June 21, 2012

The Hardest Day In A Cowgirls Life

Not much phases cowgirls. They see it all. They feed early in the morning and late at night, they muck stalls and horse manure is the least thing that would make them turn their nose up. Cowgirls spend sleepless nights doctoring sick horses...or worrying about what they can do to 'fix' an injury.

Staying on a horse isn't what makes you a cowgirl- caring for your mount is what makes you a cowgirl. The hours spent in the barn out of the saddle...that is what makes you a cowgirl.

A cowgirls job isn't an easy one...but you'll rarely hear a complaint. There is only one moment in a cowgirls life that she'll admit is hard...and she will cry on that day. She won't hide her tears on that day because nothing else matters to her...on that day. The day she loses her horse.

On Monday, I had to say goodbye to Broadway. He had yet another abscess in his hoof and was no longer walking. He would lay in the pasture and grind his teeth from the pain. I laid in the sand with him as he shook. I watched and calmed him as he had the equivalent to a seizure...multiple times. 

I made the call to the vet to have him put down. The hardest decision in a cowgirls life. I felt like a failure. I worked so hard to get him healthy...to "save" him. My heart ached as I helplessly stroked his face. 

"I'm sorry I couldn't do what I promised I'd do for you, buddy...I'm sorry I couldn't make it better," I whispered to him, tears rolling down my face and onto his nose.

He lifted his head and placed his nose into my lap. He nuzzled me with his ears forward. At that moment a calmness came over me. I knew I was doing what I'd promised him- I was going to take the pain away from him. I wasn't going to selfishly keep him on Earth for me. He wasn't passing away in a pasture alone- from malnutrition and God knows what else. No, I decided a year and a half ago that wasn't going to happen. He spent his last year and a half here in a loving environment- with so much love from so many people.  He was going to pass peacefully...and I knew I'd done exactly what I'd promised.

After he was gone, I stayed in the pasture with his shell. His spirit was gone- but his body was waiting to be buried. The friend who kindly came to bury him with his tractor begged me to go inside.

"Please, Eden...you don't want to watch this now. Please go inside," he said.

"No, I'm not leaving him. I haven't left him for a year and a half and I'm not going now," I said.

He knew there was no use arguing. I watched his burial and the tears slowed. My dad stood with me- tears streamed down his face.

"This hurts so bad...it makes it- it makes you not want to start over with another one because of how this hurts," he said.

"No...no no. They give you enough love when they're with you- they fill your heart with so much love and joy that it carries over. It makes you strong enough to start over with another," I explained.

He nodded.

There will never be a replacement. There wasn't a replacement for Sham when I lost her at 9 years old- there wasn't a replacement for Brandy when I lost him at 16. There are wonderful memories and knowledge that carries over...things that you see in another horse that remind you of all the good from your previous love. But never a replacement. 

Broadway - I will miss your kind eye and sweet nature. I will miss the way you used to peep at me through the gate...just like Brandy did when I was little. I will miss the hours we spent together every day. Little Miss says you have wings now- so I don't have to worry that you're hurting anymore. She is so wise, isn't she? Thank you for all the joy you brought to me and my family. We will always miss you.


  1. Definitely shouldn't have read this at work - you've got me all teary. So sorry again that he's no longer with you in body. I know this decision has been troubling you for quite some time. I'm glad you're both at ease now.

  2. Ughh Eden I'm balling! I know he was a good boy even if he did get upset when u would make him wear his shipping boots, lol the last memory I have of him is him putting his bootys on and prancing to the trailer! You are a great person even for the short time I have known u an I know you tried for him and he was thankful! Muah!

  3. Thank you for this....so many people never understand what a horse brings to us. I can have the worst day and when i finally get to the barn and see my 3, everything stressful just goes away...its an 'ahhhhh' feeling.

  4. Eden,
    A few years back I watched a cowgirl sitting on the ground, under a tree in order that her horse could be cooler. she fed him water from a bucket with her hand, as that huge head of her sickone found comfort in her lap...the image will forever be with me...I watched from a distance, my heart swollen with the grief i knew she felt....
    You know i'm not a cowgirl, but I have been educated and consider myself a very
    small earth-element to the connection of that love between the two....
    From that experience I want you to know....I DO FEEL YOUR PAIN...and I'm so sorry for your(and you family, including Kat and your dad) loss....,<3....love, ms d

  5. Oh my gosh Eden. I didn't realize he was this bad off. This breaks my heart. I am just so very sorry.

  6. Eden, This is so sweet, so well expressed. I feel your pain. Love, Nancy