That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet – Emily Dickenson
If you’ve been following Toni’s Ponies this year, you will notice that we’ve lost quite a few of our equine friends in 2022 and 2023. These are always very sad days at the farm. We’ve been astounded at the loss we’ve had this last year but when we take a step back a little it makes so much sense.
We rescue horses. Sometimes that horse is in their prime and we are able to find it a forever home but more often than not we step in towards the end of life. Horses that come from feed lots, or their owners can’t care for them anymore, or ones that have been abandoned. When a horse gets older and outlives their usefulness, as awful as it sounds, that’s when others step away and we step in. The end of life is an incredibly important part of life itself.
Anyone who has been a caregiver to an elderly family member can tell you how important that last chapter in a person’s life is. There’s a balance between providing care – which is often time arduous – and love. There’s giving them dignity even though so many of the things they used to be able to do for themselves are no longer possible. Just because someone is older, does not mean you stop treating them like a person. Same with our horses.
Yesterday we lost our sweet boy Gary. Gary was in his 30’s. He came to us with very little meat on his bones. He would stand in the yard with his head down and not move very much. Within a couple weeks though he was breaking into the grain room at every turn and his ears and head would perk up when you called his name. He had near constant diareah or loose stool that we tried endlessly to alleviate. That meant he got a lot of butt baths. He was the perfect little ambassador. He loved to be loved on and we fell hard for him. At his first vet appointment our vet said that we had Gary on borrowed time. We don’t know much about his life before he came to us but in the time we had him he was cared for, loved on, and appreciated. He crossed the rainbow bridge with a group of people around him who absolutely adored him. We told him it was ok to go. We pet him and held his hooves. We loved him until the very end and will continue to love him.
Every one of the horses that comes here changes our hearts a little. It’s not just we do for them. They make us better people. They teach us how to love and let go. They teach us how to care for one another. They bring us together in joy and in mourning. They show us that what we do is important and that it matters weather we get to spend years, months, or weeks with them.
So here’s to all the horses that have crossed the rainbow bridge but forever live in our heart. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to love you and to know you. You have changed us.