Grieving Today. . .and Tomorrow

Last night I sold a good friend. Today I am grieving.

My husband is no longer able to ride. His horse has been in the field, unused, for two years– the period of time during which Hubby has had both knees replaced and his heart rebuilt.  The companion to his horse is Sugar Baby, an ancient but healthy mare that was my riding horse until last year, when she tore a muscle in a field accident.

During the course of Sugar Baby’s recovery, I bought a Racking Horse named Jake to ride. Jake is gaited and riding him is easier on my battle-worn body — I have a history of multiple falls from horseback, so my body is beat-up and sore.

But Sugar Baby will always be the best horse I ever had the privilege to ride. She and I were so well matched that she seemed to read my mind. She always did what was asked of her and always took care of me, her rider. On mornings, she would  stand in her spot at the fence and stare toward the front door of the house. The minute she saw movement, she would neigh, asking for breakfast. When I worked around the barn, Sugar usually supervised, nickering softly when I talked to her.

In these erratic times, we are like many other households in the United States. We have our own economic downturn going on in our personal finances. At the end of October, a reckoning of accounts demanded austerity. Logic dictated that two horses that were going unused must go.

Maintaining a horse is expensive. Beyond the cost of food and shelter, there are farrier, vet and grooming expenses. Not to mention winter blankets and the like.

So the mares were sold.

I don’t have the attachment to my husband’s horse Missy that I do to Sugar Baby. Even in advanced age, she is beautiful in my eyes. And she caught the eye of someone else. I find peace that she has a home. But I am grieving that she’s gone.




21 responses »

  1. Fay I can’t hit the Like button today, this is so sad. I can completely understand how upset you must be, this must have been a heartbreaking (albeit necessary) decision. I hope you’re okay.

    • The ache is ever-present. Jake, the sole remaining horse, is grieving, too. Thankfully, he has the neighbor’s horses to talk to over the fence, but he misses his girls.

  2. I feel this loss with you Faye. My pony Ranza was 39 years old when I had to put him down and he had been with me for 29 years then. He was sometimes obstinate but he saw me through more parts of my life than any one person ever had and he was always there for me. I have another horse now and I have come close to thinking of being horseless at times but I just can’t do it. Riding is my sanity, my centering point and I cannot bear to give it up. Going out to the barn to feed and care for Mara and the chickens helps me get out of bed and forces me to take part in the world outside the house, regardless of weather or how I feel about anything else.

    • Wendy, I couldn’t say it any better. You took the words out of my mouth! Jake is finally settling down in the girls’ absence. Tomorrow I am going on a long ride so he and I can talk about our girl and how much we miss her.

      • We still have Nixon (the bestest dog that ever lived) in a box on my brick-a-brack shelf. As you might have read, he was the first family member my children had to deal with the death of. That was when my youngest – now 12 – was graduating kindergarten.

        All these years later, we still miss him.

      • You understand. Do your children still talk about Nixon being in the box? I think the way you handled that is a tangible way to help the children cope with death. Life lessons–they come to us, ready or not.

      • Thank you. And you know, the kids actually do all occasionally walk past that box and say “Hi Nixon!”

    • Thank you, Sweetheart. Lovely is the perfect word for her. I got teary today, second guessing myself. Hubby was sweet about it, reminding me the decision was the right one. Once logic re-engaged, I bucked up.

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