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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Lesson in Losing

My blogging is always as sporadic as my running efforts.... Almost...

A lot has happened since I last posted in this blog and is partially the reason I have been neglecting it.  In the middle of July I lost the best thing that had ever happened to me.  I lost a little 15'3 hand pinto someone called John bought for his two daughters (ages 12 and 13).  This little black and white nameless horse soon adopted the name Cow and at age 4 knew even less than his owners.  After 12 amazing years and many victories, those little girls, not so little anymore at 24 and 25, had to say goodbye.  After 2 intestinal twists, and two colic surgeries, our only choice was to say goodbye when his third twist came along a year after the second.  The first surgery was hard, the second surgery was a week of struggle, heartache and hope, and the third just wasn't an option.

The love for a horse is just as complicated as the love for another human being...if you never love a horse, you will never understand.

It's amazing what losing him taught me.  It put any breakup I ever had into perspective.  I thought I was upset then but this was a whole new lesson on heartache, losing, and putting yourself back together.  Seeing something you love in so much pain rips your heart out of your chest and leaves it in a million tiny pieces on the floor.   Making the decision to put him down was the hardest decision I have ever made yet it was the only decision I could have made that night.

Horses change lives. They give our young people confidence and self-esteem. They provide peace and tranquility to troubled souls. They give us hope!   Toni Robinson

I spent the next day in bed, wallowing and mourning,  with my puffy eyes basically swollen shut, accepting condolences from friends, family, riders, and trainers all over the East Coast.  To say Cow was a legend would be an understatement.  We had become very well known in the Children/Adult Jumper Circuit for his character and his speed.  His death affected so many different people and it makes me smile to know how loved he truly was.  I was appalled at all of the nice comments from different folks in the horse world my favorite being that "You and Cow made everyone fall in love with you too..."  And that we did.

All horses deserve, at least once in their lives,
                                                                  to be loved by a little girl.

I miss him more than I can put into words, but time has helped.  I start to break down less and less and I am learning that life has to go on with or without my spotted companion.  Now that I am horseless I have been riding more than ever (ironic?).  I have even adopted my sisters 17'3 warmblood ( for those of you not horse educated that is a huge horse ) and I have started showing him and learning to ride all over again.

When I got Cow he was four, and I was 12.  I didn't know how to ride, and he didn't know a whole lot about being ridden.  He was what we call "green" (very inexperienced) and so was I.. and as many horse people joke.. Green and Green does not make blue.   But Cow was an amazing exception, and we taught each other everything we knew with the help of our trainer.  While I fell off many many times, he was always trusting, loving, and loyal.  I knew when I was on his back sailing over 4 foot fences, he was going to do everything in his power to take care of us.

We achieved so much in our 12 years together, making it to the Marshall and Sterling National Finals, winning countless classsics and even a brief debut in a mini prix.  Cow is an inspiration to many and proves that you don't need a $100,000 warmblood to be successful.  A $2,000 black and white pinto with a big heart will do just fine.  Our success stemmed from the trust between horse and rider, and our companionship and need to take care of each other.  I trusted that horse more than I trust most people.  I don't know if I will ever find a teammate like Cow, but I am lucky to have found something so perfect.  How lucky I am to have something that makes saying good bye so hard.

You and your horse. His strength and beauty. Your knowledge and patience and determination and understanding and love. That's what fuses the two of you onto this marvelous partnership that makes you wonder, "What can heaven offer any better then what I have here on earth?".  Monica Dickens

 Whether it be running or riding, when you fall off, you learn to get back in the saddle.  And that is exactly what I am trying to do now. Rest In Peace Cow and know you will always be missed by this little girl <3 

When your horse follows you without being asked, when he rubs his head on yours, and when you look at him and feel a tingle down your know you are loved.
John Lyons 

Want to hear more about Cow?  Check out our article published in the Chronicle of the Horse.

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