"Summer" age 25 grazing in her pasture.
A couple of weeks ago I had to make the difficult decision to euthanize my equine friend of nearly 31 years. We had been together since his birth and I was merely a child. His heath was quickly deteriorating and I wasn't going to let him suffer from a fall or something traumatic. I wouldn't have been able to handle the stress. So my husband of 30 years and I prepared ourselves and arranged an appointment with the vet to humanely do the task. On the eve of the appointment Bo lay down in the corral, too weak to get back up he lay there slowly fading. I wasn't going to wait for the vet and make my dear friend suffer for hours before any vet could arrive. My husband reluctantly offered to speed the inevitable with a firearm. I didn't want him to have to go through the trauma and I certainly didn't want to do it myself, so we called our equine loving friend, a horse trainer and Bo's farrier of 25 years.
We promptly let the three mares out of their paddocks turning them out to green pasture to graze and to remove them from the corral where Bo lay. On a warm sunny September morning and a single muffled pop of a strategically placed 25 caliber bullet, it was done. Bo would not suffer.
While the mares looked on between bites of the tender grass, my husband promptly removed Bo from the premises. While my husband was gone I looked out the window and saw that the horses had returned to the corral. They left the grass and wondered around the dirt corral. After a twenty minute stay, they returned back to the grass for more grazing. Not once did they call out or vocalize for Bo's return like they always do when one horse is taken away or moved to another pasture. They remain silent, just looking off in the direction that the flatbed trailer had gone. Even that night when all were stalled and Bo's stall and paddock remained empty, they surprisingly remained silent.
The Winds of Summer, our 25-year-old Quarter horse retired race mare shared the barn for over 20 years stabled along side Bo. And Glory, Summer's foal 11 years ago has been Bo's neighbor her entire life. Since Bo's departure, Summer has been very unsettled. Where she once stood quietly in her paddock waiting to be released daily out to pasture, she now paces in circles wearing a deep path in the dirt. She circles nervously, around and around the large paddock. From the looks of the churned up ground she paces for hours. I know she must be mourning the death of her friend. It is the only thing that is different. She must smell his death. There was blood shed unfortunately. I'm saddened by her reaction. I know animals mourn the lose of a fellow animal friend as do we. My dog Bear moped around for 2 months after the tragic death of his kitty, Simon.
Now each morning when I let Summer out of the her paddock, what was once an ampted up race horse galloping up the lane to the be the first to reach the pasture, is now a lack-luster mare that trots or barely reaches a slow lope often bringing up the rear.
Sherrie Gant is a writer, photographer, and