On Oct 22, 1982, I had to make a decision I did not want to make. My horse had crashed in a panic on concrete and broken the bone between the hock and the stifle. He was 27 years old and a gelding of uncertain parentage. The vet, of course, offered to send him to the vet school that is fairly near by for evaluation, but I knew several things were against that:
- He was older.
- He had no breeding potential.
- That would be a high risk procedure with a very low probability of a good outcome.
- It was very likely to be expensive-and he was not an expensive horse to start with.
- Recovery would be long, painful, and very uncertain.
The only positive was that he was incredibly smart and would do whatever I asked of him. But I was not going to ask that of him.
To this day, I still mourn that horse.
I don’t believe that you ever ‘let them go’ in your heart. What I do believe is that if you love them enough-really love them-you realize that they are not going to be replaceable. But you do come to the realization that they made it possible for you to yearn to love again-and to find another to love in a different way just as completely and sincerely as that one.
And so my heart was made larger-and I have been enormously blessed with a rare breed stallion who gave me his enormous heart totally, his Arab cross bred son who had a sense of humor and a mettle beyond compare, a TWH mare who seems to think that I exist only for her, a warmblood who knows I rescued him and is incurably jealous and sweet while being a total jerk, two mares who are half sisters who compete for attention, and two fillies who follow me like huge puppies.
The ache never leaves-but the joys return. Wait for the joy.