It’s been ten years and the ache is still there.
February 25, 2007 I lost my first horse, my dream horse. Ten years later, the hole he left behind is still there. I have very few regrets in my person life. In my Sanctuary life, those regrets continue to pile up. On February 25, 2007, was one of those regrets that made me change how I would care for the older horses of the Sanctuary.
My biggest regret was not being there when my first horse died. He had his best friend standing over him but I was not with him. I was not there to say goodbye and to reassure him that I would meet him again some day. I regret that he left this world at night, in the dark and cold. I regret that he didn’t have the sun shining on his back with a belly full of green grass.
After his loss, I vowed that I would never let another of our horses pass away without me by their side. I made the decision then, that instead of letting nature take its course that I would assist when the time came. South Dakota winters are tough and unpredictable. They take a toll even on the healthiest of horses. The older and weaker horses struggle and need more attention. For that reason, I vowed that any horse that was in my care would leave this earth not in the dead of winter if I could control it.
I watch the horses closely and can always tell when the inevitable is nearing. There’s usually months of stress and then weeks of tears before the final day. But always that final day is in the fall. Perhaps there isn’t a lot of green grass left and perhaps the sun isn’t shining on their backs but at least it’s not cold and snowy.
Ten years ago was a wakeup call. I was sitting in this very room when I found out. Devastation and remorse. The what-ifs will always bother me.
I learned a lot from that old ranch horse who’d traveled far. He taught me patience, perseverance, and persistence. Not many have the opportunity to say that their very first horse ever was their dream horse. I did. And the hole in my heart is still there from his passing. We will meet again some day but hopefully in the meantime I can provide a soft landing for others that deserve it and you can welcome them when they are no longer on this earth.
Ten years and counting.
|Tiny Dictator - May 21, 1979 to February 25, 2007|