Those of you who have been reading for a while will remember my OTTB Echo, who I acquired in February of last year and was diagnosed with Headshaking Syndrome over the summer. We tried so many things to treat his terrible pain, but sadly, none them really worked for him. With my vet’s help, I made the decision to send him to UC Davis to be a part of their research program on Headshaking Syndrome.
(For a description of Headshaking Syndrome, visit this post. For a synopsis of what happened, visit this post.)
Echo was only in my life for about 6 months last year. I don’t have a lot of happy memories of him, and we never really had time to bond. Most of my memories of how much pain he was in, how hard we all tried, and how much it sucked to give up and put him on that trailer. It’s a chapter of my life I’d rather forget, or that I wish never happened because it was so awful. But it did happen, and I can’t forget it. But what do I do with the tangible things from it?
I admit, I don’t have much - some print copies of pics from our only dressage show, and his halter from the track. But what do I do with them? The prints were hanging in my office, but I took them down and they are now face-down on my desk. The halter is hanging on the back of the tack room door. I won’t put it on anyone else – maybe it’s weird but I just feel wrong doing that. I don’t want to throw these things away but I also don’t want to make a shadow box or some other box of memories from them. There’s just … not enough. I don’t want to forget, but at the same time I don’t really want to remember. But then I feel guilty that he somehow didn’t mean more to me. A lot of people really went out of their way to find him for me, thinking that he’d be the perfect horse. And maybe he would have been, if only. If only…
Not every horse is a heart horse, even with the best intentions and a bright start. That’s how horses go sometimes. But what do you do with the “things” you collect while they are in your lives?
Photo courtesy of Lauren Mauldin