I lost my best friend - now what?

unbalanced

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Two weeks ago today I had my beautiful mare put to sleep. She was twenty four and suffering from cushings and arthritis. The vet suggested retiring her when she got very lame very quickly, but I realised that much as I would have loved to put her in a beautiful field, she was still cushings and still so stiff on two bute a day so had to say goodbye before she suffered.
I got Marni when I was fourteen from a stud which was selling up. She was nine and just backed. I had only ridden school ponies and thought I knew everything. When I first got her home I didn't have a saddle, got on bareback and got bucked off before fifteen seconds were up.
I spent most of our first winter getting bucked off and learning my way around A&E. By the second year I could jump well over 4' (and build the craziest courses), bomb around like a madwoman, hack in the heaviest London traffic, and she'd taken me to my first shows and won our first rosettes.
We moved yards and when I was supposed to be doing my A-levels all I cared about was dressage. One of my proudest moments was winning freestyle to music on 75%. We went out competing dressage and cross country - my parents have a picture up of us doing a trakhener with both of our eyes closed.
When I went travelling and to uni she went on loan to my friend's riding school in Cornwall. She taught lots of people to ride and being quite well educated herself helped many others to advance, as well as hacking over the glorious country there.
When I returned she came home and got me through depression, my finals, my MA and teacher training. She moved away from home with me and stood by my side as I escaped a horrible relationship.
In theses recent years despite her diagnosis of arthritis she's taken me to a number of sponsored rides and jumped the plane at RAF Halton. She even won at dressage and working hunters until two years ago and was still jumping clear rounds and having lessons last Christmas.
Last summer we went on holiday together to the South Downs. It was incredible anyway, but gutting when she got a girth gall on the final day. I rode bareback, galloping bareback over endless stubble fields with my best friends.
Now she's gone and I can't believe it. Please raise a glass to her tonight though. I will need some advice in a moment but I would like to end this post with the thought that this was my horse of a lifetime, my best friend and I owe her everything.
To Marni.
 

unbalanced

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As for the advice, when you lose your horse and don't have another, what do you do to fill the hole in the practical sense? I don't want another (not yet anyway). So I have lots of evenings and weekends. I don't want to be around friends horses. I need suggestions please!
Secondly, what of their stuff do you keep? I have put it all in my parents' house so far except the stable mats which were deemed unreasonable.
Thank you x
 

Exploding Chestnuts

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As for the advice, when you lose your horse and don't have another, what do you do to fill the hole in the practical sense? I don't want another (not yet anyway). So I have lots of evenings and weekends. I don't want to be around friends horses. I need suggestions please!
Secondly, what of their stuff do you keep? I have put it all in my parents' house so far except the stable mats which were deemed unreasonable.
Thank you x
I think parents were sensible to draw the line at the stable mats.
Do you have enough mane / tail for a bracelet, if not find something and have it set in acrylic for a ring pendant, earrings! / brooch. you could try silver jewellery making.
She did you well, and must have adored you too.
I have taken up courses on coursera.org , and have found one or two that are interesting. I also play bridge on line and am considering strategy games.
For horses, I went to the YRC and had one lesson, very expensive but that focusses the mind.
I suppose you could try ski-ing, sailing, gliding, micro-lighting, all action type of sports which take time.
Keep saddle bridle and bit.
 
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throughtheforest

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What a touching post, Marni sounds like one hell of a best friend to have and although it sounds like you may feel a bit lost now it won't be forever. With so many of the points you shared, I can relate to too, including the depression and some of the bucking off and crazy course building too!
There's always one horse that touches us more than any other, they change our lives in so many ways and teach us things that no one else can. I will raise a cup of tea as that is what I'm drinking at the moment! RIP Marni
 

Tobiano

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So sorry to read this - your loss must be very painful given your amazing history together. She sounds wonderful and you didn't let her suffer.

I don't really know what to say for advice, though Surreydeb's is a good idea. Unless there is something you have wondered about doing before but not done because of no time - like cooking or photography?

If it was me I would probably get rid of all the kit too - chances of it fitting another horse if you do feel able to get one in future, are small, and it would probably be upsetting to see it all around the place.

Hugs x x
 

Penny Less

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So sorry to hear this, they do leave a gaping hole don't they. Don't get rid of your tack etc , put it away somewhere if you cant bear to look at it. Then sometime in the future you can decide,
 

Arizahn

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Write a book about her, and your time with her. Very cathartic process, writing.

I would probably store everything until I felt ready to pass it on. Rugs and headcollars could be donated to rescue centres, tack could be sold, but if you do end up getting another then you might find that some of your current gear would suit it anyhow, so I wouldn't rush to part with it.

Thank you for sharing this, OP. Hugs and best wishes to you. RIP, Marni.
 

blitznbobs

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I'm so sorry you've lost your friend ...

My piece of advice is for if you ever decide to get another... Don't try and buy the same horse again... I tried this for years buying the same breed and colour etc etc it never worked. Only when I changed tack and chose a totally different boy did I make a connection again - don't get me wrong I've got a lot of rosettes with those in between horses but they were never my friends ...
 

SuperH

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Sounds like you have loads of amazing memories to treasure. I lost my horse of a lifetime in 2000 and I still miss her, I take comfort in knowing we did the right thing for her and having great memories.

I kept everything, I'm still using her bridle, numnahs, bandages and rugs on one of my current mares (and boy oh boy do I wish she was half as good as the mare I lost, I'm hoping using her equipment will rub off on her lol!). I have also used her saddle and bits on another. I tend to like similar types of horse so as second hand tack seems worth so little and I had the space to store it I kept everything apart from broken items.

Also I totally agree with the above, when you feel ready don't try to replace her, choose something similar if you like the type but don't expect to love another nearly as much instantly. I found it took time but I have become very fond of a few others since, it remains to be seen if I will ever view them in the same way but one of them in particular is certainly heading in that direction.
 

palterwell

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I lost my mare just before Christmas,she was 26 and she had been with me since she was 2 weeks old. I still have all her things and I've just started looking through them this morning.I think I will put everything away except for anything which is worn out. I've got a yearling now and it would be nice if he could wear some of her tack and rugs when he's older.
 

Goldenstar

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I have always had several horses so have never been left alone when one goes .
OP your horse sounds like a complete star .
I have had many horses but some stick out as special you miss them forever you never replace them because other horses are not them.
But that does not mean you won't find another horse friend .
Take time see what happens what you feel like .
It is I am sure easier to keep going when you get up the next day and the others still need working .
 

EstherYoung

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It is so very, very difficult isn't it. It's different for everyone, I think, and there are no right or wrong ways to be. I will promise you one thing though. One day, when you least expect it, there will be another that will make your heart sing. It will be a different song, but you will sing again xxxx
 

FinnishLapphund

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I'm sorry for your loss. It sounds like you made the decision based on what was best for her, and not yourself, which is something I wish more owners did.

She sounds like a fabulous horse, who has given you lots of wonderful memories, and the photo from a cross country ("my parents have a picture up of us doing a trakhener with both of our eyes closed") sounds fantastic.

I can't give any suggestions about what else to do with your new "free" time, it depends so much on what else you are or could be interested of. But, about what to keep and not, I personally think that it is better to initially save too much, rather than too little. Because once you've thrown something away, you can't get it back, but if you save something now, that you later feel that you don't need, you can always throw it away later. But I know that some people prefer to only save a minimum of things or nothing at all, so do what feels best for you.

((((((Hugs))))))
 

LeneHorse

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So sorry for your loss - you sound like a lovely owner who did the kindest thing for your best friend. I have a feeling that another horse will come along for you some time in the future so keep your stuff! I can sympathise as I lost my best friend pony to cushings in 2002 and now my current mare has it too. Its a horrible disease. Maybe you could use some of your spare time to do some fundraising for a charity that does research into cushings, if there is one?
 

lizbet

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So sorry for your loss - you sound like a lovely owner who did the kindest thing for your best friend. I have a feeling that another horse will come along for you some time in the future so keep your stuff! I can sympathise as I lost my best friend pony to cushings in 2002 and now my current mare has it too. Its a horrible disease. Maybe you could use some of your spare time to do some fundraising for a charity that does research into cushings, if there is one?
what a fab idea the chushings society.About time somebody did in memory of their horse.This vile disease just keeps taking.So sorry for your loss.Dont let the rot set in and take hold.Terriable heart breaking time.There are no words of comfort.But doing something to keep their memory alive may make you feel close as if still part of your life.
 

Farma

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I really feel for you, i lost my best friend 18 months ago and despite having bought an amazing new horse i still feel a huge hole in my heart and great loss, nothing will fill the hole but time is a great healer xx
 

Saneta

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So very sorry to read your tragic news. How wonderful that you were able to put her welfare above your brown feelings, the hardest thing that any of us has.to do...
Personally, when I had to say farewell to my girl, I could not even ride another horse, let alone think of buying one. I decided that at my age, I couldn't do justice to another horse, unless it was perhaps a rescue that wasn't to be ridden. If truth be told though, I honestly couldn't face that pain again. I'd had her for 20 years and I loved her so much, and naively thought we'd end our days pretty much together. I cleaned all her rugs, hay nets, grooming kit, feed buckets, head collars etc, filled my car up and took the lot to WHW at Snetterton. I had asked them first whether they would like me to sell the rugs and give them the money, but with winter coming on, they said they would prefer the rugs. They were delighted with it all. I helped unload everything and left very quickly, crying all the way home...
I had some special photos enlarged and put around the home. I also sent some of her tail to be made into a necklace, and still have a little left for, perhaps, a dream catcher?
I still look after other peoples horses occasionally, but I don't intend to get another horse for me. I would guess that you, OP, are a lot younger than me, and has been said previously, never say never! You won't probably even have to go looking, a special opportunity will come your way and all you have to do is make a decision!!!
 

unbalanced

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Thank you all for your kind words. When I get on the PC I will post some photos.
I like the idea of fundraising - I have joined a running club so perhaps I can put the two together.
I will also do some volunteering with stray cats.
 

Oberon

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So sorry for your loss.

I lost my old boy almost a year ago, so I know how you are feeling.

I gave most of his 'possessions' away to the local WHW centre before he was PTS. I didn't want to have to trawl through his stuff after he'd gone. The only thing I kept was his leather headcollar, but a few months ago I found it in the bottom of one of my tack boxes looking rather sorry, so I gave it to a friend who uses it for best.

I have some of his tail to use for a bracelet at some point, but I'm not ready yet.

I am lucky that I already had another horse, so I can focus on him.

As for what to do - I do endurance and they always need helpers at rides - either for the organisers or for an individual rider who needs a crew. You will be fed and watered. The season is starting now and will continue until October.

If you want to look into this you can contact Endurance GB or Sport Endurance and register your interest.
 

pip6

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Ditto the endurance either helping or as crew. If you are anywhere near Exeter I am co-organising an endurance ride from Bicton Arena in july this year. If you want to be around horses, come down (free to spectate), or I can put an offer to crew up on the notice board or come help for the day (lunch included).
 

merrymeasure

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I am so very sorry.What a beautiful tribute to her.She sounded a wonderful horse and best friend. I can offer no real advice.When I lost Bob I had Murphy, and when I lost him (both to colic) I eventually got another as I felt incomplete without an equine friend, she has helped to heal a broken heart.I'm no youngster, but horses keep me young, I don"t know how old you are but maybe one day you will find a place in your heart for another. But, I will most certainly raise a glass to your lovely mare.Bless you both. RIP Marni, run free xx
 

JoannaC

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What a lovely tribute sounds like she had a great life with you. When I lost my horse of a lifetime in 2008 I spent a few months going to shows and stud visits and lots of time walking my dogs. Three months without a horse was enough though and I had to get another one closely followed by another!

RIP Marni x
 

Brummyrat

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What lovely words, your mare sounds fantastic Im so sorry for your loss. Time does heal but you will never stop missing her. Take your time, that's all I can say. I lost my best friend last November after 20 wonderful years and my god it hurt making that decision, I was lucky in that he went from bouncing to very ill with a possible brain tumour, in weeks rather than a long drawn out illness. I work at the yard which helped me because I got so much support and so many shoulders to cry on, I just cried it out. I also got some sort of pleasure in donating some of his things to other girls who haven't got pots of money. Now, some four months later, Ive paid a deposit on a 3 year old. Same breed, totally different colour. Im probably too old but life is for living and my boy wouldn't want me to be unhappy forever and your girl would feel the same. Look after yourself xxxx
 
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