How To Cope When Your Horse Dies
Hi! I have a wonderful chestnut Quarter Horse Gelding. His name is Hotshot. He is 22 years old. I have been with him for 2 and a half years. I LOVE HIM TO DEATH! I fear the day I have to say goodbye. I never want to let go. He listens to my problems and makes me laugh when I want to cry. He is the only one one that I can tell ANYTHING to. How can I feel good when he passes. Any tips?
Thanks for your email. It’s neat to hear about your horse and how you have found a good buddy in him. I probably don’t have a really great answer for your question, but I did want to mention that at age 22, Hotshot has a pretty good chance of living another ten years. It always depends on the horse’s level of health and how well they are able to maintain good quality of life, but if he is well taken care of, which I am certain he is, then he might have another seven to ten years to go yet. So I wouldn’t worry too much about him dying just yet.
If he is in poor health, it’s always a good rule to do what’s best for your horse. Sometimes they need to be put down to avoid a painful ending, and you have to reassure yourself that ending pain or suffering is the most important thing, even if it hurts to make that decision. I have lost two or three good horses to bad injuries or old age, and my childhood horse Rudy is getting up in years…he is 24, and I never know when my Dad might call me and say that he died. I will be sad when that happens, but I am comforted in the fact that he has had 24 wonderful years that he’s enjoyed every minute of, and that I have tons of old memories of him that I will take with me forever. Those will never die.
Take a lot of pictures, spend a lot of time with Hotshot, and just be mindful that his best days are right now, having you as his owner. That will give you a happiness and satisfaction that will carry you through when the loss does come along.
Take care, and good luck to you and Hotshot!