Horses We Love

Posted by Sharon Labels: ,

God gives us horses and compels some of us to love them. Yet why does the horse, an animal with such a big heart, live such a short life? Perhaps it's because if our horses lived any longer, we wouldn't be able to bear losing them.
~ From an essay posted on Chronicle of the Horse Re: Barbaro

Losing an equine friend is the hardest part of owning one. Who would not rather be cleaning stalls, hauling bales, treating wounds or any of the other various tasks associated with horse ownership than taking responsibility for ending his life and/or burying him? And yet, we must do that for the horses we love.

My world, both far-reaching and close by, has lost too many horses in the past few weeks.
It seemed every time I opened Facebook, another heart-wrenching post told another painful story. Since I am no stranger to this kind of pain, I internalized every one. My overactive imagination “lived” the various scenarios until I had nightmares. Perhaps these stories hit a little too close to home for me… (See Beam Me Up Scotty)

February 8th was an awful day. Two “greats” of the Quarter Horse world died unexpectedly. Hes A Peptospoonsful, 1998 red roan stallion in the prime of life, was found dead in his stall and Whizards Baby Doll, better known as Roxy, the equine part of the darling duo who performed a reining Freestyle without saddle or bridle that left us all speechless, was euthanized after sustaining irreparable injuries after being cast in her stall. I’m sure there are no words to describe what her trainer/friend, Stacey Westfall is feeling but I can imagine all too well . . . and that, of course is why I'm having nightmares. There is absolutely nothing that will make it better for the Westfalls, Gessners and McDavids but know that we rejoice in Roxy and Pepto's accomplishments.

Here is the link to Stacey and Roxy:

And a tribute to Hes A Peptospoonful:

These two, though the most famous, are only two of several horses crossing "The Rainbow Bridge" in the past few weeks. Several posts have crossed my computer screen - friends have lost broodmares, old companions, performance horses and foals. I think I walked the walk with every one. I am drained. The quote below is one of my favourites from a poem that has given me comfort in my own times of grief. This is the last stanza.

I know you'll give him tenderness
And love will bloom each day.
And for the happiness you've known,
You will forever-grateful stay.
But should I come and call for him
Much sooner than you'd planned.
You'll brave the bitter grief that comes,
And maybe understand.
~The Grandest Foal(author unknown)

The horses we love are also the horses we lose. Personally, I need to believe the horses I have buried are together and I will be with them one day. I imagine my herd welcoming me when the time comes. That's what gets me through it.

I am still recovering from the still-born birth of Prima's foal last May. I had allowed myself to hope, to dream and to believe without ever considering a possiblity other than a healthy foal. It had taken years for me to get to that point after losing a little sorrel filly I called Lace when she was three weeks old and I had to go though that again.

Lace with her dam, Wildwood Destiny (May 1999)

Several years later a friend of mine lost a mare she had bought from me. She, too, was struggling to come to terms with her grief. In her quest for understanding, she went to a psychic for a reading who told her her mare had found company with a wee filly. We both needed to believe that filly was Lace.

Wildwood Diva, together with Lace now.
It’s a good day when I can go to bed knowing my horses are healthy; it’s even better when I get up the next morning and they still are! Tomorrow is Valentine's Day and this year I'm going to celebrate with the horses I love. I know many of you will be doing the same. Give them an extra hug...


  1. Verna

    I have to admit that while your blog described heartbreak, I was somewhat relieved to reach the end. My first thoughts were, "Oh Sharon, WHO NOW?"....certainly great losses.

  1. Sharon

    I don't think you would have been reading about it if I had lost one of mine! As it was, I didn't get much sleep after doing this (last night).