Sunday, August 9, 2015


Friday I took Ed (18hh+ horse in the crossties) and Shea (looking sleepy in the stall on the right) on walks.
From here on out, I am going to attempt to be positive and upbeat. It is not my goal to be the depressed girl writing about crying, etc. I miss Mikey. I will always miss Mikey.

Wednesday I wallowed and cried and napped and repeated the process. I needed to do that.

Thursday I tried to be busy. I had breakfast with mom, walked the dog with her, went home and realized I didn't want to be alone, so I went back to my parent's house (my husband is away on a trip he planned a year ago) and I hung out there for an obscene amount of time. Luckily, they like me. I also spent Thursday dealing with obscene stomach pain. I thought I was going to be the next person featured on "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant", that's how much abdominal pain I was in. I figured it was because I was so upset and spent literally an entire day crying.

Friday I went to the barn. I didn't know what else to do. My life revolves around riding. My horse died, and I had no idea what to do with my time. My trainer had said she is not letting me stop riding, so I asked her if anything needed to go for a walk, and she said "Absolutely!" and I took Shea and Ed for walks with her. We chatted about many things.

We chatted about Mikey's death. One of our ladies (we'll call her Kay) works for the vet and she knew what happened. The secretary had read about Mikey on Facebook, and when Kay and the vet came back to the office from rounds, she was all, "What happened to Mikey?!" Kay told them, and the vet immediately agreed that he had an aortic aneurysm, no question. And that there was nothing we could have done to prevent it. Let me say for those who don't know (I didn't before), there's a lot of blood when this happens. She said it was worse because his heart rate was up and his adrenaline pumping. Had it happened in the field, there wouldn't have been near as much. Trainer mentioned it's why when racehorses and event horses collapse dead that they bring up a screen. It's an ugly sight not meant to be seen by anyone. She said the same thing happened to a lady in our area that was out doing gallop sets with her horse. The horse collapsed and fell on her, broke her pelvis and other bones, and she couldn't get to her cell phone for help and had to wait for someone to find her. Mikey was not doing any work that we hadn't done before, and not working harder than usual. Hell, it happened when he was trotting!

Something that has helped ease my grief is the following: I was a constant in his life, and it was for the majority of his life. Looking at it that way, he had his best friend for life and never had to say goodbye or be without me after the racetrack part was done. Yes, I have to be without him now. Such is life when you have animals. He didn't have to be without me though.

We chatted about the 'dead horse diet'. I've lost about 5 pounds since his death. Trainer has thinned out enough that one of her clients that hauls in (and so doesn't see her every day) commented on it (she's thin to begin with). Neither of us are hungry and we're not eating. She loved Mikey. A lot. So did I.

We talked about his stall and his stuff. She said that she left the stall empty for 2 days because she couldn't bear to put anyone in it... and then she had to put a horse in it because she couldn't bear not having a head poke out to greet her. It was a reminder every day of the horse she loved being gone. I stuffed Mikey's halter into my trunk after it happened because I couldn't bear to look at it. I saw it when I got my helmet out and it made me cry. I don't know how I'll be able to look at his show halter that has a plaque with his name. I'll have to clean and oil and polish it up so I can put it in my horse boxes and never have to look at it again.

We talked about how to memorialize him. I said that I don't have any tattoos, and I didn't want any, but I have the urge to tattoo his name on me somewhere. One of the girls mentioned I should put his show name and his Jockey Club tattoo number on me. Everyone assured me I could get it written small in an easy to hide place. I love this idea. I won't regret it. But I can't bring myself to do it because needles freak me out. We both loved the tree idea. She said I cane get an "In Memory Of" plate for his stall. This horse was so loved. It's overwhelming. Everyone is hurting... just like I am.

We talked about my next horse.

Before anyone judges me for beginning my horse hunt less than a week after my horse's death, know that I have no idea what to do with myself without my own horse. I filled out a New Vocations application because it filled my time, I will eventually get a new horse, and maybe it will be from there. I don't want a new horse. I want Mikey. But I can't have him. In a few months I will be wanting my own horse, so I may as well start my search now. It may take months to find the right partner for me. It may not.

Trainer pointed out that if I already owned Mikey's replacement and then Mikey died, I would have taken a few days off and then been back out to ride and love on my second horse. Luckily, everyone who knows I'm looking for my next horse has been very supportive. One even said, "I can't imagine you without a horse, so get looking! Send me pictures of what you go see." More than one person has said that the next horse will help me heal from the loss of Mikey. They've pointed out that if it was a small pet, like a dog or cat, I may have mourned until the next weekend, but I would have gone out and rescued another animal to help fill the void in my life, to save a life, and help me heal.

We talked about what my budget would/should be and what I could expect to find in that budget. Basically, I will be looking for a promising OTTB, a TB cross, or an unbroke warmblood between the ages of 3 and 7 and at least 16.2hh because I need something large to fill my leg. It needs to be in a dressage direction. Maybe the rare blue diamond will pop up and a broke young fancier warmblood will come up in my price range. I won't find him by not looking. I'm torn- I love OTTBs. I stand firm by them. They have heart and try. I also know how hard dressage is for them. How hard it is for long distance runners to body build. Then I look at the fact that I do want to do dressage and if I want to be competitive (and more than adequate and capable), then I really need a warmblood or WB cross.

And so I search. I have a very promising lead I'm not willing to share on here yet, and some other less promising ones that I'm investigating.


  1. Again, I am so very sorry. You've no doubt heard from every owner out there who has lost a horse already, but it might make you feel better to know that when I lost my mare (whom I'd had for 11 years), I missed several days of work as I grieved. And I am not a mopey, sit and cry kind of girl either. Cry if you want to, or don't dry. No one will judge.

    I was fortunate to already have a second horse, Speedy G. The day we lost Montoya, I had to go back to the barn to make sure he was okay. And darn it if he didn't know what had happened. I just leaned into him as the tears flowed. He sucked away so much of my grief, and he's not much of a touchy feely kind of guy.

    It helped tremendously to have him. I wouldn't have known what to do with myself without him. It took me a year and a half before I was ready to find another (second) horse, but that was only because I had him. I lost another mare when I was in my teens, and I found another horse within just a month or two. Find your next horse. We aren't "US" without an equine companion.

    I hope peace finds you quickly. Take care of yourself.

    1. Thank you so much.

      Peace is finding me. To be honest, it's coming through looking for the next horse. I ended up taking 3 days off work, mostly because I couldn't trust myself to not randomly burst into tears in the office. Plus I just didn't want to be around that many people. I do have to go back to work tomorrow, but I'm actually looking forward to it because it's something to do.

      We definitely aren't US without an equine. I was looking forward to stashing my board money to add to my budget, but I really hope I find something in the next month or two. I'll be stir crazy by then. But until then, Shea will be my surrogate horse. When she's not in heat, she is a lovely willing snuggle bug that adores a good cuddle. She wrapped her head and neck around me on Friday while I hugged her. She knows too. That said, I haven't been able to go down to the outdoor to ride or visit Mikey's grave. I know I'll have to eventually, but not right now.

  2. I was lucky enough to have Courage in the wings when I lost my red man. I cried in his mane all afternoon.

    There is no right or wrong time and having someone new to focus on makes the pain a little easier to manage.

    PS no judgement if you buy everything on the internet either. I also did that.

  3. i'm so glad you're surrounded by so much love and support right now - Mikey was such a special horse, no wonder he touched so many lives. and i'm glad you're starting to think about your future with horses now too. there's no right or wrong time but i tend to think having horses with us makes everything easier and better and happier