Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Sadness, Old Horses, and a Free Book

                                    by Laura Crum

            My good friend lost her 33 year old horse last week. He had been having problems getting up and finally one day, he was just unable to get up, and she knew it was time. This doesn’t make it easy. Even when we know it is the right time, it is so hard to lose a horse that has been part of your life for many years.
            I, too, have a 33 year old horse. I bought him when he was three years old and had thirty days riding. I trained him myself and competed on him at several different events. The bridle my son uses on his horse, Henry, features a headstall that Gunner won in a cutting contest many years ago. The trophy buckles Gunner and I won together are in the drawer next to my bed.
            Gunner and I covered a lot of miles. Thirty years of him being my horse. Today he is a bit peggy, but pretty sound. Will trot and lope and even buck and spin a little. Here he is in a picture taken just a few days ago –33 years old. He is growing his winter coat, so looks fuzzy, but I think you can see that his weight is still pretty good.

            I know that Gunner probably doesn’t have many years left.      I bought him when I was 25. He’s been with me the whole time since then. He really is part of my family. I treasure every day with him. But there is an underlying sadness. I know our time is limited.

            My other retired horse, Plumber, has had an off again on again slight lameness in his right front for awhile. Every time I get ready to have the vet out, he seems fine. His feet were trimmed recently and we could find no sign of a bruise or any tenderness using the hoof testers. There is no swelling or heat. No sign of an injury. So I’m just keeping an eye on him.
            Here you see my son giving Plumber (a very friendly horse) a little love.

            Winter is coming. Much as I like fall, I can’t help thinking about the rain (and mud) to come. Horse keeping is so much harder in the winter, especially with old horses. I’m kind of dreading it. So I’m a little sad right now. And then again, its Sept 11th, a day which seems plenty sad enough.
            But, there is much that is good. Sunny enjoys mowing the grass outside the veggie garden…and his bright gold self always makes me smile.

            We go swimming in the ocean on pretty days.

            And we visit the fields where my husband grows begonias—which are in full bloom right now. How pretty is that?

            And there is always riding in the woods.

            Ok, last cheerful thought. My second novel, Hoofprints, will be free as a Kindle edition for the next three days. Starting today, Weds the 11th, and going through Friday the 13th (how fortuitous, right?). Hoofprints has always been one of the most popular books in the series, so if you’d like to check out my mystery novels featuring an equine veterinarian as a protagonist, here’s your chance. Click on the title to find the free Kindle edition. Cutter, the first book in the series, is only 99 cents. Again, click on the title to find the Kindle edition.


Jan said...

I feel your pain. I have an old horse nearing the end and I know a hard decision is coming, faster than I want it to.

Winter is always hard on Harry and with no grass for two years in a row, it's been hard to keep weight on him, even in summer. He's getting a beet pulp, alfalfa pellets, corn and sweet feed mixture soaked, 3x/day. Plus whatever hay he will eat. He's never been a good doer and now in his old age it's really been tough keeping him going.

We just do the best we can and appreciated the days we still have with them.

Gunner still looks really good so hopefully your decision is farther down the road.

Laura Crum said...

Jan--Sounds like you and I are on the same page--in very many ways.

Lara said...

Our old girl was put down in August this year. She had been a hard keeper for several years, but looked good for her. Like your friend's horse, she was simply unable to get up one day. We tried and tried, but it was not to be. They do let you know when it is time. I hope that you both have many more days with yours. They are a treasure.

Laura Crum said...

Thank you, Lara.

Alison said...

Love your garden photo the best (since my gardens are looking woefully sad.) I hope your old horses have an easy winter, and there are no hard decisions to make.