This morning I woke up and my heart felt heavy and at first I couldn’t remember why. But then it hit me. Today I was going to say goodbye to one of my friends, my co-teacher, my horse. Today is the day I set up with our vet to let her go. The pain in her eyes, in her hips, and the tightness in her muscles was becoming constant and her soul whispers to me, “please let me go, it’s time for my rest.” At first I fight her whispers, I turn away and try not to see, but she’s determined to show me and her whispers seem louder. I pick up her lead rope and the exhaustion from her washes over me in waves, I can barely lead her into the barn because it’s overwhelming me. I feel tears trickle down my face as my heart answers her and it says “Okay, I will call, I will let you go.” I stand with her for a moment, dry my tears and contact her vet. He agrees with me and we set up her appointment. I tell her two more nighttimes, then we will let you go. She looks at me and continues to eat her breakfast. She knows I will do this for her.
So this morning the two night times are over. I look up, and check my watch, it’s 9:30, chores are almost done, the horses have been fed and now it’s time.
I walk to the wall of halters and pick one that fits her the best. This is the hardest part for me, the last walk to the pasture to get her. I feel the inside of me shaking, I don’t want to do this, but she asked me to, and I know I can’t deny her this. I see her at the edge of the herd, I walk to her and gently buckle the halter on her head. We stand there a moment, and just share space. We feel the sun, it’s so warm and it feels good to just stand there with her. She sighs, I turn and lead her towards the barn. Just before the gate, she stops, there is a moment of panic from her. I didn’t expect that. We stop, I stand there and whisper, “I love you.” She relaxes and walks with me to the barn. We groom her there in the barn, scratch her in all her itchy places, she makes her camel face as we scratch her belly and for a moment I smile.
Kate braids her mane and we give her handful of horse treats. I then gently lead her to the trailer. She sends out a little nicker, looks around, then walks into the trailer with me. I gently close the door and on legs that are still shaking I get into the truck, start it up, and ease down the drive. I’m glad my mom and Kristin are with me. I feel so shaky on the inside and I don’t really want to do this. My mind screams stop, but my heart says keep going.
We get to the clinic and walk her back to the place we will let her go. It’s still beautiful weather, the sun is shining and she is with people who love her. She knows she was loved, and loved well. Our vet comes out and gives her a shot of something to help her relax and we walk her to the back of the clinic where she will rest. Our vet gives her the final sedation and she lays down and nickers as she leaves us. I will miss her gentle nicker, her eagerness to eat, and her way of teaching our students. She was a good, good horse, our Brandi Girl. I hope someday to see her running with our herd, with no pain, a healthy glow, no limp, and clear eyes that don’t hurt anymore. Run free dear Brandi. Run Free. You were a great teacher, partner, and friend.