Friday, September 20, 2013

First horse, first loss

Today I made an easy decision that was hard to make.

11 years ago I was part leasing a 14yo TB/Appy cross named Stanley.  That's a picture of two of us shortly after I got him.  I did it because he was available, cheap, I wanted to ride more, and I was tired of getting ditched by my trainer for lessons (who I eventually left).   Six months later his owner asked me if I wanted to have him.  What else does a broke college student who has always had a dream of galloping off into the sunset say?  I took over ownership of Stanley and all his vices.
Unless you had a chain over his nose he basically dragged you around.  He didn't tie AT ALL and would throw himself to the ground to break whatever he was tied to.  If you saddled him in his stall he'd smash you into the wall.  Once you got him saddled you had to pin him in a corner between a barrel or have someone hold him or he'd take off at a canter as soon as a foot hit the stirrup.  Which was probably the only time he cantered because his previous owner was afraid to canter him so when he'd buck she'd get off him and put him away.  He'd also stand straight up if you even thought about putting him on a trailer. 
We had our ups and downs, I taught him to lead, load, and tie.  He eventually self loaded onto the trailer and was an excellent trail horse.
  He didn't blink at his first dressage show. 

He learned to jump... when he wanted to

I eventually transformed him into a handsome horse

When soundness issues made me retire him I told him he had a home for life.  I made due by riding other people's problem horses and found that I had a knack for it.  I turned them into solid citizens as well.  Stanley enjoyed retirement and giving the occasional ride to adoring children.  The girls even graduated to riding on their own, in their very own helmet.

He loved food and his favorite thing to eat were Little Debbie Pumpkin Delights and I had just bought him a box a few weeks ago. 

Over the last several weeks I had noticed a loss of topline and general slowness in Stanley.  I also noticed a ventral Edema that I thought was from a kick.  Earlier this week I noticed that he wasn't cleaning up his grain or hay, which is a big fat Stanley red flag.  I spoke to the vet and we agreed to watch him for a few days then run some blood.  I spoke to my barn manager who thought that maybe he was having trouble eating regular food and needed to go on senior.

By Thursday Night I knew that something was seriously wrong and my time with him was nearing an end.  I sat with him in the middle of the arena with his head on my lap for an hour while he slept and I patted his face.  I didn't sleep a wink Thursday night. 

Friday morning the vet came out and determined that Stanley was in heart failure.  I asked some questions about options but I knew what I had to do so I made the decision nobody likes to make.

This is Stanley not looking noble at all.  Someone gifted me a custom portrait of him and they chose this picture.  It captured his personality in every way and it now hangs in my home. 

Today I held the end of his lead rope while the vet put him down. 

Goodbye to the best/worst first horse a girl could ever have. 


  1. I am so sorry. :( I lose my guy about 4 months ago and the pain is still oh so excruciating. Big hugs, sooo many hugs your way.

  2. I am so sorry for your loss. You were fortunate to have him and he was lucky to have you

  3. I am so very sorry for your loss!

  4. losing a dear 4-legged friend is always hard. i hope the fond moments bring you peace.


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