By: Ambassador Elizabeth Noelk
It was a Tuesday morning. I was getting ready to leave the barn and head to work when I heard my trainer, Andrea Duffy, call my name. I turned around and started to walk back towards the barn, Andrea was walking out to me. “I have bad news,” she started. My smile immediately faded. I knew the bad news she had to deliver was that my precious Molly had passed away.
A week and a half prior, I had traveled to Mississippi on business. I received the phone call Molly wasn’t feeling well and would be staying at the animal hospital for the night on Wednesday, October 4th. I traveled home on Friday, October 6th. Molly was still at the animal hospital. I was receiving updates from Andrea and Alexis daily. Molly was stable, but still not feeling well. I visited her Saturday, October 7th with hopes to bring her home soon. Tuesday, October 10th Good Golly Miss Molly took her last breath in this world.
After hearing the dreaded words no horse owner ever wants to hear, I walked around the barn gathering the items of Molly I wouldn’t use on another horse. Her purple and black show halter, her purple monogramed shipping wraps, and her purple show bonnet. Molly would never be able to wear them again.
I only stayed away from the barn for three hours that day. In those hours, I was still trying to make sense of the fact that I was never going to see my horse again. I wasn’t going to be able to ride her or show her. I wasn’t going to be able to groom her or clip her. Most importantly, I would never be able to hug her again. Our time to make memories was over. All I had left now were the memories we made together. While they are precious, but they will never be enough.
Our time to make memories was over. All I had left now were the memories we made together. While they are precious, but they will never be enough.
When I returned to the barn, I fed the horses and started the afternoon chores. Andrea was with me all day. Helping me with stalls and refilling waters. I took immense comfort from being around her. I knew she had experienced the loss of a beloved horse before. She understood how I felt. She taught a lesson and then we went on a trail ride. She told me stories of Molly -- how she had always had a mind of her own. Molly was a different spirit to say the least. She was good at breaking things -- fence boards, fly masks and bridle nosebands were just a few of her victims. As we spoke, I remembered the first time I rode Molly.
It was two years ago, Molly was strong. She hadn’t been ridden in a while and her energy level was high to say the least. Andrea had said that first day, “I just need to need to find someone with patience and consistency to ride Molly.” I don’t know why I kept riding that mare. There were plenty of other horses on property, but she was a challenge I couldn’t ignore. As I worked with her, I fell in love with her courage and raw talent. That mare could jump out of her skin. She would take any distance I asked for. We grew closer and stronger as team every day. Andrea had found her rider. Molly had found her friend.
As the day went on, I receive condolences from others. Everyone kept mentioning how lucky Molly was to have me. But I was the lucky one, for I had Molly.
The only thing you have to do in life is die, everything else is simply an option.
To my dearest Molly,
You were the most amazing mare. You had the option to refuse every jump. You could have taken off and thrown me many times. You could have dumped my butt in the mud. You never did though. You chose to work with me. You allowed me to teach you. You grew with me. Together we learned the challenges of the jumper ring. You were patient with me when I made a mistake and I was patient in return. I knew you would have to leave me one day, however, I had hoped that day wouldn’t come for a long time.
You will always be in heart. There is a special place for you. You will live on in the memories I have of you. As the days pass, my tears will turn into smiles as I remember you. Time heals all wounds, but no horse will be able to fill the horse shoes you left behind. But you did have some pretty big hooves to begin with.
It brings me peace to know that you are with Lawson in heaven now. Andrea and Alexis reassured me Lawson was the only other person that loved you like I do. I don’t mind that no one else discovered what Lawson and I did. We know you are irreplaceable.
In honor of Molly and all our beloved four-legged friends, I ask that anyone who reads this blog post to place a picture of their beloved pets on Instagram and/or Facebook. Use a purple heart as the status and the hashtag #ForeverInMyHeart. Please tag myself (@thenoelk/Elizabeth Noelk) and #AdultAmmyStrong (@adultammystrong). Thank you.