second, have a long talk with SO about horses, care and handling of same and why what he tried to do was kind and thoughtful it was also dangerous if you don't really know what you are doing....and spend some time actually teaching him some basics...the day could come when you are ill or injured or something and he's the one that will HAVE to take care of things..you should make sure he knows how.

    Third, get current horse desensitized to ordinary sorts of things around him so he doesn't spaz out over everything....no reason for him to not lead quietly/safely anywhere a person (doesn't have to be a horse person) leads him for instance...or spaz over water or get hung up in buckets (what kind of bucket is he getting hung up in anyway?) or flip out over stepping into or against one.
    Colored Cowhorse Ranch
    www.coloredcowhorseranch.com
    Northern NV



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun. 30, 2005
    Posts
    2,185

    Default

    I lost two horses two weeks apart last year. It was terribly horrific to lose both of my boys at the same time. After the second one was put down I started having night terrors and nightmares. It went on for about two weeks but then they went away. I was having dreams about people and animals in my life all in horrible scary situations. I was a very difficult time for me but I think that my mind was just trying to deal with it.

    I think that we grieve longer than we realize sometimes. It was the one year anniversary to my beloved Whiskey's death yesterday. Some days I go along just fine and others I feel just as heartbroke as I was the day he died.

    Just give yourself some time and understand that you may still be grieving and the incident with your other horse just brought it to the surface again......

    Good luck
    RIP Sucha Smooth Whiskey
    May 17,2004 - March 29, 2010
    RIP San Lena Peppy
    May 3, 1991 - March 11, 2010



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec. 9, 2008
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    122

    Default

    I'm so sorry for your loss. It's always so tough and then it makes you even more nervous about the horse or horses you still have. I know what you mean.

    That said, I agree with the other comments about teaching your SO about horse handling and care, but then also make sure he understands this is your horse so you need to know everything going on with him. I taught my SO a lot about horse handling and care, which has really paid off. He's been able to help me with all aspects of my barn work and horse care. He can give shots in an emergency (in case I'm not there), knows how to recognize early signs of colic and checks the horses over thoroughly for injuries. It took awhile, but it was well worth it.

    As far as your nightmares go, they may start to go away more if you aren't worried about your SO incorrectly handling your horse (and you've been able to teach him some horse skills)- even though his intentions are good. Also, time is the best thing too. Keep us posted and hugs to you!



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr. 6, 2010
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    2,084

    Default

    Condolences on the loss of your horse. Mine was a tragic accident in front of me and while the screaming, crying nightmares are behind me they do sneak up on me sometimes. Watching a race horse break down is traumatic watching your own heart horse break down when she was coming to see you is a whole nother thing. Time really does heal all wounds though I went to a counselor for mine. My parents knew me well enough to know I could not cope with what had happened and they were right. It does get better day after day especially as you fill up your memories with the new horse and good memories.

    If he/she is significant enough to know where the barn is then he/she can take a course in horse management taught by me. DH can't sit a horse to save his life but he knows how to tie a quick release knot, groom and lead whatever horse I or DD is riding. In that same tone though neither DD or I ride anything other than beginner horses. If the horse is an advanced or young horse I'm all for the touch it and die speech unless they really are dedicated to learning how to handle it properly.
    Adoring fan of A Fine Romance
    Originally Posted by alicen:
    What serious breeder would think that a horse at that performance level is push button? Even so, that's still a lot of buttons to push.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    May. 15, 2008
    Posts
    838

    Default

    so sorry about the nightmares and your horse.

    as far as teaching the SO- i think it's really helpful to give them a job that they CAN do correctly in order to build confidence and skills- horses are always more comfortable around people that are confident handling them!

    I am INSANELY ocd picky about how and who my horses is handled by, and my DH knows that. He also likes horses, but knew nothing about them or thier care when we started dating. I always gave him something to do when we went to the barn so that he could feel helpful, and he was secretly learning and building confidence the whole time without feeling like i was just bossing him around (which i was). I would ask him to help me groom and talk about how my mare doesn't like to be curried, and lead into a convo about how some horses are more sensitive than others, just like people- etc. Before i knew it, he learned exactly where to stand so that she could see him, which brushes she will tolerate and which ones she doesn't like- and lots about equine body language. Then he learned why we do everything like leading and mounting from the left (the sword story) and when he saw a horse flemming once, he pointed it out to me and turns out the horse was choking! So he felt VERY important after that, and now notices everything each horse around him is doing and wants to know why- which is awesome. I trust him with my mare if I can't get to the barn for some reason and although I don't think I would let him bathe her, I'm sure your SO had good intentions.

    Make your SO feel like an important part of your horsey life and he will learn the proper ways to handle horses in the process. It sounds like he WANTS to be involved. It's just like teaching kids in school, they do so much better when they feel like they can suceed- so give him something to succeed at! Good luck and I'm sending happy, healthy horsey jingles your way!
    Jazz- 4.9.01 OTTB, loved since 12.6.09
    Skip- 3.3.91 APHA, i miss you buddy



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr. 20, 2010
    Location
    Harpers Ferry, WV
    Posts
    2,814

    Default Hugs

    I don't have any great, profound advice about the dreams. Very sorry about your loss. I do understand that sometimes after a long battle with a horse's injury or illness, it is a relief when it is over. That's ok. I agree that is nice that your SO is trying to be involved and helpful, just try and educate him. Guys, well you know. Anyway, my thoughts and prayers are with you. Big Hugs.
    www.Somermistfarm.com
    Hunter Ponies & Quality GSDs
    www.UnleashedK9.net



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr. 14, 2007
    Location
    Pen Argyl PA
    Posts
    3,877

    Default

    I feel that you are experiencing guilt and anxiety. I have found this is normal for those in this situation. For some reason we tend to feel guilt over our horses. I feel daily guilt b/c I can't be there as often as I wish. I hope you can find peace.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun. 7, 2008
    Location
    now in KCMO, and plan to stay there
    Posts
    3,122

    Default

    I am so sorry, definitely am sending virtual hugs. On the how to explain to your (perhaps soon to be EX?) SO, tell him it would be as if he had a highly complex and expensive piece of equipment, such as a Maserati or a collectible motorcycle, and decided the 18 year old kid on his first job at the quik-e-lube would be qualified to work on it. Your horse = highly complex and SO = a know-nothing who eff'd up big time.

    No matter how good his intentions were, he completely disrespected you and your expertise by even attempting this on his own. Considering his apparent lack of horse knowledge, in order for him even to have attempted this, he must have thought 'piece of cake, how hard can it be'. Even if he had the best of intentions, he should have asked you about it first.

    sigh...more hugs coming your way...hope you and horsey will be OK
    Last edited by sdlbredfan; Mar. 30, 2011 at 09:00 PM. Reason: clarity
    Jeanie
    RIP Sasha, best dog ever, pictured shortly before she died, Death either by euthanasia or natural causes is only the end of the animal inhabiting its body; I believe the spirit lives on.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb. 11, 2011
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    556

    Default

    Candle, I know all about dreams like these, as well as the dreams you can have that will free your soul and give peace.
    First of all you need to give yourself at least a week and completely let go. Cry, cry all the time, cry so hard your face hurts. Talk to your horses. Apologize for everything you think you might have done wrong, everything that you might have done differently (even though this is irrational, hindsight is 20/20, but your subconscious doesn't accept that).
    Focus on everything that hurts so bad while you are awake until it starts to fade, until you arent thinking about it all the time.
    Given enough time of such hard grieving your subconscious will start to let the good memories and thoughts back in.
    I did this when my first, best horse, Pasha, died. Now I ride him in my dreams at least once a week. I got him back.
    "Reason is, and ought to be, the slave of passions." David Hume



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun. 20, 2000
    Location
    Full time in Delhi, NY!
    Posts
    6,398

    Default

    Okay, first hugs to you on the loss of your mare and the anxiety over your youngster.

    Now to the SO, it's so hard when they're trying to be helpful and they just succeed in screwing things up royally. Last year, my fiance' let my old jrt (13) out onto the deck to potty forgetting that she preferred to potty downstairs on the grass. So he went inside, and long story short, she dislocated a hip falling down a flight of 15 stairs. We tried to have it repaired but it didn't heal well. So with every lame step Fiance' is reminded that he caused this. This is my heart dog and she had another unrelated health problem this has only exasperated. But each day I remind myself he didn't intend to hurt her, that if he could change things he would've. So I just stepped up the gentle teaching of things (he went from having two well adjusted dogs to 6 jrts. ) If on the other hand, he's not accepting responsibility, and you don't like his explanation for not telling you about the incident, weeeeeeeell, maybe you need to discuss just how significant he's going to remain.

    Finally the dreams. A lot depends about how much control you have over your regular dreams. Can you change a dream that is unpleasant now? If so, then when you begin to have a nightmare, you need to tell yourself "Wake UP NOW". My more off the wall suggestion would be to contact an animal communicator and ask them to speak to your mare so you can have some closure. I'm addressing this issue now with a communicator (well next week) and I'll PM you her info if I think she was helpful (and worth the money). Finally, if you can, find a quiet place and try to remember your mare as she really was, with all of her issues, and remember why you let her go. Give yourself the permission to be relieved at her passing. Accept what you can't change and thank her for being the horse she was and tell her you hope she's without pain and can understand why you made the hard decision to let her go. Forgive yourself for having to make the only humane decision and tell your mare goodbye. When you can accept what has happened and own it, you will stop having nightmares.
    ~Kryswyn~ Always look on the bright side of life, de doo, de doo de doo de doo
    Check out my Kryswyn JRTs on Facebook

    "Life is merrier with a terrier!"



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul. 13, 2008
    Posts
    2,846

    Default

    Oh, ow. Poor OP. You got blindsided by the way that even though you made it through the sad loss of your mare, something else could happen to your other horse. I mean, of course you knew that, but having something actually happen and in such a silly, unpredictable way is different. It's emotionally shocking. You're still grieving your mare, which is fine. Try not to focus on what you can't control. And now I sound like Oprah, so I'll shut up.

    Jingles on your horse, and on getting some rest. Don't beat yourself up.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug. 3, 2009
    Posts
    850

    Default

    Candle, I am also sorry for all that you have gone through and your losing your mare. And your SO was wrong, 100% wrong to even think it was right to do what he did without asking. He has no skills, knowledge to take on the resonsiblity to handle another's horse.

    Your dream: sounds like same dream with emergency being one of the 3 listed and more. If the dream will allow, see if you can watch, face it, even the feeling of not being able to save her. Perhaps, your late horse is telling you, IT IS ok, there was nothing more you could do.... i.e., can not save her. But that doesn't mean it will be the same for another horse's situation. Don't loose your confidence or heart in working out or on the hard cases i..e, your current problem caused by bucket error.

    Blessing for you to find the answers. You are seeking, you will be lead to what makes sense......and the answer

    Quote Originally Posted by Candle View Post
    , when three weeks ago my SO, thinking he was being helpful, went to the barn without asking me, took my young horse out to try and give him a bath

    Problem is, I've been having nightmares since horse #2 got hung up on his bucket where horse #1, the mare I put down, is having some emergency i.e. colic, laminitis, broken legs, and I can't get to her to save her. My dreams are really realistic, and in them, I'm working really hard to try and save her, but I wake up panicking in the middle of the night every couple of days now and it's really hard to sleep. SO has been handling the whole thing terribly, and I'm horrified about that, honestly. The thought of losing the other one while I'm still grieving the other horse is too much, and SO had been there and known me the whole time I was working on trying to fix horse #1.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan. 21, 2011
    Location
    Listening area of beoootiful K-Mud
    Posts
    139

    Default

    I can share what I used successfully for dreadful nightmares (when I did sleep which was not often, and sleep deprivation is an awfully vicious circle). After my Jack Russell died horribly (preventable, it was from vet malpractice) and about the third night dreaming of hearing him screaming, and not being one who likes to think about a medical partnership with Big Pharma, I went looking for holistic-type help. I had used Rescue Remedy before, most everyone has discovered that at one time or another (and they even have it for pets now in a tincture made w/o alchol) so I was sort of leaning that way anyhow. So, I used Rescue Remedy in the day time and at night I used a Bach Flower Essence called "Rock Rose." it might not work for everyone, but it did calm my mind enough that I wasn't afraid to try to sleep for what I might end up dreaming.

    I am so sorry for your loss. Losing a beloved horse or dog (or human, for that matter) never gets more bearable and you don't ever really "get over" the loss, but after a time it does get easier to set the grief aside and go forward and begin to focus on the good memories - but you can't force that.

    As for the other, some tough stuff: either lay down some hard and fast ground rules for your SO or get rid of him before he either hurts another animal (or you) or hurts himself and sues YOU over it - and if that it might not be him personally but his health insurer coming after you if he gets hurt and makes a claim for fixing his owies. He isn't doing you any favors if what happened above is any indication. Don't play "nice" - horses are large and they are unpredictable at the best of times and if he doesn't "get" that part he needs to stick with the audience seating.
    “Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounded by @$$ho!es." ~ William Gibson



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun. 22, 2008
    Location
    Outside Ocala FL - Horse Capital of the World
    Posts
    6,190

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Candle View Post
    I need some sort of COTH magic from people who actually understand why you don't go to your girlfriend's barn when you know NOTHING about horses and handling them, and try to bathe/hang/kill her horse. And then, you neglect to mention it and leave it to the BO to text your girlfriend about the whole thing. Really? Aside from the SO issues involved, I just need some online hugs from people who've grieved a long time, and letting go of the fears for horse #2 even though I feel like I just lost horse #1.
    That part would really bug me to no end (or maybe enough to end the relationship perhaps), that he didn't have the guts to tell you about the whole bad incident? You had to find out via text message from the BO? I would be having some serious trust issues based on that.

    Letting go of the fears for your living horses is the hardest part for me, I lost a 2-year old to a broken leg, and I still get nervous now if I see any of the others standing a bit "funny", until I get close enough to see that they are just resting that leg. And it has been 5 years.

    I do agree that you are doing a good thing for yourself by trying to come to a solution to the issue of the bad dreams, I just wish I had some advice.
    There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec. 7, 2010
    Posts
    598

    Default

    I am so sorry for you.

    I have had recurring nightmares before. One where I was driving a horse trailer (like the big semi truck ones) and hit and killed a child.

    It made me scared to go to sleep. And I felt very guilty even when I was awake.

    Some things that helped me:
    - spending about a half hour in bed before sleeping, just relaxing or reading
    - keeping the room quiet...I have more nightmares when my husband is watching TV or making noise
    - thinking about the dream before I go to sleep and facing how terrible it made me feel, and calming myself down, making myself realize that I didn't actually do anything wrong
    - taking melatonin and making sure I get plenty of sleep.

    As far as the "horse-incompetent" SO goes, I feel your pain. I get snippy with my husband when he does something that, to me, is an obviously stupid thing to do around horses. Like when I made the mistake of asking him to hand me the dressage whip. Yep, he just reached up with it without regard to the horse, and I went for a little ride! My poor husband tries hard to help. He just makes mistakes. I try to give him jobs he can do, like videotaping me. But he would never make a mistake and then not tell me about it if it was that important. I would have a long talk with the SO about horse =/= dog.

    Good luck and hang in there.



Similar Threads

  1. Remembering those we have lost this year
    By mustangsal85 in forum Eventing
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: Dec. 30, 2011, 01:13 PM
  2. Burned out and lost (long) *1 year update, post 28
    By annon_question in forum Hunter/Jumper
    Replies: 30
    Last Post: Sep. 5, 2011, 11:47 PM
  3. 2010 Memorial Thread for Those We Lost This Year
    By Diamondindykin in forum Off Course
    Replies: 34
    Last Post: Dec. 28, 2010, 04:36 PM
  4. Horses and nightmares?
    By doublesstable in forum Horse Care
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: Apr. 26, 2010, 11:52 PM
  5. The Lost Thread...what are your two year olds doing?
    By Hocus Focus in forum Sport Horse Breeding
    Replies: 40
    Last Post: Jul. 12, 2008, 07:38 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •