Brooke was born in 1989 and raised on our farm. At the age of three, she injured her hock and as a result was never 100% sound for riding. Thus, she became a part of our breeding stock, and over the years foaled out multiple award-winning fillies and colts. Over time arthritis began to set in, and it became more and more difficult for her to get around.
Much like any horse, we had our fair share of “scares” with Brooke. From colic to dystocia, she definitely kept us on our toes. One year she carried identical twins almost full term – one died in utero, however, and the other foal, who we named “Mini” (because of her small size) was born prematurely. Towards the end of her broodmare career, she had some difficulty delivering a large, solid white colt (EyesABright Prospect, aka Little Joe) which resulted in a hematoma within her uterus. With the help of our veterinarian and proper care, the hematoma slowly decreased in size, and we were able to breed Brooke one last time. Her last foal, a filly (Eyes Lookin for Gold, aka “Roo”) out of our stallion, is now 6-years-old and under saddle.
Because of her natural highly maternal instincts, we very rarely had to worry about her foals. After her foaling days were over, she became a babysitter for weanlings and yearlings. She had a very patient, laid back personality, but held her ground when the young ones pushed their limits. If Brooke decided she was going somewhere or wanted to leave, there wasn’t much arguing with her. She’d simply pick you up and take you with her. (Seriously, not much could stop this mare, aside from *maybe* a concrete wall.)
Saying goodbye is never easy. It doesn't matter if it’s temporary or permanent, a close friend or an acquaintance. For this reason we often turn our heads, avoid confrontation, and ignore the fact that goodbyes are inevitable.
If you have never owned or cared for a horse, you might not understand why this is a difficult process. After all, it’s just a horse, right? Not exactly. Yes, they are horses and can be considered livestock. However, when you work and interact with a horse on a daily basis, investing your time, energy and mind in them, they become more than just another animal. Emotional connections are made and life lessons are learned from these intelligent creatures. They become more like a child or a mentor to you. And usually the longer time you spend with a horse and the more connected you are to them, the more difficult it is to say goodbye.
There are, however, some positive things that result from these difficult goodbyes. We learn to appreciate what we have just a little bit more than we did before, and take advantage of opportunities that arise. We cherish the friends, family and loved ones in our life. And one of the biggest realizations that we come to, for me at least, is the reminder that life isn't always going to be easy or fair. Things won’t always turn out the way you’d like for them to, and we all will face trials at some point in life.
In short, take advantage of opportunities that are given to you. Cherish every moment and memory as a gift from above. And give your horse (or pet) an extra hug every now and then.
“Life aint always beautiful, tears will fall sometimes; no, life ain’t always beautiful, but it’s a beautiful ride.” - Gary Allan