Re: [RC] need help with daugher re:horse - Heidi Smith
> Give your daughter a hug from me and tell her it's from all the vets and
> students that know the difference between loving a hurt horse and
> horse, and hope she realizes it, too.
I have been struggling with how to say essentially the same thing, and this
was well put. I've wept with a great many owners as I've followed through
their decisions to grant a suffering horse the gift of being free from pain
once and for all, and I've wept even harder as I've had to do the same for
some of my own old horses.
I wrote the following poem several years ago--a few years after the death of
my beloved foundation stallion Surrabu, with whom I spent many hours and
many miles over many years. I got him when I wasn't much older than your
daughter. Please share it with her.
I knew you were my horse on that first day
I saw you at the Salmon River Ride.
I was fifteen. So young. And you were five,
A stallion, bay, so full of fire and pride.
We learned to trust each other from the start;
That special bond that girls and horses share
Was ours. We did it all--horse shows, parades,
And riding hill and valley, free of care.
Endurance rides were still a distant dream;
We chased cows in the rugged Lemhi hills--
Wild, reckless, free, we chased the wind--
We were invincible; we lived for thrills.
Virginia City--what a place to start!
One hundred miles--one day--for our first ride.
We bore the desert heat and chill of night
And finished strong at midnight with great pride.
The Boise Basin, Prineville, Santiam--
We rode through history together then--
Blue Mountain, Raging River, Fossil Bowl,
The Oregon One Hundred, Lily Glen.
And through it all you were my rock in life,
Through high school, college, vet school, loves and loss.
You shared my joys, my woes; you dried my tears;
You stood beside me, silent, never cross.
You loved your new-found home in Oregon;
We roamed the Grassland trails and made them ours.
With my career a clinic, yours the trails,
We shared grand views and springtime wild flowers.
At twenty, R & R in Idaho
Was your last ride before retirement.
We kicked back, finished, had a lot of fun,
And reminisced about a lifetime spent.
But twilight years for you were far too few.
A lifetime spent on trails of rock and dirt
Was nothing to the cancer in your jaw,
And nothing I could do could heal your hurt.
Your pain-filled eyes begged freedom from this curse;
You'd lived your life for me. How could I fail
To do a final favor for my friend?
So off we headed up your favorite trail.
We climbed Pine Ridge together one last time,
The drugs to free you in my fanny pack.
You broke my heart--ears up and trotting proud;
I think you knew that you weren't coming back.
Oh, God! Please still these trembling hands of mine!
Dry these damned tears do I don't miss his vein!
If I must do this awful, final task,
Don't let me cause unnecessary pain!
Your knees grow weak, you sigh, and down you go--
You're free! No pain! But how am I to stand
My grief as I must turn around and walk
Back down this hill, your bridle in my hand?
Oh, Lord, I know for horses You must plan
A place in Heaven where the grass is green,
The trails well-trod, the summer sunshine warm,
The breezes cool, the water clear and clean.
And as for me, I have your memories
To carry me through all of life's travails;
Besides, your foals and grandfoals keep a bit
Of you alive and traveling down the trails.
Heidi Smith, DVM
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- Re: [RC] need help with daugher re:horse, suendavid