Sunday, October 5, 2014

Decisions That Break The Heart

Natural, a chestnut Standardbred, came into my life for $250 24 years ago.  The vet who looked him over thought he was six or seven years old.  That makes him about 30.  And I’m about to lose the boy.

It didn’t dawn on me until I was talking to the U.S. Animal Nutritional rep (now known as Vetri Science) that those horse owners who live in warm climes don’t automatically calculate the wear and tear of winter weather on their equines.    (This rep and I have talked at length about our horses and she has been a kind ear listening to my emotional  exercise in coming to terms with putting my horse down.)   And she was the one who fine-tuned that thought. That those of us in cold weather states have decisions to make that aren’t always easy.

Natural will not be able to face the snow and ice of a Michigan winter.  As much as I keep mentally protesting, I’m coming to grips with that statement.

And so, if I lived in Florida, I would probably not be faced with this decision.   At least not right now.  Sometimes life doesn’t seem fair.

It has been excruciating  this summer as I have tried modality after modality thinking I can “fix” him.  And nothing has worked.  Not massage, not chiropractic adjustments with acupuncture, not healing herbs, not pain relieving essential oils, not pharmaceuticals.  Nothing.

How can this be, I keep asking myself.

As fall weather has now come into southern Michigan I realize that no miracle is imminent.  While we were experiencing temps in the 70’s, I was able to pretend there was lots of time until inclement conditions.  Not so anymore.  And its breaking my heart.

I’ve thought about which experience is harder – going through a medical crisis and having the decision to put your horse down made for you, or this sad drawn out “waiting”.  I’ve been through the first;  my quarter horse got mauled by dogs several years ago.  This seems harder.  But then again, Natural was my first. 

I hope, dear readers you will continue to lend your support as the time draws nearer and bear with me as I use this blog as a vehicle of remembrance.  


  1. this is one of those times when nothing can be said to help at all. so i will simply say; i'm here and i'm listening.

    1. Thanks B. You know you'll probably get a sobbing friend on the phone when it comes to pass.

  2. Thoughts are with you, Janet. Sending our ♥ from MO...

  3. Natural is lucky to have you. No words can bring comfort, but my thoughts are with both of you.

  4. You have been an excellent, excellent provider, caregiver, friend and mom for Natural. Sounds as if you have exhausted all efforts in helping him. Never have I faced this with a horse but I certainly have with 2 dogs. Decisions do not come easy and our heart keeps tugging us to do one thing and our head knows what is right and needs to happen. I am so sorry that you have to go through this. I will be praying for both You and Natural.

  5. This is never an easy decision.

    My thoughts are with you.

    I still miss my horses every day.

  6. I am very sorry. I know all too well how hard this is, this final gift that only we can give.

    I had to make this same choice for a good horse a few year ago. It was a beautiful October day when the vet came out. The old boy still looked good and the vet questioned me about my decision. I told the horse was 31 and last winter, he couldn't get up without help. The vet imediatly changed his opinion and agreed,"better two months too soon than a day too late." Winter is hard on our old friends.

    You and Natural are in my prayers.

  7. Oh Janet. What a decision to have to make. I've never had to face that with a horse but several times with our old dogs over the years. We sure love our animals, don't we. I'm thinking of you and like someone else said, I am here and I am listening too.