Tribute to My Horses

Poppy
Poppy in her younger days.

Where do I start writing about what I feel about my little mare? I’ve put off writing in depth about this because it hurts. My heart is broken. Poppy has been a special girl in my life and has a special place in my heart.

A Tribute to All My Horses

I want to add this is a testimonial for all my equine friends. My first pony, Blackie, my first horse, Sandy, and her filly, Trampas have special homes in my heart as well.

Blackie, Sandy, and Trampas

Sandy
Sandy and I on our way to the 4-H grooming demonstration.

I owned my first pony, Blackie at nine. I became a happy owner again of a yearling buckskin mare when I turned twelve or so. I did most of the training of Sandy. We rode all over the area. My parents brought her with us when we moved across the mountains when I turned fifteen. She was family, no doubts about bringing her along.

Blackie
Blackie and I out on one of our many rides.

The day came when she foaled a filly. I named her Trampas because of my infatuation for Trampas on the
western series The Virginian. I knew it was a boys name, but it didn’t matter. Now I had two horses. My horse dreams were coming true. By now, I’m into my older teens and my love of horses is still strong, but apparently not strong enough and I sold my first mare. I regretted the selling soon after but was unable to buy her back. At least I still had the filly.

I got married and then pregnant. I sold Trampas after only riding her a few times. She was more horse then I
knew how to handle. The dream of horses got pushed aside as married life took over.

Bad decisions and not focusing is my only excuses for my life with horses. I don’t even like admitting any of this. But it’s the way life takes us at times. I also lost my mom in a car accident. My life didn’t look anything like I’d envisioned. I took others advice and didn’t explore my own mind and heart.

I don’t blame anyone except myself.

Trampas
Trampas, a few days old.

At the time when it came to making the decision to buy Poppy, I’m a widow, and my daughters were grown with families of their own.

It was time to visit and focus on my dreams again, the horse dream.

Poppy

The day a friend of mine told me she’d found a possible horse for me I felt a wow and excitement. Then I immediately turned practical. As I mentioned, I’m a widow, I take care of myself and have to watch what and how I spend my money. My next thoughts were should I spend my little dab of money foolishly like this? Was it foolish to buy a horse in my situation?

I’d wanted another horse for years. It was a big dream. I think dreams are big issues, they need to be addressed and focused on, not put away to be left hanging because of so-called more adult reasons.

I wrote the check and didn’t regret or look back.

Now I had to re-learn how to take care of a horse, how to brush her, clean out her hooves, how much to feed her, etc. etc. There is a lot to being a horse owner.

Lucky for me my friend was an expert horsewoman, she kept her horses at the same place so she helped me a lot. It didn’t take long. It was like riding the proverbial bike, you don’t really forget, things are just a bit rusty.

Poppy
Poppy out in the pasture.

Poppy and I had a lot of fun getting to know each other. At least I hope she enjoyed our relationship as much as I did. I’d bought her from a dude ranch situation. She was getting old and kicking at other horses. But with one owner and one rider, she blossomed. Basically, she was a sweet-tempered horse.

A big covered arena stood on the property where I boarded her. I took full advantage of it. Soon, Poppy and I trotted and loped around the arena and ventured out on the trails. I like the trails the best.

For the rest of our time together, eight years, we got along great. We had some issues now and then which caused me to learn more about how to be a horsewoman. I tried training techniques I read about and thrilled when they worked out. I think it made Poppy and I closer. She learned who the leader was in our little partnership and we both flourished.

With this horse, I determined to be the best horse owner to her as I could be. I wasn’t ever going to sell her. I had sold Sandy and felt guilt over that. It was firm in my mind to not make this same mistake. I intended to do the right thing with Poppy.

One day this past August, August 15 to be exact, turned out to be the last day I would ride Poppy.

We had a nice ride, just out in the pasture. We trotted around some barrels and poles the owner had set out in the field. It was a pleasant day, sun shining, but not too hot.

Not sure how long after that day I began to notice she stood kind of weird. Her back hip looked weak. The last time I’d had her hooves trimmed I thought she was going to fall over when the farrier was holding her hoof. This scared me.

She had already been diagnosed with Cushing’s, and I gave her medication for the disease. Also, the vet had
discovered a mass between her back legs. This could have been cancer, but I never found out for sure.

There wasn’t much I could do except keep her comfortable. She was 30 years old or more at this time.

I started giving her CBD oil to help the mass.  She didn’t seem to be in pain which was one of my worst fears. I did not want my horse in pain.

As winter turned colder, I kept a blanket on her. She always had hay in her bin and was given grain twice a day.

I think the cold got to be too much for her even though she had the blanket and a warm stall to get into. And
her age were all contributing factors.

The owner called me and said Poppy was down and he couldn’t get her up. He thought it best for me to get the
vet out to see her.

My daughter is a receptionist at the animal hospital. In no time a vet was on her way out to see my Poppy girl. My daughter came too. I am doubly grateful to have my daughter there as well.

I’m glad I could be with Poppy to the last even though it was one of the hardest moments I’ve experienced.

The vet explained the procedure and gave me a moment to be with Poppy before giving her the shot. I cry
as I write this. She was so precious to me.

I felt I was letting Poppy down. Then my daughter said that Poppy knew I knelt there by her side, it gives an animal comfort, to have their person with them. I’ve cherished my daughter’s words and get a measure of comfort from them.

Poppy is buried on the land where she last lived. I appreciate the owner allowing this. She was my friend and I’m glad I was able to give her a burial.

I picture her frolicking at the Rainbow Bridge with Blackie, Sandy, and Trampas. They are touching noses and
squealing, kicking up their heels as they chase each other around a meadow.

I miss her. It’s spring and I should be out brushing all that hair off, getting ready to go for a ride. Instead, I’ll visit her grave and put some flowers there.

The flowers will be in remembrance of not only Poppy but for all my horses.

Poppy
Poppy and I ready for a ride.

It’s been near four months since that day in December. It’s now spring. Some people buy a new horse when
they lose one, but I’ve opted not to do that. My age is part of the reason. I don’t feel up to owning another horse. Instead, I’m going to check out dude ranches close by and ride the trails and remember the beautiful horses that I owned and loved through the years.

Thank you for stopping by.

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