The worst part about having animals and especially horses is saying goodbye. This can either be in the passing on of a beloved pet or selling them to a new home. I was promptly reminded of this when a 24-year-old mare named Roany we have had since she was 2, passed over the rainbow bridge this past Saturday. I remember her from my lead line days dressed in matching sunflower vests with my mom. She was a great horse to start my show career with and many other little girls had the wonderful opportunity of learning from her as well. When coping with the loss or sale of horse remember these few things…
Talk to someone
Just venting and letting out your feelings for even a few minutes can help you to deal with the loss of your animal. Another person may help with kind words or simply open ears. Be sure to express your feeling rather than keeping them inside.
Keep busy! Find a barn to take lessons with another horse or take a trail ride on a friend’s trusty mount. If it is too hard, focus on non-horse related things that you enjoy doing like cooking or exercising. Just removing yourself for a week or two can make a huge difference and help you clear your head. This may be a great time to try a new discipline like hunter jumpers if you ride reiners or dressage if you ride pleasure horses. This could cure your riding bug without bringing back unpleasant memories.
Don’t try to replace them
It is human nature to compare any new horse to the one you previously had. It is important to remember that every animal is different. This new horse will have its own personality and its own great attributes to offer you. Make sure to focus on the positives of that horse rather than dwelling on what they lack compared to your previous horse.
Remember the good times
Looking through old photo albums can be soothing when dealing with the loss of your animal. Talk with someone else who knew your horse and chat about the good ol’ days. Reminiscing about the fun times can be very comforting.
“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”
-Winnie the Pooh