Having just had a horrific night, one on which none of the trauma was mine, not my pain, not my pony. All I could think was someone needs to tell the human it’s ok to say goodbye.
Years and years ago my oldest friend and I made a pact, if either of us thought it was time to say goodbye to our 4 legged friend then we could say it. We could be the one to issue permission to the other, on the worst decision possible.
Both of us have had to honour this decision, on more than one occasion and it was never easy. I won’t lie, calling her to say it was time to say goodbye to her horse, who had been her rock through recent years, I barely held my shit together. I wept sat in my car in a super carpark, alone, for a good while after I hung up.
But this was the best way we could think to get us through this awful decision. Find someone you trust implicitly, who loves your horse like you do but has the distance to say it without fear of recrimination, that it is time.
I tell clients all the time to do this, find your horses “bad times” buddy and have them on speed dial, because when that horrific day comes you need someone who isn’t saying ‘well you can try this or that’. You need someone who will advocate for your horse above your own feelings. Who will be sensible and calm to help you to decide the worst thing ever.
Sometimes you just need permission to make that decision, and free your pony from pain.
People often say ‘better a day too early’ and yes I believe that but making that decision is so very hard, especially when people will talk and you’ll get lots of “Yes but”s… in an industry where people love to judge, it can be hard even when you know it’s right.
Having recently been through this trauma, all I could think today was thank god for my people,. People who are nothing but supportive and sensible, and never judge in the aftermath - because the horse is, as always, the focus.
So today I did say it, maybe it was unsolicited and maybe they thought I was cruel but my feelings were that no one was giving this human the support to say enough is enough. Maybe it’s not time but it’s ok to think about that, when things are heading down a slippery slope.
Someone always needs to advocate for the horse and if that means I have to feel uncomfortable and fight back tears to say hard things then so be it. Better 5 mins discomfort for me that the alternative.
I know how awful it is, I know the huge hole they leave that no other horse will ever quite fill but it is a decision that we have the honour to make so we need to be supported in that.
Here's two very special horses we had to say goodbye to, and there's not a day that goes by that we don't think about them.