The Gift

One of the guiding principles at my school concerns my school horses. Back in 1985, when I started the school, I made the decision that these cherished creatures would retire at the farm when they finished their working lives .

I have never regretted that decision but it does have consequences. One of the biggest ones is having to take on the responsibility of determining when my retired colleagues are no longer able to enjoy a good quality of life.

Another consequence of keeping older horses is that sometimes we have very difficult seasons, like this past fall.

We lost 18 year old Sadie to cancer at the end of summer and Radley, who was 25, succumbed to complications from Cushings this fall. To complete a painful autumn, we lost Wapiti and Atticus last month due to the infirmities of old age. (Wapiti was 31 and Atticus was 34)

This is from a few years ago but the message is still the same.

As much as it hurts, I think I am grateful that it never gets easier.

12 thoughts on “The Gift”

  1. Pat Pahmeier says:

    It’s never easy. It’s the last gift we give to them after all they have given us.

  2. That was one of the most beautiful videos I have ever watched. I always look forward to your videos. You have a gentle nature and a common sense approach. I have learned so much. Thank you for all that you contribute to the equestrian world.

  3. Lori Gordon says:

    I know that was a difficult video to make, about a difficult subject. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.

  4. Linda Clulow says:

    Beautifully said Pat.

  5. Judi McCracken says:

    I have always said my horses never leave my farm. I have only sold one and he was a young Arabian who needed work (further training and a younger rider.) He’s now on a 60 acre ranch in Colorado with an owner who adores him! :>
    I think one of the worst things to do is to sell a horse down the road who you know will not have a good life but you do it because you cannot make the decision to put them down while they are in your good care and keeping. Whether lame, blind or just elderly please keep them within your care and do the right thing. Hold them and speak gently to them as they ‘go to sleep’ in familiar surroundings. Go ahead and cry but know they are in a much better place and you gave them that ‘gift’ of freedom.

  6. Heather Jackson says:

    When Jack’s day came we had no choice but to make the right decision for him. It broke our hearts but both Maegan and I remembered your words about the gift a horse is to your life. Your words of wisdom and your compassion for horses had always help guide us in the actions we take in our horse’s lives. There is never going to be enough words to thank you for inspiring and helping us to be better horse people.

    1. You are far too kind Heather but I appreciate it very much. Jack was a lucky horse having found you and Maegan. Take care. Pat

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