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Mourning the Loss

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  • Mourning the Loss

    I am not sure where to put this as I have never needed to before but struggling with the loss of one of my horses and thought I would come where people would understand.

    We had to put Matt/Mattey down on Sunday. He had had some health issues and was in the hospital for colic a few weeks ago. He spiked a fever on Saturday, the vet came out and treated for tick fever, and then I found him colicking Sunday morning. Sunday afternoon at 12:30 we put him down in his field that he shared with his buddies. He is buried atop the hill.

    He was my youngest at 15 and my favorite. He was the sweetest horse and prettiest too if I do say so. He was a Canadian bred TB that I got through CANTER at the Charles Town racetrack. We evented though with my crazy work schedule haven't competed in three years and haven't ridden much at all for the past 2 years. But I took care of him and his friends and always looked forward to seeing his face and getting his nicker hello. Matt was a handful at times, one person dubbed his meltdowns as the hamster falling off the wheel but I never dismounted without a smile on my face. He taught me so much about riding.

    I know how much I love these guys, and how much I love him, but his passing has hit me much harder than I expected. I am sitting in my office right now crying and hoping no one notices.

    Any suggestions on memorial ideas? I have his tail hair and want to make something of it, he had an amazing tail especially for a TB. I think we are going to plant a tree or something on his grave when the weather is nicer as well to always mark the spot.

    Any words of wisdom on how to get through this time? This was a horse that should have had another 10 years left in him.
    Grab mane and kick on!


  • #2
    I have mourned the potential loss of my heart horse for so long that I don't know if it will be better or worse than my fears when it actually happens. It is true that grief is the price we pay for love so wear your pain as a testament to the love you shared. I really like www.petloss.com the people there are incredibly supportive and seem to love to let you go on and on about your beloved pet. Godspeed, sorry for your loss.
    McDowell Racing Stables

    Home Away From Home


    • #3
      So very sorry for your loss. I have not ever lost a horse, cannot imagine. Hard enough with my kitties.
      What's wrong with you?? Your cheese done slid off its cracker?!?!


      • #4
        It will just take time. That is my only suggestion... IMO truly nothing can make you heal any faster. Just take all the time you need to grieve and allow yourself to be sad.

        I tried so hard to get over my first horse when he died, I really compartmentalized it. It was literally four years before I could look at a palomino without my heart hurting. I cried nearly every day for a year... I think because I was pushing myself so hard. And I had a totally unsuitable rescue left, so I was also miserable in my horse life which made me miss him so much more.


        • #5
          the NOT!! Spoiled!! Arabian Protectavest poster pony lives on in my heart


          • #6
            I wish I had some wise words to share, but I don't. I'm sitting her with tears streaming down my face and it's been over 10 months since I lost my Bluey. The pain is less sharp,but it's still there.


            • #7
              Part of owning animals is losing them.
              No way to handle each any one loss any one way but how it hits you when it does.
              Planting a tree anywhere in his name would be very nice.
              I am glad for the years they were here, although still missing them when you used to see them out there.
              I am still snapping the chain, even if our old man is not around any more to open chained gates not snapped and go for a sightseeing trip.

              Give yourself some time and focus on your other horses.
              You are there for them and they are there for you now.


              • Original Poster

                Thank you everyone for your kind words. Thank you Laurie, I will check them out. Sigh, it just sucks.
                Grab mane and kick on!



                • #9
                  I just lost one the end of December. Tears come spontaneously at odd times. I try, when sad thoughts arise, to think of a happy memory of him -- rather than the fact that he's gone. And I remind myself that we only get to have them for a short time -- nothing is forever.

                  I don't think we ever get over being sad about the loss of the special ones -- there are so few of them in our lives. Hugs to you. Godspeed to Mattey.


                  • #10
                    Tincture of time is the only cure, and it really isn't a cure so much as the ability to finally start remembering your boy with love and laughter instead of tears and mourning.

                    It does get easier to bear, I promise. Not today, not tomorrow, and not for many tomorrows to come, but it does.

                    My deepest, most heartfelt condolences. You've just joined a very large club whose members would rather nobody else ever enter their ranks.

                    I cried almost non-stop the first year after I lost my boy. Five and a half years later, the joy at having shared my life with him far outweighs the sorrow of his loss. You'll never not miss him, but you will reach a point where you'll bless the time you had with him, instead of cursing the time you lost.
                    Homeopathy claims water can cure you since it once held medicine. That's like saying you can get sustenance from an empty plate because it once held food.


                    • #11
                      When I lost my beloved Rush, it left a huge hole in my heart that went unfilled for years, despite owning different horses after him. I perfectly understand how hard it is, and you have my deepest sympathy and condolences. **hugs**

                      I made several braids of his tail hair before having him put down, one of which I sent to my best friend who had moved out of state that we had shared countless hours in the saddle on the trails together. Several years went by and I unexpectedly received a package in the mail from her. She had had to put one of her other horses down, and went looking for ways to commemorate him. She found an artist lady out in California who made clay pots/urn, etc, and would take the animal hair you send her and somehow drape it onto the clay as it was being hardened so that it would be forever "fired" onto the surface in a totally unique pattern. (kinda hard to explain) Anyway, my friend sent in Rush's tail hair I had sent her and had a small pot made for me-- one of my most treasured belongings. I took my own braid I had saved and curled it up in the pot, a perfect keepsafe place. If this interests you, try to do a search online. In the meantime, I'll try to see if I still have the artist's card that came with the pot.

                      A few months ago I was talking to another friend of mine, and I brought up a memory of Rush, and she said something that really meant a lot to me-- "Good horses are definitely good memories, too." While you may never have another horse that completely fills that void Matt left (and they'll have some awfully big shoes to fill!), I promise you that time will heal this wound and you will find another special horse to share your heart with.


                      • #12
                        It is different every time.

                        We lost our 30 year old to a pasture misstep.
                        He was here today, healthy and fat and sassy and then, poof!, gone.
                        That was 2 1/2 years ago and still miss him.

                        Lost one of my favorite ranch horses last fall to a two year old stifle injury.
                        We could not manage it any more to keep him comfortable.
                        Joint draining and pain killers were not effective any more.
                        It was time and he is not missed in the same way.
                        There is comfort that he is not hurting any more.
                        While still very sad, it feels right he is not out there now.

                        Every horse is different, how we feel when they are gone also different for each one.


                        • #13
                          not much helps, i had to push it to the back of my mind when those thoughts would come creeping in. what has helped with the loss of our dogs was to help another in need. Donate to a cause in your horse's name.


                          • #14
                            We have lost quite a few horses in the past few years at my barn mainly because we have a LOT of 30+ year old seniors. The boarders chipped in a bought a beautiful wrought iron bench this Christmas. Hopefully this spring we will layout a Memorial garden to put it in. I wanted somewhere to go when the time comes for my guy.
                            McDowell Racing Stables

                            Home Away From Home


                            • #15
                              It's so difficult, and I'm so sorry for your loss. Hoofbeats-in-heaven.com has been comforting to me many times. There's also a wonderful community over there - very supportive.
                              Dapplebay - home of original equestrian clothing and accessories.


                              • #16
                                Here is a link to a lady in the Winchester area that does braided horsehair items. I have seen some of her work, including bracelets and little horsehair angels.


                                I always thought a tree is a lovely idea, to mark a resting place and to provide shade and comfort in the future. I can't say I know how you feel, or how long it will take for the pain to become bearable, but my best wishes are with you. (((hugs))) - Jessie
                                Leap, and the net will appear


                                • #17
                                  I'm so sorry for your loss. Time will help you look back with smiles.
                                  Donald Trump - proven liar, cheat, traitor and sexual predator! Hillary Clinton won in 2016, but we have all lost.


                                  • #18
                                    I'm so sorry. Sending hugs. As everyone has mentioned, only time will help. I've had quite a few dogs put down over the years, and it never gets easier, but time has helped with each one. At first the grief is horrible. You may find that you replay the final days/moments over and over, and feel guilty that you couldn't do more. But you ended the suffering which is the greatest gift of love you can give, because in doing so you know that the pain will be your's alone to bear. They are free of suffering.

                                    Eventually, you will be able to think of them and smile at the memories, and not cry about the thought of him. Honoring his memory with a donation to a horse in need is a great way to help yourself heal.


                                    • #19
                                      When my beloved first mare died, I took her halter, some tail hair, and a few other things and put them in a paper bag. I stored them out of sight in a safe place until I was ready to look at them again. It took a few years. When I married and moved away from the place she was buried, I buried some of her saved tail hair in a nice wooden box that had meaning for me and placed in the flower garden I started at our new farm. Her wooden grave sign is there as well. It does make me feel better because part of her is still close.
                                      “Pray, hope, and don't worry.”

                                      St. Padre Pio


                                      • #20
                                        So sorry for your loss.

                                        It does get better with time. I too have a tail and halter collection, it brings me comfort now some time removed from the deaths.

                                        Some of them have affected me more than others. I had to put my very nice, big hearted wonderful 6 yr old down recently (got unfixably injured- wasn't ever going to be pasture sound), and I am still sad about it, but not heartbroken.

                                        But my Rottie. Oh man, I put her down almost three years ago and I am almost crying just writing this. And my emotion regarding her has mellowed over time. Still absolutly crushed and heartbroken over her loss.

                                        But, I know that it will get better I was devastated when I had to put down this nice little mare I had a few years ago, I was very, very sad about it for some time, and now I can look back and not be super duper sad.

                                        My father always says that the problem with animals is that they just don't live long enough. ((HUGS))
                                        Unrepentant carb eater