Donerail Farm
Dressage and Sport Horses
DF Muscatyr
                                                                                     Beloved companion
 
It is always hard to lose a horse. It's especially hard to lose one that you raised from a weanling and was a faithful and good companion for nearly 13 years.

In a way, I was lucky though. I knew this was coming,and could plan for it and had the luxury of saying goodbye. 

That  afternoon I spent 2 hours sitting in a green plastic lawn chair in
Muscatyr's stall, with a bucket in my lap. During the course of those two hours, Muscatyr consumed a bag of jelly beans, 3 apples, about a pound of green grapes, a bag of baby carrots, some alfalfa, apple wafers and Equine Junior (which he had a particular fondness) Later (much later) I joked that if we were not putting him to sleep later in the day he would surely have to go to A&M for colic surgery from all the junk he ate.

While Muscatyr ate this huge smorgasbord of his favorite things, I apologized for the stupid things I did, the fits of impatience and sometimes just plain ignorance. I am happy to say I have learned a lot in the last 13 years and unfortunately Muscatyr did not get the full benefit of the more enlightened horseperson. But I think he was able to forgive me. 

I thanked him for the wonderful memories he gave me, for never hurting me and for greeting me with enthusiasm and happiness each and every time he saw me. 

I thanked him for those glorious hours we spent riding along our rice canals, where Muscatyr helped me recapture some of the feelings of unfettered freedom and joy of my childhood days on horseback. I have so many fond memories of our miles spent out on the trail - just he and me.

Several rides stand out in my mind.

Late one fall I trailered him to a large field and rode alone in the dark. The grass and weeds were already dead and as we trotted along in the dark, the only sounds I could hear were the rush-rush-rush of the weeds as we parted through them, and the dull thud of his feet hitting the soft earth. It was a full moon and we cast a solitary shadow on the ground - horse and rider as one entity flying along in the night.

Another memorable ride is when Muscatyr discovered his speed. Having been ridden in an arena his entire life, and in a sport where every stride is controlled,  it took him a while to realize he could go fast. One morning, under an impossibly blue sky, I let Muscatyr "go" on the canal bank. Everytime I thought he was at top speed, suddenly he would discover another gear. I had so much confidence in him I was able to revel in his sheer joy as he flew ever faster. By the time he reached his top speed, the wind had whipped tears into my eyes and I could barely see where we were going.

These memories mean so much more to me than those from our dressage days. Maybe because Muscatyr was so much happier out on the trail.

I cried a lot that afternoon, but he still managed to make me smile. Every time I left his stall and came back he whinnied wildly like he had not seen me in months. (Do you think it was the FOOD?)

My vet arrived at the appointed hour. He and I just exchanged looks as he walked into the barn. He seemed to know that if he talked about it, the dam would burst. I had backed the truck and trailer up to the back of the barn so Muscatyr would not have to endure the pain of  walking to the back of the pasture, where he would breathe his last, and he would be buried. He always loved to go places and was always excited when he saw the trailer getting hitched up (and yesterday was no exception) so I guess it is fitting one of the last things he did was take a trailer ride. The trailer ride was like a funeral procession; I drove so slow so it would not be bumpy for him.

I unloaded Muscatyr at the back of the pasture and we walked a short distance to a shady spot.

I said my goodbye; my vet asked me if I was ready. I wanted to scream "NO!" but I knew Muscatyr was ready to go. He  gave Muscatyr something to make him lie down. Then he administered the final shot as Iknelt beside him and held his head.

His great heart beat for a long time,slower and slower still. He blinked a few times, sighed a few times and finally my vet said "He's gone."

He left me there with Muscatyr. I called Mike on my cell phone as I sat in the grass next to Muscatyr. Mike sobbed like a child right along with me. 

I sat there a long time, and then finally placed a sheet over Muscatyr and went to call the guy with the backhoe.

I was riding Lisa when he came, so I walked her out there to show him where Muscatyr was to buried, and to retrieve the sheet. I got off of her to get the sheet and I wanted to let her see Muscatyr. they have been barn mates for her entire life.

It was the most eerie thing I have ever seen - when Lisa saw Muscatyr I saw a look of shock on her face. I never in my life would have thought a horse could look shocked. But she did. She crept forward and I let her. She sniffed Muscatyr all the way from his ears to his tail, pushed him gently with her nose and then licked him. I started crying all over again.

So. It is really hard to go into the barn. It is much too quiet. I hung a sign on his stall door telling my barn helper to not go in there, not to clean it and not to put another horse in there. As irrational as it may be, at this point I'm reluctant to even clean his stall. When I saw his green feed buckets this morning I started crying all over again. But I know I did the right thing. It was easier to let him go than to watch him struggle with the daily pain - even tho he did it with such quietdignity and good humor.

And if there is the kind of heaven I hope there is, someday he and I will fly over the earth again together. 
August 23, 2001