All horses go to heaven. No longer in pain or feeble, they wait for us at the rainbow bridge. We see them as they once were - strong, healthy and at peace.
But before I go further, I need to take a step back. To remember. To relive.
I bought Wow as a somewhat gangly 5-year-old. He was handsome and floated across the ground. I had high hopes for us. As things go however, Wow and I had a bit of a rocky road. But when things were good they were SO good. Things were finally falling in our favor. There were more good rides than bad. I felt we were really clicking as a partnership. I was on cloud nine.
Then, the c-spine osteoarthritis diagnosis in the summer of 2017 really threw a wrench into our plans to move up the Adult Hunters, but as a horseman I did all I could for him in hopes he'd come back stronger than ever. Despite my efforts, and the efforts of my amazing trainers and vets, the best decision for Wow was retirement.
Wow has been living the retired life for about two years now. His mane grew out, he lived outside most of the day and made friends with his pasture mates which included a mare, goats and chickens. He was happy being a horse. No stress and no pain, just being a horse.
While he wasn't being ridden he occasionally toted kids around at the walk. Something he was great at as he would never put a foot wrong or even shake a fly. I'm convinced he must have been a leadline pony in a former life.
Wow was literally living his best life, and it made my heart happy to see that. That's what all horsemen want for their equine partners, to be happy.
Friday evening I got the sad news that Wow had to be put down due to injuries suffered from a fall in the pasture. It doesn't feel real. He just turned ten on February 27. He wasn't a large part of my life since retirement, but I knew he was happy.
Grief is a needy mistress. She can come in waves strong enough to knock us off our feet. She often stays long past her welcome. She forces you to endure memories that make you wonder if you could have done more; if something you did — or didn't do — led to this; if you could have done better. We know not to let her in our heads, but she is most insistent and convincing.
Goodbyes are always tough but they are even harder when you can't be there to say goodbye. And ever harder still when it's a goodbye forever. I will forever be thankful for each day I had with Wow — the good and bad — because I learned something from him every day.
Thank you Wow. Rest in peace big guy. I'll see you at the rainbow bridge.
RIP The Wow Factor