Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Life Goes On


Grey Horse Matters shared this poem of comfort for the passing of my heart horse, Cowboy. Every single line spoke to me, and though it is anonymous, I know the person who wrote it expereinced exactly what I am going through. I am sharing it now for all those who lose a horse they love.

Where to Bury a Horse

If you bury him in this spot,
this secret place you already have,
he will be there with you when you need him,
when only he can fill the emptiness of his leaving.
And he will come, as he always has,
from the far, dim, clouded pastures of death,
to console, to heal, and once again,
give you the blood of royalty only found upon his back.
The horses you now ride through life,
shall not shy from him, nor resent him coming.
They understand it is his rightful place as you and he were one,
in a far away place, long, long ago.
Show pity to those who scoff,
who see no blade of grass bent by his hooves,
who hear no nicker pitched too fine for the deafened ears of ego.
For they will never know the fulfillment of loving a horse,
and having that love returned.
So bury him deep, and keep that part,
Forever sacred, within your heart.

~author unknown

This section, in particular, stood out to me. Yesterday, as I was taking a lesson with Tumbleweed, I had similar thoughts, but these words captured it better.  

The horses you now ride through life,
shall not shy from him, nor resent him coming.
They understand it is his rightful place as you and he were one,
in a far away place, long, long ago.



I believe there is an unlimited amount of love in our hearts and souls. Love is infinite.  Love is not a limited quantity, but time and attention are. Cowboy took a lot of my time and attention, and his passing has opened up a lot more of it for Tumbleweed.

I have often thought that you need that intensity, that focus, to get your horse where he needs to be. It's not just intensity, ....I think it's also desperation. You just have to make this horse your go-to horse, and you do whatever it takes to get there, including facing your fears.

It's tunnel vision. Stubbornness. Devotion. Obsession. All of it. And it's all starting to coalesce around Tweed.

The death of two herd elders has also changed the dynamics of the herd. Cowgirl was moved back up (along with Epona) and Tweed was moved down and put under Cowgirl's tutelage. Cowgirl doesn't baby other horses. She didn't even baby her own baby. She's tough as nails and mean as hell, and she is taking the baby out of Tweed. Good cop, bad cop, and now I get to be the good cop. He fell in line with Cowgirl quite quickly, and the rest of the herd seemed to go along with it, too. 

Quite honestly, I'm happy with the change. It will make Tweed a better trail horse.


With elderly Cowboy and Little Joe, we were running a full care nursing home for horses. It took a lot of time and effort to keep those boys going. With them gone, and no horse in need of full care nursing home attention, we are rather free. It's very weird. There are loafing sheds and two covered round bales, and we haven't had any rain or snow. The horses are existing on their own, with very little tinkering. ? 

Who am I now? What am I going to do with all this free time?


Who me? I'm never naughty.

As I said above, I had a lesson at home with Tumbleweed. The first ever. 

Getting his attention is much harder here, and he put on quite a show kicking out, rearing, and acting like a first class spaz. 

My trainer loved it.

She sees it as an opportunity to work on the finer details of getting and keeping their attention, basically, holding them together under high stress--something you want on the trail.

Oh, he gave us lots of opportunity. We used the round pen, and got all of that silliness worked out on the ground. When he kicked out or looked out of the round pen and away from me, she had me stay calm and simply reverse him and keep him at the same energy and gait.

In saddle, we worked on vertical flexion at the different gaits, and using my aids to keep him against the rail, turn him, and engage his whole body. When he dropped his collection, she had me post his trot. Then she had me get him in vertical flexion and sit back deep, deep, deep on my pockets with my belly button basically pointing up, and sit the trot until he engaged and collected. It felt very strange, but she said we have to over-exaggerate this right now until he understands the cue. When he's rough, he's moving me out of the sitting back position (engagement) and into the forward position, which makes him feel unsupported and disconnected. My trainer says that it won't take very long for him to understand these cues and then I won't have to sit back as far. 

Another issue she saw yesterday is that I am looking down and inside, where he is wanting to drift off the rail. She had me look outside the rails, outside the round pen, which put my body in a better position. Basically, I was sending him body cues to drift and looking out, though again an over compensation, changed the position of my body enough to keep him on the rail. A seemingly little thing that was actually quite big.


I haven't been able to go to the barn since Cowboy died. I went one day and put a picture of him on his stall, but then I left. I have been taking care of the horses in the turnout and pasture, and avoiding the barn. I have wondered if I will ever see the barn the same way again. Will it take the joy out of all these new improvements? 

I can't let it. I'm going to find ways to bring the memories of Cowboy and Little Joe, all my horses, past and present, into the space. I want to create meaning in every nook and cranny. 

We're getting very close to finishing the tack room, and I think I will try to find an artist to paint a portrait of Cowboy for me. 


Speaking of meaning, I have Cowboy's precious tail hair, and I started looking at possible horse hair jewelry projects. I found a lot of beautiful possibilities, but especially love these rings made in England.

It would require sending the hair overseas, and a long wait time. I don't care about the wait time, but I am very nervous about sending the hair. There is also a resin versus non-resin option. She puts a clear resin over the hair to protect it. Part of me doesn't want that because I'd like to be able to feel the actual hair.

Have any of you had experience with horse hair jewelry makers?


  1. That poem had me in tears. In a good way. These horses we let go stay with us. I completely believe that. I also found more free time with Irish gone. I hadn’t even realized how much work I was doing until he was gone. I would be in the barn thinking I forgot something.

    1. I feel the same way! So many years of looking out my window to see if Cowboy was okay. I can’t break the habit. Today, I was putting hay into the feeders and waiting for them to come. The habits will fade, but that is sad, too.

  2. Hmm I had a comment all written out but apparently it didn't send.
    I love the poem, it certainly resonates with me. I've lost many a good horse over the years.
    I'm glad it brought you some solace.
    Working through the antics and getting good results is so rewarding! As far as where you look goes, it is amazing how that affects our balance, which in turn affects the horse. Try sitting on a hard chair and lifting one seat bone just slightly or turning your shoulders a bit as you look somewhere other than straight ahead and feel what it does to your seat bones/balance.
    There are several horse hair jewelry pages on Facebook, that don't involve shipping overseas. Everything from rings and bracelets (some with turquoise beads) to baskets and woven key chains. Lots to look at!

    1. I’ve looked, but haven’t found a better ring yet. If you see something, please send it my way. I’ll keep looking because if someone in the US does the same, it would be preferable. I found her on Etsy, but she also has a website. I do really want a ring. I lost the diamond in my wedding ring many years ago, but didn’t want to replace it because I prefer turquoise to diamonds. This might be my replacement ring. It has so much meaning. Cowboy was my husband’s horse for one day. He gave him to me immediately when he saw our connection. That’s a while different story.

      My trainer loves the antics. She’s all about pushing them out of their comfort zones and bringing them back down. Tweed is a character, like Cowboy. He has a lot of moves, but under saddle he’s never dangerous. He’s pretty amazing actually. Very forgiving and patient.

    2. https://equinekeepsakes.com/shop/ols/products?page=3
      That one is in Pennsylvania and has several styles of rings. I love the infinity bracelet she makes.
      this one is in B.C. Amazing work!

    3. https://www.hoofprintsequinejewelry.ca/horsehair-rings.php

  3. Beautiful poem. I was happy to see Grey Horse stopped by & commented. She always has sage comments that truly resonate.

    Your tack room is looking wonderful! As you know, your grief will transform as you adjust. Have no doubt, your barn will become a place of comfort again.

    I am glad your herd adjusted well. Wish I could say the same. We are still "playing" musical horses. I have never had horse hair jewelry made. Your concern is understandable. Perhaps see what is offered & reviewed through Etsy.

    1. Yes, I miss her input in the blogging world. It was a special treat to see her message show up …and that poem was so damn perfect!!

      I hope you’re right about the barn. Intellectually, I know you are. New memories and a softening of the old. It will happen.

      You’re still rotating horses? Unfortunately, I’ve been there. Babies make it more difficult. Epona, however, and mama, have become solid citizens finally. This is a new calm in our herd and life is extremely easy. We will see how long is lasts.

      The ring I found was on Etsy. I found most of the rings there. I would love to find someone exactly like her in the US, but haven’t yet. I haven’t even looked at the tail hair yet to see how much I have. Soon.

  4. I'm glad you liked the poem. It is one of the most heartfelt ones I've ever found. Sorry I haven't been commenting lately but there was a reason. I'll try to stop by more often now. The ring is beautiful but I understand why you wouldn't want to take the chance of losing his tail hair overseas. Maybe you could keep some of his hair and send the rest? I don't know the only thing I ever had made was a braided bracelet many years ago. Your tack room is looking beautiful!
    p.s. I still have trouble commenting on your blog without going through gymnastics to get to a comment line showing up.


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