It was planned - he's been going slowly downhill over the last year, and between his choke issues, the lesions around his eyes and nose getting worse, and his hind-end coordination issues, we decided that another winter would be very, very hard on him and that the best choice was to let him go now, on a beautiful fall day, with his buddy Reddums with him. Although I wasn't able to be there (the retirement farm is over 3 hours away), the BO told me it was quick and peaceful and he was ready to go. He was 28.
I was very lucky and got to visit him one last time about two weeks ago when we made the decision. I fed him a lot of (very tiny) carrots, took some pictures, and eventually cried in his mane for a long, long time. He's never been one for emotions or hugging, but he let me do it this time. And then he let me know, in that way that he does, that he wanted his ears rubbed. This is something that he's only ever done with me... it's a special thing we have. He'll show me where he wants to be scratched, and I'll do it as long as he wants.
As I gently rubbed his forehead and stroked each ear, I cried as I talked to him about all the times I'll always remember. How we met. Some of our first rides together. Moving to Maryland together. The day he figured out he could do a medium trot and how he wanted to do it ALL THE TIME for a month. That time we went foxhunting and it was a disaster. All those amazing cross-country rides we had. Schooling prelim. Bad trail rides. How shocked I was during a lesson with a GP trainer when she asked me to do a canter half-pass and he just... did it. That time we jumped 4'9. How I could always, always trust him. Except for that time he dumped me when I was riding bareback and he saw some minis. How much he HATED the vet. Those times when he did jousting or mounted combat even though he was fairly certain I'd completely lost my mind. How many miles the two of us have logged during late-night hand walking for colic. How he would get to be with his BFF Saga again soon.
We stood together for what seemed like forever, just being together. Eventually, eventually, I stopped crying and just felt... peaceful. He could always do that for me, help me find and ground myself and be at peace with the world. He could always get me to listen a little better, to be a bit more introspective. I think that's one of the greatest gifts horses give us. It's certainly one of the greatest gifts he gave me and one I will treasure for a lifetime.
Nobody could ever possible ask for a better first horse. His very being has shaped me into the person I am today. He's been with me for my entire adult life (21 years, literally half of my life), and I have made so many life decisions in part because of him. I moved to Maryland because of him. I focused on dressage because of him. I married my husband because of him. We have Wyvern Oaks because of him. His legacy will live on with us.
Fare thee well, my friend. Thank you for a lifetime of beautiful memories. I will miss you, and I will never, ever forget you.
Photo courtesy of Lauren Mauldin
I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm glad you got so many years with such a special horse. ((((Hugs))))ReplyDelete
I'm so, so sorry Jen :( Having been lucky enough to meet Cash and ride him (that one time---medium trot forever!), you could tell he was definitely a very special guy, a super intelligent guy and the very best at teaching and being a schoolmaster. He was always the strong, stoic type, but anyone that saw you and Cash together for 5 minutes could see the bond that you and Cash shared, and I know you will always have that. Even though it was the right one, these decisions are never, ever easy, and I hope that you can find comfort in 21 years of memories. RIP Cash <3ReplyDelete
I am so sorry :( *big hugs* Be at peace big wonderful dude.ReplyDelete
I'm so sorry <3 Sending hugs.ReplyDelete
So very, very sorry... :(ReplyDelete
<3 rip Cash.ReplyDelete
the schpotted pony will live on in memories!
I am so very sorry for your loss. What a fitting tribute to an amazing horse. He was lucky to have you, you were lucky to have him too. Godspeed, Cash.ReplyDelete
Hugs and love to you!ReplyDelete
OH Jen! So many hugs your way. What a beautiful tribute to Cash:)ReplyDelete
im so sorry - he's gorgeous and it's so kind of you to make the tough decision.ReplyDelete
Oh Jen. So heartbroken right now, even if it was the right thing to do . . . crying at work is my fav. Swift journeys to Cash, and deep, green pastures. Peace to you and much love.ReplyDelete
What an amazing time you had with him - he sounds like he was just the most versatile and talented horse. I'm so sorry for the pain and heartbreak of losing him. Hugs.ReplyDelete
I am so sorry :(ReplyDelete
What a beautiful tribute to him. I loved what you wrote about him always being able to ground you. So sorry for your loss.ReplyDelete
So sorry for your loss, but how wonderful that you got to say goodbye and that his last days were peaceful.ReplyDelete
What an amazing guy you got to spend so many many years with! How lucky for both of you to have had each other. Sorry for your tremendous loss, but I'm glad he got to move on peacefully.ReplyDelete
I'm so sorry... you had a beautiful life with this beautiful horse!ReplyDelete
This brought me to tears. RIP beautiful boyReplyDelete
So sorry, JenReplyDelete
What a once in a life time horses! Tears and thinking of you.ReplyDelete
What a legend. So sorry to hear it was finally his time.ReplyDelete
What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful boy. So sorry for your loss.ReplyDelete
These horses are one in a million. So sorry for your lossReplyDelete
Some are like that. </3 Hugs.ReplyDelete
Rest in peace, sweet Cash. He had a wonderfully long life.ReplyDelete
Beautiful tribute to a lovely, lovely horse. So sorry for your loss Jen. (((hugs)))ReplyDelete
Jen, I'm so sorry! He was an amazing boy, and the memories you had together will last forever. May he rest in peace. Hugs to you!ReplyDelete
What a beautiful tribute to your friend. *hugs*ReplyDelete
I'm so sorry for your loss, but happy that you were able to be part of each others lives in such a big way for such a long time. It's never enough, but it sounds like the two of you made the most of your time together.ReplyDelete
Oh, jeez. Thanks for sharing this (even though it made me cry ... something I rarely do these days). Last night at dinner we talked a lot about horses, although I had not read your post until this morning. Warm hugs to you. I know this must hurt, but I'm glad you had such a warm last time with him, and that his passing was peaceful. It's so hard letting go. xoxoxoReplyDelete
Oh I am so sorry. What a wonderful connection you had with him. We should all be so lucky.ReplyDelete
Oh Cash! I feel like I knew him through your blog and I loved it when you shared similarities between him and Harley. He is an icon as far as I am concerned and I so sorry to hear of his passing. I am relieved to know that it was peaceful and that you had a long goodbye together. Much love to you and yours. What a fantastic horse.ReplyDelete
My heart hurts for you loss. What an amazing story, and life he shared with you!ReplyDelete
I'm so sorry, Jen! It sounds like it was the right decision, but that doesn't make it less sad. Cash seems like he was a very special horse.ReplyDelete
Oh no. I'm so, so sorry for your loss. He had a great life and you were lucky to have him.ReplyDelete
I'm so, so sorry for your loss. I can't even imagine how devastating that has to be after so many years together. You're all in my thoughts.ReplyDelete
I'm so sorry for your loss <3ReplyDelete
I'm so so sorry for your loss, I just saw this. Send you and yours big hugs.ReplyDelete
I am late to commenting, but I am so very, very sorry. <3ReplyDelete