Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Horse of a Lifetime

Recently, a very dear friend of mine lost her 12-year-old Hanoverian mare unexpectedly. She'd owned Susie since she was around four, having imported her from Germany sight unseen at the recommendation of a trainer.

Over the years, she and Susie had their ups and downs. Just this year when they started showing Prix St. George, I saw a big change in them. It's as if something clicked, and they became real partners. My friend decided she wanted a baby from her mare, so she sent her to be bred. When the mare was palpated, her rectum tore unknown to anyone. Two days later she was in septic shock. (I apologize if I have the terminology wrong, I'm not a vet.) She'd seemed fine until that morning, and it became obvious she was in great pain. Thinking colic, they hauled her to a vet clinic. The clinic rushed her into surgery then realized what the real issue was. There was nothing anyone could do. It appears that the mare had a weakness in her rectum that no one could have known about.

It was a shock to all of us as she was a lovely mare. As you can imagine, my friend is devastated but is determined to buy another horse, preferably a mare. I started wondering, did my friend lose the horse of a lifetime? Is there such a thing? Or are all horses special in their own right, making each one a horse of a lifetime in different ways?

I used to think my old horse, Moses, was my horse of a lifetime. You could do anything with him. Chase cows, jump. do dressage, hunt seat, stock seat, trail ride, and put a little kid on him. I loved that horse. I never thought I'd find another horse like him.

Along comes Gailey--If you've read any of my posts, you know about my trials with that mare and how attached I am to her. I have to say that I would now consider her my horse of a lifetime, yet in a different way. She has so much more talent for dressage than poor Moe ever did. Not to mention, that she's much more attached me that he ever was.

So maybe I've just been lucky and had two horses of a lifetime. I don't know. Any maybe my friend will get lucky, too, and find another horse to equal or surpass Susie. I hope she does, though I know Susie will always be special in her heart.

Do any of you have a horse of a lifetime you'd like to tell us about?


Mrs. Mom said...

I did a horse of my life type of post about 5 or 6 weeks ago... It tore my heart out to write about the old fellow, but the next day it felt like it was Finally time to move forward with another horse. One of the hardest things I ever had to do was say good bye to that horse....

But I will keep him alive in myheart always, and that helps.

Hope that your friend can find peace over her loss as well. Will be thinking of her.

Laura Crum said...

Great post! I've had several horses that I thought, at the time, were my horse of a lifetime. At this point, I realize I've had five horses that truly became "my" horse, and each one brought me some special things that were unique to them (and to my needs at the time I was using them)--sort of like you with Mo and Gailey. So my current opinion is that life brings us the horse we need right now--we just have be alert and pay attention when said horse comes along. I will hold good wishes for your friend that she finds what she needs/wants. What a sad way to lose a horse. I feel for her.

KD said...

I believe that I have my horse of a lifetime right now. I've only owned four in my lifetime and all have been special, but I have a certain "connection" with my mare Stylin.