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Lost My Best Friend...

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  • Lost My Best Friend...

    Not even sure why I'm posting, I haven't posted in ages, but I'm going through a really difficult time. 2.5 weeks ago I put down my gelding. He has been fighting some teeth issues and abscesses/infection for a few months, lost so much weight and even after having some teeth removed and seemingly having solved the problem, almost out of nowhere he developed a huge abscess that burst leaving him with a hole in his lower jaw. It was just heartbreaking. More radiographs and surgery would cost thousands and the horse was semi-retired, unsound and had several other (minor) issues. So I decided to put him down. And I feel SOOO guilty and awful and can't stop thinking about the look on his face right before he was put down, eating a big bucket of grain and carrots and not knowing what was coming.

    This was my "forever" horse. My best friend, he was loyal, so honest, goofy but so tough. And he was so beautiful. Sometimes I looked at him and felt so honored to have this beautiful horse to ride and love. I feel so lost without him and sometimes I forget he's gone and then I remember and it feels like I got punched.

    I bought him off the track as a 3 year old, on Valentine's Day 1997, planning to make him my project and resell him as a Childrens / AA jumper. But almost immediately I realized how special and awesome he was. He took me to the high Jr/AO jumpers and when he wasn't staying sound without a lot of maintenance, I retired him from showing at 14, wanting to give him the life he deserved. I really thought I'd have him until he was 30 or something. And I sure didn't think the end would come because of TEETH issues.

    Please, please, please tell me it gets better. This is the first horse I"ve owned and had to put down - the rest were sold. I feel so guilty, like I should have done more. When we showed and jumped, I swear, he would do anything for me. And I didn't do it for him...

  • #2
    I'm so sorry. It's really hard to lose them, but it does get better.
    Horse Show Names Free name website with over 6200 names. Want to add? PM me!


    • #3
      ((hug)) I am sorry for your loss.
      Alis volat propriis.


      • #4
        So very sorry for your loss.

        You will always miss him. Some day you will be able to spend more time remembering the happy times than you spend thinking about how much it hurts that he is not here anymore.


        • #5
          But you DID do it for him. He was semi-retired and already facing a number of other minor issues, and then this happened. And rather than prolong his life on a 'maybe' chance of treatment, you gave him the biggest gift of all ... the comfort of release before things got really bad. You made the decision to give him freedom and peace. That IS everything.

          I've been there, and I understand what you're feeling ... I'm so sorry. It's really hard, but I promise you it gets better. It truly does. It's going to hurt for a while, but you - sometimes literally - just put one foot in front of the other and keep trudging on. It make take time - it's different for everyone - but all of a sudden you'll realize that it's not quite as hard. That doesn't mean you love him any less, it just means that you're continuing on with life, as you should. He knows what you did for him, and he loves you.

          Hugs to you, and may your boy rest in peace.
          In memory of Rebuff (1974-2009)

          Rest in peace, my sweet man


          • #6
            Its gets better. My story was similar to yours – OTTB, gorgeous, honest, LOVED him – had him for years, took me up the levels. Soundness issues caused early semi retirement at 14. One day while playing in the paddock he shattered his pasterns, and had to be put down. I didn’t even explore surgery options, knew I did not have the $, and he was not a candidate for that level of stall rest / rehab.

            I was destroyed. He was my partner and a part of my life EVERY day from the time I was a young teen, into my mid 20’s. I cried, A LOT, and little things would remind me, bringing up the feelings of loss months later.

            Years have passed now, and I no longer morn Gage. I can talk about it without crying or feeling bad now.

            It DOES get easier, but it will take time.

            Hugs to you
            APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman


            • #7
              You did the most unselfis thing for him you could

              At a great emotional cost to yourself.

              Will it get better? I'm not sure it gets "better", with time, and some take a long long time, it gets easier to deal with.

              I had a lot of guilt when we put Miles down. Endlessly beating myself up with "I didn't do enough for him, spend enough time with him, one more walk wouldn't have killed me" that stuff.

              Try not to, just remember he'd have done anything for you, that was in his power.

              He would have asked you if he could.


              • #8
                You DID do everything for him. I have never lost a horse (sold 3) so I can't imagine what you are going through, but I do know grief fades over time. I cried myself to sleep for months and months before and after my mother's death - knew it was coming, was praying for it at the end, for a release from suffering.

                Hugs to you. It will get better. Don't be so hard on yourself.
                What's wrong with you?? Your cheese done slid off its cracker?!?!


                • #9
                  Don't beat yourself up, you did the best you could, and I'm sure saved him much suffering. It does get better, but you can't rush grief. I'm so sorry. Hugs.


                  • #10
                    It is such a hard decision, to let them go. I put down my semi-retired mare when she was 17. A hard worker who had too much arthritis and not any desire to be a pasture puff. Stall rest was her worst enemy because of her joint problems. She colicked and could have been saved by surgery. The rehab and stall rest would have been disastrous for her. I let her go because the 6-8 weeks back would have made her desperately miserable. She gave me years of heart and saddle time. My gift was to let her go with some dignity. I still feel guilty,but I truly knew her so well and made my decision based on that. It sounds like you have done the same. Hugs to you.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by PinkPonies View Post
                      Please, please, please tell me it gets better. This is the first horse I"ve owned and had to put down - the rest were sold. I feel so guilty, like I should have done more. When we showed and jumped, I swear, he would do anything for me. And I didn't do it for him...
                      It does get better and as cliche as it sounds... Time will heal this wound. You may never stop missing him, but one day, you will think of him and no tear will form, you will smile. I know it.

                      I think you did do everything for him. There is nothing wrong with offering a good death when that time comes. Horses dont' have a concept of the future like humans do. They live in the here and now, and it sounds to me like your horse had a great here and now. You did right by him, I promise you that. Hugs.
                      Dreaming in Color


                      • #12
                        I am so sorry. There are many of us here who have been through it and understand how you are feeling. It sounds as if you made the right decision for your friend.

                        It has been three years since I lost my best equine friend, and I still miss her every day, but it does get better. There are so many kind folks on this board who understand and can offer support. Believe me, you are not alone.

                        In loving memory of Chutney (1977 - 2008)


                        • #13
                          So sorry for your loss.
                          You sound exactly like one of my cyberfriends who had to put down her best friend (love of her life) on Sunday. She'd had him 18 years and he was a 27 yo OTTB. Tooth problems, abscessed jaw, loss of weight, diseased tongue... general infection. It broke her heart and I can understand it totally.
                          Soon, the good memories will replace the sad ones.

                          Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened!


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by FalseImpression View Post
                            Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened!
                            That is probably the best thing I've ever heard said to someone mourning the loss of a loved one, animal or human. Thank you.
                            Originally posted by EquineImagined
                            My subconscious is a wretched insufferable beotch.


                            • #15
                              Bless you for "helping' him cross the bridge ~ the toughest part of loving a horse

                              Bless you for having enough love for your horse to help him cross the Rainbow Bridge ~

                              Simply the toughest assignmnt of horse ownership ~

                              Please take care of yourself during this impossible period of grief ~

                              Time and more time will help you adjust from the pain to some peace in knowing you 'completed' what needed to be done ~

                              ((hugs)) ~ we have all been "where' you are and understand ~
                              Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "


                              • #16
                                I'm so sorry for your loss. It will get better. You will take comfort in your many special memories.
                                By FalseImpression : Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened!"
                                Your best boy is smiling now.


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by PinkPonies View Post
                                  Please, please, please tell me it gets better. This is the first horse I"ve owned and had to put down - the rest were sold. I feel so guilty, like I should have done more. When we showed and jumped, I swear, he would do anything for me. And I didn't do it for him...
                                  Yes, you did. You gave him a wonderful life for the time you had him and then gave him the gift of peace when his health gave out. So sorry for your loss.

                                  Someone said to me, in regards to my Snoopy cat who died very suddenly of cancer this spring (at age 13, too young in my opinion): "It isn't the end that matters so much, it is all the time and love that came before."
                                  JB-Infinity Farm


                                  • #18
                                    Ditto everyone who said you did what you could, and didn't prolong his suffering. I haven't been there yet with a horse, but have with a cat and it is so hard. But time heals all wounds, and you will eventually be able to look back at all your happy memories with him. Big hugs to you in this difficult time.


                                    • #19
                                      I passed over this thread three times just because I could not emotionally bring my self to read it.

                                      I am so sorry for your loss. It will get better over time and you can take comfort in knowing you did what was best for your boy. It will get easier over time but there are moments when it is like you get sucker punched out of the blue.

                                      Here is a big hug from NC .......Hang in there!!!


                                      • #20
                                        You have performed the most difficult sacrament of a horseman. The reasons were right, the time was right and you gave him a painless death he didn't see coming. That's a lot more than most people are destined to get.

                                        Grieve him as long as you like; no one worth knowing will judge you. Then, when you're ready; ask him to Send you Someone. The next one will find you, and if your mind is open you will Know.

                                        The world is full of so many animals who need someone to care about them the way you cared about your horse--I believe we outlive them for a reason; so we can share our lives with more than one.

                                        Someone out there will be waiting for you . . . and he will help you with everything you learned from him.

                                        All the Best!