I've actually been trying to figure out how to write this post for the last little while. Being that we are a Sanctuary, we deal with death on a somewhat regular basis, at least more regular than most. Aging bodies, stiff joints, grumpy horses, its' all a part of what we are.
But I'm sometimes taken aback by the lifecycle. I've been driving to the paying job from the Sanctuary for over 10 years. I always drive by a pair of horses. There was once a third but he left. I've never talked with the owners, I've never met the horses. I simply drive by and enjoy their brief company. In the past three years, I typically only see them on the way to work because I take a different route to pick up the kids from daycare. And with winters, I typically don't see anything but the road in front of me so it wasn't until daylight savings time that I saw the pair recently.
I was shocked to see that one hadn't weathered winter as well. It's been 10 years of driving by and I don't think they were very young when I started seeing them on my daily drive. So it was a bit of a shock to see that their age was really starting to show this year.
But the next time I drove by, the one that was aging poorly was gone. I presume that the owners did the right thing (because why would you keep old horses until the very end...at least that's my hope...and the other still remains). I'm sure that they had the one humanely euthanized but that left the other older horse alone. He has severe arthritis in his front leg. It's obvious even from a distance.
I guess I was a little shocked in knowing that one is no longer "with us". I say that loosely because I've never met him but he has been a part of my daily routine for 10 years. Now this other horse is standing in a lush pasture alone.
For some reason, I'm having a harder time adjusting to this loss and it's not even mine. I don't know either of the horses or the owners. I only drive by but when you do for 10 years, you get accustomed to certain things. I'm always looking at the countryside and looking for horses....because that's what horse crazy girls do.
So I'm a little saddened each time I see the lone horse. I'm not sure if I'm more saddened because the other horse is gone, or because the remaining horse is alone. Granted, I would never want the owners to "get tired" of the old horse and sell him at auction or try to find him a new home. That's simply too hard on them. But I worry that he's lonely, even though he's not my horse and I don't know him or the situation.
How odd that I would feel sad. It's simply the lifecycle and its' a fact of life. And I've been around this type of lifecycle for 10 years as well but it still for some reason is harder for me to take. Maybe because its' always harder on those that are left behind.
I don't know. I was going to write this post way more eloquently but I can't seem to find the words. My mind just keeps going back to the lone horse.
Odd how even though I don't know the horse, know that it's simply a fact of life, and that he's actually had a pretty pampered life (lush pastures all the time, plenty of food, and shelter) I still feel bad for him. There are plenty more that don't get such a good life. It's simply hard to watch as people and animals grow up, and grow old.
Maybe it's having kids and realizing that life goes by so much quicker now. I dunno. I'm sure I'm not making any sense. It's just taken me a little bit to adjust to a different "routine".