It was 2002. She stood in a corner of the pen at the feedlot with about 30 other horses. All by herself not wanting to interact with the other horses. She was 26 yrs. old and had been sent to the feedlot because she could no longer be bred. Her next step in her journey would have been on a truck headed to Texas for slaughter.
Born on the King Ranch in Texas in April 1975, 96 Foundation Quarter Horse. A jewel that would lose her shine. Worthless to breeders because she wouldn't form a follicle. Her registered name is Golden Lashes. I've always called her Honey.
She seemed so forlorn and I just couldn't stand it. So, I bought her for 500.00. She became my personal spot of sunshine. She had cribbed for so many years that her front upper teeth were gone. She was prone to choke, so I fed her soaked pellets w/senior feed and gave her alfalfa to keep her busy. The other horses would get her leftover stems as she would munch off the leaf on the hay.
When she busted into a trot she would sashay her cute little QH butt from side to side. A nice little mover who absolutely loved people. The biggest pocket pony you could ask for. She would follow me around, sneak up on me and blow through her nostrils to let me know she needed a rub, a hug, a scritch. She loved to be loved. She was a favorite of the kids that come out as she was so personable and kind. Her lovely golden color in the summer was beautiful.
She helped to teach Baxter about being a horse. He didn't have a clue how to act around other horses and Honey taught him. At first, Honey would talk to him in that low voice Moma horses use for their foals. As his education progressed, she would discipline him when he got too out of hand. For a horse that didn't care for other horses, she did a good job raising him....even though he was 17 yrs. old at the time and had not been with other horses.
She was a loner until the last couple of years. I put Dolly next to her and the two old girls became friends of a sort. They would cruise around together, share their feed (they were on the same mush diet although Dolly could actually eat hay!) and they stood together while they took naps during the day.
In the last few months Honey was having difficulty getting up. She only lays down at night, but it became increasingly harder for her to get on her feet by herself. Several times I called people out to help me get her up. Most of the time I was by myself. She & I would work and work to get her hind end under her and she would finally stand. Per the vet, we put her on a daily dosage of Bute for her arthritis and it was my hope that she would make it to 35 years or more.
I was concerned that after Dolly crossed the Rainbow Bridge that Honey would get depressed. She didn't seem depressed, not off her feed, just getting older and more arthritic I guess. On the day that Dolly passed I had the vet look at her left eye as it appeared cloudy. I had thought that she injured it when we were trying to get her up. Vet said no, it was Iritis. Not uvitis. He said it would be a short time and she would be completely blind in that eye and that has been the case.
Thursday, the farrier was out. One of his assitants was doing Honey's feet and had her leg angled out a bit far. She went down. She had never gone down before. We got her up and finished her trim. After they left, I got a moment of clarity as I watched her cruise over to Annabelle the Donkey to see what she was up to. Honey's cute QH butt was narrower, she now had "Old Horse Butt". Her back had dropped some in the last 2 years but she had always maintained that chubby butt. It was now gone.
I went out this morning and she was down again. It's time. This is one of the hardest decisions I have made. But, as Willem says: "This it be right". She deserves to leave us with dignity and respect and she will. The vet will be out tomorrow morning to help her cross the Rainbow Bridge. I could call our backup vet, but I want our main vet to be the one, so we have to wait until tomorrow morning.
This has been an awful year in our rescue world. We've had to help several of our older rescues cross the Rainbow Bridge. Dolly was laid to rest on 10/29/09......just the other day. The economy is in the toilet, donations are down, we've switched to feeding alfalfa for all the horses because Orchard Hay is so high priced. We have been making it through the hard times because of donors, good friends, selling items on Craigslist, Fundraisers and making every penny count.
The financial issues have been difficult, yet losing some of the TIER residents has been even harder. Losing Honey is the hardest. She's been with us for 7 wonderful years and I am honored to have had her my life.