The Sadness of death

Today a horse at the barn I board at was euthanized. The horse had colicked Saturday morning. By 9 am Sunday the vet recommended he be put down.

The boarders and I had our misgivings about the decision, but it wasn’t our call to make. I don’t know all the details, only that the owner felt it was the correct course of action.

I got to the barn right as they were putting the gelding to sleep. I didn’t watch. When he was dead, and the owner and vet had left, I went and saw him. Someone had covered him with white sheets. You could see his hooves poke out from one end. The sheet draped around his jaw and muzzle. His ears were back.

I had liked him. I used to give him peppermints and pettings when I went to get Ava from her pasture. He seemed like a sweet, middle-aged guy who just wanted to make people happy.

The knacker showed up within an hour. I don’t know what we call them here. The people that pick up the carcass. A heavy duty, loud, truck with wooden sides that were beaten and broken. It smelled like decay. On the sides of the doors it said “Rest In Peace” in bright red letters.

The driver pulled the sheets off the gelding and started attaching a chain to his hind leg. I left. I had to walk past the truck to get out. The smell made me gag.

One boarder stayed and watched. Brave soul. Afterward she came and found the rest of us huddled at the furthest end of the other barn surrounded by horses munching hay. She told us it took three tries to pull the dead gelding on to the truck. The gelding was pulled on top of the carcasses of cows and dead calves.

She had tears on her face as she described it.

His stall is empty. His things are still there. His owner left a bag with ears of corn and other treats by her tack box when she’d come in this morning. They’re still sitting there.

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2 thoughts on “The Sadness of death

  1. So hard to lose an equine friend, even when it isn’t one of ours. I’ve had the sad duty to help at a few departures, for friends’ horses and also a couple of my own. Making the decision during a colic episode is especially difficult, and after helping with the post surgical care of a particularly “hot” warmblood mare (who ripped out her stitches the day after colic surgery which then required a follow up to re-stitch the wound) I would have to think long and hard about the choices to make during a bad colic.
    Thinking good thoughts for continued good health of our horses. Best to you and Ava!

    Liked by 1 person

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