Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Sometimes, there is no solution. CP Trilogy June 14, 2002 - April 12, 2015

I enjoy playing spider solitaire--I like how there are so many ways to get out of a losing situation, and how with some creative thinking and looking at the cards with a new perspective, a winning solution can almost always be found. But sometimes, some games, the cards dealt prove impossible to manipulate into success, no matter how many different angles are tried. Those games, I sigh and resign myself to the realization there is no solution, no winning, and accept the loss.

My head hurts. My heart hurts.

Trilogy colicked last week, mere days after we'd brought him to a new facility for retraining with the intent to put him up for sale. It was a gut-wrenching decision for me, but knowing what a great horse he was and how he liked to work, it felt terribly unfair to keep such a busy boy at home, unridden and underused, while I continue to heal and await my body's new normal.  
Ever adaptable and unflappable, he took the move in stride, curious about his new surroundings and reportedly was absolutely fabulous working (as opposed to leisurely walking about on the trail) under saddle for the first time in nearly two years--you'd never have known it.  *sigh* Such a good boy.

The colic started just three days later on Tuesday, April 7 (my wedding anniversary), with no poop in his stall after many hours. Three days and three urgent vet calls later, he still was not right. When things started to turn again after a period of calm, it became clear he was not recovering and we ended his suffering. He was put down this past Sunday, April 12.

Everything about it was awful. Awful. He was not the horse I knew. There were momentary glimpses of him, but I caught myself repeatedly vexed by his behavior in the quieter, less obviously symptomatic hours, commenting, "This isn't like him. He's not this type of horse. He doesn't do this." 

My 9-year-old son was adamant he get some final pictures with Tril before we put him down. 
In those final photos, while Tril is still eager to get the carrots from my son (a blessing, as during part of this hell, he had no appetite and refused to eat), his eye is different. My inquisitive, goofy, sweet boy's eyes were tired. Sad, even. I suppose if there were a picture of my eyes, they would have been too at the time. Well, and now, too.

Final moments--I can hardly look at this

Here's the pair in much happier, healthier circumstances, just 10 days prior.
The storyteller in me wants to go into the details, but I am just depleted mentally, emotionally, and physically. However, I must share how my son impressed me throughout this. The whole family was at the barn to say our goodbyes, but my husband took our youngest away when the time came. I urged my 9-year-old to follow, but he was adamant he stay. I described gently how putting a horse down is not like other animals; it is a bit more brutal as the animal will drop. But he insisted. "Because, he's our pet, and you're my mom, and I don't want you to be alone in this." The heart, it broke. I accepted this and explained briefly what and how things were about to happen.

So, he stayed (at a safe distance) throughout the whole thing. As the vet sedated Tril, I sobbed while rubbing his head, "I'm so sorry. It wasn't supposed to be like this. It wasn't supposed to be like this! I'm so sorry." When the deed was done and I had regathered myself, I looked up and saw my son's watery eyes looking back at me. After retrieving Tril's personalized halter and his tail (cutting it seemed so criminal), I walked over to my son and we embraced and wept together. I thanked my son for staying and for being so brave, and before we left, he asked if he could go pet Tril and say goodbye. My sweet, strong boy was a man that day.

When I lost Ana, I had no other horse at the barn to help me through the grief--Firefly was still doing her work with the therapy program. This time, though, I have a horse to groom, to work, to tend to--I have a reason for going to the barn.  (Three, actually; we recently added two mini-Nubian bucklings, Moe and Roscoe, to our little menagerie in honor of our son's 9th birthday. He's been asking for a goat for every Christmas and birthday for years, and admittedly, the idea grew on us until we caved. Moe is technically his goat and his gift--he picked him out himself.)

Yesterday, exhausted as I was in every way I could be, I made sure to fawn all over my little red mare. Her mane and tail were conditioned and thoroughly brushed out, her tail neatly trimmed so as not to drag on the ground, her bridle path clipped, her supplements prepared for the next few weeks to come--with a digestive aid added. The idea of her colicking now is too much to bear, so I'm doing what I can to prevent it.

I am ready for my close-up. And that peppermint you're bribing me with to get the cute picture.
Of course, she loved being pampered, but loved more when I scattered some hay for her to snack on as she wandered the property with the bucklings. I am utterly shocked how much she was taken to the goats.  Shocked! She let them share the hay with her. She shared FOOD.  Firefly! She who makes sure all horses are at least 20' away from anything edible! Sharing food!
Photographic proof
I mean, I get it; they're adorable. But...wow.  I've since heard from the guy who feeds in the morning for us that the three of them all hang out in the shared corner of their paddocks together. A friend explained of course Firefly gets along with them--she's finally the giant she has always pictured herself being.

But the red-headed mini-mare who always puts on the tough-broad front let her true colors show briefly the first day we moved Tril. Though she soon moved on (perhaps aided by her new Nubian neighbors), that afternoon, she occasionally paced and whinnied, worried, eager, earnestly looking and calling for him and appeared genuinely affected he did not return.

I understand. I miss him too, girl.  I miss him too. 

It wasn't supposed to be like this.  I'm so sorry, Tril, it was not supposed to be like this! You were going to get this great new home, and I was going to follow your new story and cheer you on, with that right of first refusal always guaranteeing you had a home with us if the need came.

You go find Ana. She'll love you! You'll be her confidence, and she'll be your kindness. Look for her, Tril. She's waiting at the end of the trail for you.