"I've spent most of my life riding horses. The rest I've just wasted."
I Wannabe A Cowboy
March 7, 1995-November 21, 2023
For many, many years I was obsessed with Cowboy. We spent over 20 years of our lives together. He taught me to be strong and live again. He was an orphan, and I was his fifth owner, so I promised him he would always have a home with me. I would never let him go.
I think he can hear
My head turn toward him,
Even in dreams.
As time passed, he had various health challenges, a broken P3 (which is when I adopted Beautiful Girl and Leah) and Equine Headshaking Syndrome (which is when I started riding Leah on the trails). He survived both of those things, and my longtime farrier nicknamed him the "Comeback King."
We had many extra, glorious years together that I did not expect, but in time, arthritis and old age led me to plan for his retirement and bringing little Tumbleweed into my life as Cowboy's trail rides were phased out. This also gave Cowboy 5 years to imprint on Tumbleweed, and 2 1/2 on Epona.
Cowboy died the way he lived, on his own terms. When we had planned to put him down 17 years ago for his P3 fracture, we let him run one last time, and he went wild bucking, running, and spinning around the pasture. He told us he wanted to LIVE, and so we took the chance on him, and he did.
His passing was not much different.
Three days ago, Little Joe died in our pasture. It was another glorious fall day, sunny, and 48 degrees. We had let the herd out to graze, and that is what he was doing when he passed. It was sudden, unexpected, and surprising, even though Little Joe was in his late 20's, and hadn't been getting around like he used to.
Here is a photo of Little Joe playing with Cowboy.
(the last photo I took of Little Joe is below on November 7th, 2023.)
Finding Little Joe made me realize it was time to put Cowboy down. And I was set on it...until last night, when I started to waiver again. Cowboy seemed as if he was ready. There was a difference in him, but the weather was so nice, too,...and it was just a hard decision to make when you don't absolutely have to. I told my husband and daughter that I had changed my mind.
And then morning came. My husband went out to feed the horses and Cowboy was down. He came back and told me, and I went straight out to Cowboy. He had decided to lay down outside of his stall, in his turnout, and he couldn't get up. He didn't even really want to try.
It appeared he had tried before we got there, but he wasn't sweaty, and he wasn't stressed. I brought him some grain and he ate it from my hands and licked my palms when it was all gone. We said goodbye to each other.
So, that is the end to one of the best chapters of my life.
I will not have to worry about him suffering in the cold or getting down when I am not there to help him back up.
He has left a hole in my heart.
But I was thinking afterward, what a perfect ending for the perfect horse. He died in the perfect place, out in the early morning sunshine, the perfect way, at peace and able to say goodbye, and the perfect day, an absolutely beautiful November 21st: sun, clear skies, and all around us, heaven.
And he took the decision out of my hands. His final act of love.
Here are some of the photos we took through the years. So many adventures! Yet, never enough.