With the decision to euthanize Lily Monday, we had to decide what to do about Rags, a thirty-two-year-old horse who is frail, has very few working teeth, and is suffering from Cushings disease. Originally we decided to have the vet put him down as well, though that decision pretty much gutted us. We knew he would be incredibly stressed by being alone. However, my friend texted me telling me to bring him to her place. She has several other very old horses that she boards. Better yet, Rags lived there for several years before we set up the horse facilities here and knew her three remaining geldings, so he would have a ready-made herd. I told her that I would discuss Rags’ condition with the vet and make the decision then.
After putting Lily down we discussed Rags’ condition with the vet. She was quite supportive, though suggested it might not be a kindness to try to get Rags through another Colorado winter.
Another friend dropped what he was doing to haul Rags to his new home. Although it seemed to take forever to work out the details, I led Rags into our friend’s horse trailer a little after midday. He had been screaming for Lily since we put him back in the main horse field, ignoring food and water. I was afraid he would colic from the stress.
Rags was quite cooperative while loading and rode quietly. (In fact, I knew the trailer was here because Rags does a little happy dance when he sees a trailer pull onto our property.) After a short ride, we installed Rags into the corral where he will live until we can supervise his reintroduction into the gelding herd. The other horses, in an adjacent field, nickered when they saw Rags. He has a small shelter and his own stock tank. He immediately started eating some hay.
This morning I checked my records and we first had horses here in November of 1996. Aside from a few week long gaps due to wildfire evacuations that’s about twenty years.
This morning I did some clean up around the barn before the next rain storm. I couldn’t face doing so yesterday. I inventoried the remaining hay bales and drained the stock tank. My feelings resembled those when I cleaned out my mother’s closets after she died.