Grieving the Loss of a Horse Friendship

  • View author's info Posted on Sep 20, 2006 at 06:47 AM

    I lost my horse today to colic. I've had horses for 25 years and never even seen a case of colic until today. He was fine last night when I fed and now he's gone. I was there the day he was born 23 years ago and held him while he died. I wonder how long this is going to hurt, because I'm sure hurting tonight. I can't really show it either because I've got three little girls who are as stricken as I am looking to me to be the pilllar of strength when all I want to do is lay down and howl. My non-horsey friends and co-workers don't get it. I wasn't planning on going to work today (I finished burying Khoney at around 3:00) but my boss insisted that I come in for a meeting anyway. I think losing my first baby should qualify for bereavement leave, because I'm not in condition to be good for much of anything. How can I fill the hole in my soul where he used to be?
  • 23Comments

  • View author's info Posted on Jun 11, 2014 at 04:40 PM

    I saw your email.  We lost my daughter's pony to EPM 13 yrs. ago and it still hurts.  Luckily we have a farm and were able to bury her on it.  I didn't raise this pony/horse (13.2 hands), so I can't possibly imagine what you are going thru but, Lady not only taught my daughter to ride, but her 2 brothers and every neighbor kid that came over here learned to ride on her.  Tried to jump her once in a western saddle the kids were using and got my bra hooked on the saddle horn - pretty painful, but funny now.  Just remember the good times your baby brought you and not the end.  Your horse gave you many years of happiness and memories just try and concentrate on that.  God love ya and I am so sorry for your loss.


  • View author's info Posted on Jan 02, 2012 at 09:26 AM

    It is so sad to lose any animal but the loss of a horse tops them all and I lost my mare that I had since she was 4 yrs old and she had to be put down from colic at age 30 in 2008 then not 6 months later her son died at the age of 26 yrs I truely thought I had a heart attack when I found him dead in his stall. I share your pain and honestly you never really get over it, it is like losing a child which I had already suffered when my son committed suicide in 2002. The way I dealt with it was I comforted myself in that I had them both in my care and in my family for their entire life and they are not suffering any longer. It is best in my mind to not hide your greif but deal with it head on and childern are tougher than you think, if you hide it from them it can be just as unhealthy because they may see it as your not caring as much as you do. So dont be afraid of messing them up, it is good to show grief but just not to cling to it and wallow in it. Hope that helps you and again I am truely sorry for your loss. I am sending a photo of my beautiful boy that passed when he was 26 yrs old.

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  • View author's info Posted on Jul 07, 2009 at 01:26 PM

    Hi oregonkim,
    I am Connie {HorseSpirit}.I am so sorry to hear you lost your beautiful horse to colic.I well understand how you are feeling and feel your pain.My deepest sympathy.Its' like your heart has been ripped out,isn't it?
    I love all animals,horses with all my heart and 10 years ago I lost the most important thing in my wonderful,best friend,Chili-Sauce.She was part QH/Arab,my soul-mate.Our bond was so deep.When she got sick,I slept with her in the stall each night,and each night she would make her way to where I was laying and gently lower herself and lay by my side.I would softly stroke her forehead and softly sing to her.
    She fought a brave battle for 2 weeks,but in the end i had to let her go.Chili had Potamac {sp?} Horse Fever.Part of me died with her,but as a tribute to her I am now a full time horse trainer/rescuer.
    Again,I am very sorry for your loss,but keep your "baby" close in your heart...he is galloping in pastures at Rainbow bridge.
    Stay blessed....Connie
  • View author's info Posted on Apr 29, 2009 at 10:27 PM

    I am so sorry for your broken heart. First, he was lucky to die in your arms..a real blessing. I know how some critters are more special than others. I still miss my first dog shows how soft heart i am!!
    I believe, when i die she will be there waiting to cross me into the white light along with few other very special animals i have had.
    IT hurts like hell in the beginning but it does get easier in time. How long? only you can know that answer but i promise you it will.
    I can see that you had many people respond to you and i hope it helps...i hope you have close friends that can help you in person as well.
    Please write as often as you need here. Grief is a process. But like i said it does get easier but i will also tell you this...something might remind you of your boy maybe ten, twenty years from now and you will still break out in tears like it was yesterday. I know that has been true for me.
    I hope it helps knowing all of us on here care so much...just cry as much as you need too.
  • View author's info Posted on Feb 15, 2008 at 03:12 AM

    Im grieving over the loss of one of my horses. A 20 year old Pure Arabian who was in my life for 19 years. He had cancer which started on his nose and 3 operations later it still returned but this time under his jaw. A place where it could not be operated on and was a mater of time when to put him down.
    I got 3 years of pains taking effit to keep it clean and comfortable for him. But the past 3 weeks it seemed to get out of control and it wasnt going to get any better, so I had to make the hardest dession in my life thus far and to have him put to rest.
    I didnt want him to suffer and go through the pain of it all and while he was in good condition and sound mind, I had him layed to rest on the 6th of Feb at 2pm. I held onto him till his last breath and heart beat was no more.
    He went so peacefuly and calm as tears flood from my eye's while typing this.
    Why do we become so attached to them and why is it so hard saying goodbye ?
    I know he is in Heaven where the weather is always warm and green grass and fresh water is forever. Even his paddock mate Goldie the Pure Arabian mare who is 28 years old misses him and was standing at his grave for 4 days, it broke me up everytime I looked out to check on her.
    He was truely saddly missed not only by my but by his paddock mate.
    I cant see the screen for tears to type anymore, sorry. I miss him SO MUCH.
  • View author's info Posted on Aug 14, 2007 at 03:11 AM

    My pony Candy died on the 10th July 2007. She was 33 years old.
    She was my constant companion and my most loyal friend for 21 years.
    I miss her more than I can say.
    I hope I find another like Candy one day but she could never be replaced.
    "Love you Candles"
    "Keep on stomping 'n' chomping"

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  • View author's info Posted on Jun 25, 2007 at 09:15 PM


    Im so sorry to hear about everyones losses, i have been lucky enough not to have lost a horse but my girlfriend has and she hasn't been the same for a long time, a year later she is better but i can see it changed her.
  • View author's info Posted on May 09, 2007 at 09:20 AM

    i lost my horse this morning at 3am this morning. he had a wonderful day yesterday. he got hand grazed, riden, jumped, bathed, and hand grazed some more. when he got ridden he he almost bucked his rider off. this is the fist time ive had to deal with this type of loss. its hard to deal with because iconsidered him my baby. i will miss you always NIBBS.

    i will name the new farm after you love always megan
  • View author's info Posted on Feb 18, 2007 at 02:10 AM

    Hi. When person losed horse, it is very bad event. I losed my favourite mare Tasy the 22nd of December. She had very hard colic and she must be slept. This horse was very ?mportant for me and it was horrible date. So I wish you - have helthy horses. Cavalo
  • View author's info Posted on Feb 01, 2007 at 04:42 PM

    How's it going now? It takes time, I lost my best friend during colic surgery so I know how you feel.

    Don't go out looking for another horse till you are ready. I did, and bought a lovely horse that I wasn't suited to for the wrong reasons. years later I have only just been able to sell her and get a horse I love and really enjoy riding.

    Take time and allow yourself to grieve. I know how awful it is when work colleagues say " well it was just a horse" It made me feel like thumping them.
    Oh well, take care and good luck
  • View author's info Posted on Jan 20, 2007 at 09:57 AM

    All losses are never forgotten. What we can do though is try not to focus on them and move forward. Look back at the good moments and see how much you were taught. Do not grieve over the happiness put a smile on and tell your new horse or animal all about him. Crying once in a while about it is okay it is healthy to let it out as when you keep it inside all the tension builds up. SO let it out for a few weeks but move on go outside an run and be active don't sit a grieve. I have seen friends do that and it destroys their life. He was very special i can tell sadly he had to go but now he is in peace and has all the wonderful memories of you.
    Good luck with your recovery i wish you all the best.
  • View author's info Posted on Nov 22, 2006 at 04:55 AM

    Kim & all, the heartfelt responses here are helping me, too. Kim, you spent almost a quarter century of your life with your wonderful horse. The loss of that sort of relationship leaves a hole that takes time to heal.
    I am faced with the decision of putting down my 24 year old "through thick & thin" mare. She has been with me longer than most people I know! She has cancer that is progressing, and her quality of life is going to get bad soon. It is so hard. Wish some of you were here to hold my hand through it. I've already put it off longer than I should have.
  • View author's info Posted on Nov 21, 2006 at 03:58 AM

    I lost a horse to colic in 2005, there was nothing they could do at Liverpool when they opened her up,she had a 12 week old foal at foot, she had to go to be an angel and her baby had to come home alone he hated me ever since, Ive recently sold him as I found it very painful to be reminded of her everytime I saw him, hes now very happy and loves his new home. The pain one feels at the time of loss is indescribable, they never live long enough my heart goes out to you, Ive lost a foal a few yrs ago and I will never recover from that,the pain reduces with time, hold on to the good memories and that it is better to have known than not.
  • View author's info Posted on Nov 20, 2006 at 08:02 AM

    Lost my IDxTB Chestnut Mare 7 years ago and can at least now look back with just the good memories. The new horse never really replaces the old. Over time it will get easier and you won't forget them. I wish you all the best.

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  • View author's info Posted on Oct 10, 2006 at 07:49 PM

    Hi Kim,

    As are others, I am very sad to hear of your story. I do not currently own a horse myself, though I did a few years ago; however, I used to work with Bottlenosed dolphins, which are equally as emotionally addictive as horses, and I experienced the loss of a female (respiratory illness) that I got to work with for a short time. In my eyes, horses and dolphins are not just 'animals' as many see them, but extensions of ourselves. They possess not only physical, but emotional beauty that we as humans become quite addicted to (and for many, including myself, dependent on). The joy of owning and being with anything is always balanced by the grief of losing it. As this applies to friends and family, I sincerely DO sympathize with you when it comes to your horse, though only you can truly understand and cherish your feelings for Khoney. Let the tears come, for they represent the love you have for him, but you might give some thought (if you're a religious person) to the beautiful rides you'll share with him in Heaven when you two meet again.

    - Ryan
  • View author's info Posted on Oct 06, 2006 at 07:21 AM

    Dear Oregon Kim....

    "Death ends a life, not a relationship, which lives on in the minds of those that survive"

    You have lost a friend and probably more of a friend than some people that you know. But the bottom line is that your beloved horse lives on in your heart and in your mind. Hold onto to those thoughts...and let your children see you smile again. See the pillar of strength that you are in your children's eyes whenever you speak of your horse. The hurt fades slowly...but time is just a word that measures the changes in the way that you feel when life turns the pages. The hurt does turn into smiles...believe me..I know.
    Shine on...

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  • View author's info Posted on Sep 30, 2006 at 10:48 PM

    I've had "special" animals before. I don't know what creates that bond, but it is definitely real. I would suggest that you get a plaque or headstone made of some sort so that you (and your girls) have some tangible way of honoring your horse. I had a cat of mine cremated and she is sitting in my house to this day! Some people think that it is quirky, but it gave me a lot of comfort to know that I could have her with me always...Maybe you and your kids could also have a little memorial ceremony together...Just a few thoughts that I hope help you in your grieving process
  • View author's info Posted on Sep 30, 2006 at 08:26 AM

    Thank you all for your understanding. You've all suffered this way too. I have to stop and remind myself that loving any living being exposes us to the risk of being hurt, but what joy would life hold without those relationships? I'll never have another relationship with a horse like I did with Khoney, because the times I shared with him are gone too. I have a young mare at a trainers that was intended to be my replacement mount so he could be retired. I will carry on with that plan and hope that I can make some memories with her that will carry me forward. I've had other horses while I had him, but never felt the same attachment. I wonder what it is that generates chemistry between a particular horse and rider and binds them together?
  • View author's info Posted on Sep 29, 2006 at 05:37 PM

    I am SO sorry to hear about all of your losses! Being a horse owner pretty much my whole life, I consider them a part of my family. You must be devastated to say the least!! Be strong, I know it doesn't seem like the pain will ever subside, but over time it will lessen, but will never lessen your love,
    Take care!