It’s no easy feat to say goodbye to your senior horse. That animal is your pet, your friend, and even part of your family. It is a tragic day when you look at your old steed standing aimlessly out in the field and you must admit to yourself that its time.
You know that their food is bland and hard to chew. You know that their bones ache now, so they no longer run and play. You know that the joys of their life don’t outweigh the suffering. One of the hardest things about being a horse owner is knowing that your horse is in pain or sick. It is even harder to do the humane thing.
It often feels like the stages of grief. You put off the acceptance and deny that putting them down is the most merciful option. Once you finally realize it is not right to let their suffering continue, you prepare for the inevitable by giving them treats, horse kisses, and by crying your eyes out.
Then, you call the vet and they show up with a solemn look. Your four-legged friend is sedated and laid down in soft green grass. A neon-blue liquid is injected into the jugular vein on the neck. They take their last breath and you bury your face in their soft mane.
They have crossed the Rainbow Bridge. You then must be able to pull yourself together to call a body disposal business and you have them haul your friend away. Losing your animal is an extremely traumatic event and undoubtedly heartbreaking. Sometimes, it can even be harder than losing a person because horses offer a form of unconditional love that is hard to find in humans.
Here are some ways to help you grieve the loss of your horse.
Write a letter
This may seem silly, but writing a letter to your horse can make you feel like they are still with you. You can say your goodbyes, share memories, say loving words, and tell them how much you are going to miss them.
Make a keepsake
There are tons of horse keepsake ideas. You can hang up one of their horseshoes. You could make an adorable horsehair bracelet. You can frame your favorite picture of the both of you as well.
Talk about it
Sometimes getting your grief out is the healthiest thing for you to do. Enlist a friend to talk and vent.
Draw a picture
If you enjoy art, then sketching or painting a picture of your horse might make you feel better.
Eat some sweets
Nothing makes me feel better more than a batch of warm cookies and a glass of cold milk.
Go do something social and fun
Sometimes getting out of the house and having to interact helps with sadness because you are not focusing on it.
Sometimes, you just need to let it all out. Crying is healthy.
Go ride another horse
Nothing can ever replace that one special horse in your life, but riding may help a grieving owner remember the happy times horses have brought them.
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