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.