Ironically, I had already been thinking about this sharing this realization last week. But, it struck me especially hard on Thursday night one of my boarders called and asked me to come help her give her horse a dose of Banamine. He wouldn’t stay up long enough to give him the injection. You might remember a spunky grey horse having colic surgery this summer? Well, Twispy has had a hard past few months, colicing every two months. We changed little things about his feeding routine, we watched him closely during weather changes, and did all that we could to prevent these episodes. Even though Twisp had a solid veterinary team behind him, we still we could not figure out a trigger. Thursday night was especially bad. This horse could go from normal to extremely painful in no time, so every time had to be treated seriously. His owner sensed this time was different, though, that he wouldn’t recover and a second surgery was not an option. I helped her until the equine vet came, and learned later during the night that after many attempts to help him, they decided his prognosis for recovery was poor and euthanized him. Twisp’s owner is a vet herself, and she knows how these things go. But that doesn’t make it any less devastating. She had so many hopes and dreams for this horse, and I have no doubt they could’ve jumped the moon together.
So, my barn owner confessional is this: I care about my boarders much more than I let on. As if their horses were my own and their owners were my family. I grieve when they grieve, and I love their horses more than they’ll ever know.
My daughter was with me that evening when we went up to help with Twisp. She has loved-on that horse, even lead him to his stall from turnout, and now her little eyes have seen his suffering. The next day I explained what happened, and without prompting, she simply said, “but he’s not dead. He’s alive. Because he’ll always be alive in my heart.”
She gets it.