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Crossing Over Naturally

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Joanne

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I have a 26 year old mare. She was born at my mentor, Linda Barethlein Marzec's Suggar Creek ranch, bought by Winner's Circle and then bought by me when she was 21 years old. She had one stunning colt that now stands in Australia. This mare is a gem. She cares for newborn foals as a nanny, watches mares that are due to foal and is a perfect horse. She has had excellent care her whole life and still can easily trot and enjoys life.

I have had two incidences recently that remind me that she will pass over the rainbow bridge one day. This week she was very quite, seperated herself from her herd and ate and drank only a little. No signs of colic, no temperature or any other symptoms. Her eyes were open and alert. After two days she was back to normal.

My question to those of you that have had older mares die naturally is:

How did they go ?

Were there things you noticed before they died?

Did you just wake up one day and find them ?

I would appreciate any memories you can share.

Thank you. I am trying to prepare myself for the inevitable. I know I will never be truly ready for her to leave.

Some horses just leave large footprints on your hearts than others. The actual size of the horse does not matter.
 

Laura

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[SIZE=12pt]We have had to help our few very elderly horses pass on. They had complications and pain and I wasn't willing to let them suffer. Now, with that being said, I have a 41 year old and a 29 year old here that are doing beautifully [/SIZE]
 

Minimor

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sometimes they may keel over and be dead almost instantly; often they get weak, go down, and lay there for hours or maybe days before they finally die. I haven't had them go that way, but know others that do just let them die naturally.

Do they die peacefully and pain free? Perhaps sometimes. Other times I expect that there is discomfort and even pain and misery. Sometimes it's a matter of starving to death, whether they lose interest in eating or cannot eat due to lack of teeth. The possibility that they might be suffering prevents me from letting them go this natural way.

Mine get help to cross over when it is time.
 

Laura

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sometimes they may keel over and be dead almost instantly; often they get weak, go down, and lay there for hours or maybe days before they finally die. I haven't had them go that way, but know others that do just let them die naturally.

Do they die peacefully and pain free? Perhaps sometimes. Other times I expect that there is discomfort and even pain and misery. Sometimes it's a matter of starving to death, whether they lose interest in eating or cannot eat due to lack of teeth. The possibility that they might be suffering prevents me from letting them go this natural way.

Mine get help to cross over when it is time.
[SIZE=12pt]Us too, although I have warned Steve over and over (he LOVES Fancypants, the oldest) that we might well just find her dead one day. He will be devastated
*I* know she has had a wonderful life, the last 15 or so years with us, so I will accept it when it comes...but Steve, he loves her so much...[/SIZE]
 

sedeh

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I've never been "lucky" enough to have the old ones die naturally. I always had to make the "decision" which I hate. Right now I have my last big horse, who's 35, and is having some issues. I read about people who go out to find that their old ones have passed naturally; I keep hoping but I'm afraid I'll have to make the "decision" once more.
 

Marty

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Skipper was a red roan senior citizen Quarter Horse who was terribly abused and starved when I bought him 12 years ago. You could tell he was beaten into submission half to death. He had 13 owners in his 26 years of life; I owned him his last two. Skipper warmed up to no one except our little pony Frosty who Skipper bonded with and became his shadow and best friend. He looked at me and the boys and starred right through us always with a blank expression. He had no spirit; clearly it was broken long long ago. This horse had been beaten down to nothing. He was passive like "do anything to want to me, I don't care" and kindness made no difference. He didn't know how to accept kindness. The boys and I went out of our way several times daily just to sit and share some kind words, petting, offering treats, still Skipper never responded. He was silent. Then one day two years later I heard him whinny from the barn for the very first time. I went right up and couldn't hardly believe Skipper had found his voice. When he saw me he whinnied again and again and then it turned into a nicker as if he was speaking to me, trying to tell me something. I went into his stall to see what was going on and for the very first time he laid his head on my shoulder and nudged me back and forth while I petted him and spoke back to him. He continued to nicker and warm up to me for the very first time ever he was displaying affection to me. I opened his door and proceed to let him out. He walked in front of the stalls to his best friend Frosty and hung his head over the top of Frosty's door and nuzzled with him still nickering. Then he laid down right there and died that minute. I think to this day Skipper was thanking me for giving him two years of good care and love and wanted to be able to say goodbye to me nice and proper, and Frosty too. It was truly a heartbreaker.
 

Tango

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Marty,

That is heart warming and heart wrenching at the same time. He was truly thanking you and died knowing he was loved and well taken care of. If only the billions of people on Earth knew how truly intelligent animals are, maybe millions of animals would have better lives. One could only hope.

Nikki
 

Joanne

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I guess I am hoping to be one of the lucky ones and wake up to find her dead in her pasture surrounded by her friends. But I will not let her suffer. I have had to make that decision for my dogs over teh years. They are my shadow and when they go (always WAY berfore I could be ready) it is like seeing a family member go.

Could any of you share if you had any signs before that they were going IF they went naturally like Marty discussed ?

Did they seperate from the herd or stop eating?

I understand if they colic or are in pain you must step in and let them go, but if they pass on their own, were there any indications?

Thank you for sharing. You are all helping me get ready for the moment we all dread.
 

Miniv

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Joanne,

That is truly lovely ...... your sensitivity warms my heart. I've spoken of this on here many times in regard to animals who are ready to "cross over". Watch their face. Watch their eyes, in particular. They will tell you when they are "done" and yes, sometimes it means that we have to help.

When your special girl acts funny and goes off again, sit down with her and look into her face and ASK her. She'll hear and will respond either by perking up a bit to show she's not quite ready, or she'll give you "the look" that says that her Life Spark is going and she needs your assistance. And sometimes (but not often) they will tell you they are ready and then take care of it themselves before a vet comes, but that is rare.

Marty wrote a beautiful description of her experience. What a sad soul, but one who was still able to tell her that he appreciated her tender care at the end. Not everyone has that happen. It would be nice if all of our oldsters could go like that.

Bless you.
 

Joanne

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Thanks Maryanne,

I actually did sit down next to her several times, and if I called her when I walked along the fence she responded. I did indeed ask her if she was thinking of leaving me and told her it was O.K.

I brought her into the barn at night the first night and gave her a blanket as we were having a cold north wind this week. Though she has a very large shelter in the outside paddock, she chose not to use it, which was uncommon for her. But in the morning she went out the barn door and straight to her mare buddies. On the third morning she was back to normal and is just fine today, eating and drinking like nothing ever happened. I went through this for 24 hours this winter and did the same thing, brought her into a barn stall and blanketed her. The next morning she was just fine again and ready to see her friends.

I too was so very touched by Marty's story. Especially that she let the horse out and he was able to say goodby to his friend. Thank you for sharing that with us Marty.
 

Royal Crescent

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for the very first time he laid his head on my shoulder and nudged me back and forth while I petted him and spoke back to him. He continued to nicker and warm up to me for the very first time ever he was displaying affection to me. I opened his door and proceed to let him out. He walked in front of the stalls to his best friend Frosty and hung his head over the top of Frosty's door and nuzzled with him still nickering. Then he laid down right there and died that minute. I think to this day Skipper was thanking me for giving him two years of good care and love and wanted to be able to say goodbye to me nice and proper, and Frosty too. It was truly a heartbreaker.
I about cried reading this story. They are really part of our families
 

Marty

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Joanne to answer your question, as far as Skipper, there was no warning. He showed me no signs that anything was wrong at all. He acted normal like just any other day. I went in his stall to feed breakfast that morning as usual, dumped his grain, he began to eat and I continued on down the line feeding the rest. I went back into the house to start housework. Must have been about 30 minutes or so when I heard him calling. I guess he just knew it was his time and he didn't want to leave without saying goodbye. I was home alone, the boys in school, Hus at work, I was completely shocked. I wonder if it was a heart attack. I just don't know. He was a very sad little horse. Makes my eyes wet thinking about him.

 
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Joanne

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Marty I appreciate your sharing this with us. It is a wonderful account.

You gave him a great home and a new friend. It is understandable that Frosty showed him the friendship he desired. It was the closest to a horse that he gt to learn from.

Many others gave up on him along the way. I see that too with miniature horses when I turn over their papers and see the list of people that have owned them you wonder why they have changed hands so often.
 

SilverDollar

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Joanne,

That is truly lovely ...... your sensitivity warms my heart. I've spoken of this on here many times in regard to animals who are ready to "cross over". Watch their face. Watch their eyes, in particular. They will tell you when they are "done" and yes, sometimes it means that we have to help.

When your special girl acts funny and goes off again, sit down with her and look into her face and ASK her. She'll hear and will respond either by perking up a bit to show she's not quite ready, or she'll give you "the look" that says that her Life Spark is going and she needs your assistance. And sometimes (but not often) they will tell you they are ready and then take care of it themselves before a vet comes, but that is rare.

Marty wrote a beautiful description of her experience. What a sad soul, but one who was still able to tell her that he appreciated her tender care at the end. Not everyone has that happen. It would be nice if all of our oldsters could go like that.

Bless you.
Miniv, what you wrote about asking them is so important. When my 30 year old gelding completely blew out his tendon over a year ago, my vet warned me that this could be "it". It was so hard...he was in a lot of pain and each night he would lay flat out to rest and sleep (he's a 16.2 hh TB cross). I would go down and sit with him and one night, through my tears, I had to ask him if he needed to go. I looked long and hard into his eyes, and he looked back and told me he wasn't ready. So, we continued to nurse him back to health and he is still limping around today. I wasn't ready to let him go (I won't ever be ready--he's my first horse) but I knew I had to ask and honor his needs.

Marty, what a heartwarming story about Skipper--such a sad soul--but I'm so glad you were able to make his last years comfortable. And how wonderful he had such a true friend in Frosty.


Joanne, I have three seniors and I, too, think about the inevitable. Thanks for bringing up this difficult subject. I don't think anything can prepare me for their crossing, but I know that whatever they need me to do, I will give them their dignity. For now, I take one day at a time and thank God each morning for all the gifts standing in my barn.

Rebecca
 

Joanne

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Hi Rebecca,

Thanks for sharing your story and responding to the others.

Jasmine adds so much to the ranch by her everyday actions and is so wise. I will miss her terribly when it is time.

I think we can all learn a lot from these older horses. They have so much to teach us.
 

MiLo Minis

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I had a quarter horse mare, Peaches, that lived to the age of 32. Her last winter she really dropped in the back, lost weight and looked old. She had very little tooth left and was eating mush. I decided I would give her one more summer and then......

We had a couple nice walks over the summer and come August when it started to get cool at night and even with a blanket I would find her shivering in the morning (she couldn't stay indoors as she was heavey) I decided it was time to make the call. The vet was scheduled to come on Friday morning and on Thursday I looked out to see her wandering around and around the field. I went out to her and she came over for a pat. I was scratching her neck and talking to her - told her that the doctor was coming tomorrow and she would soon be young again and see her best bud, Brooke, who passed away a few years earlier. She started to sag at the knees and went down. I hollered for Mike, my husband, who came running out. I told him to get the vet now! She put her head in my lap and was kind of moaning and nickering, she let out a little whinney and died. We called the vet back to let him know and buried her out back.

I got her when she was 15 years old and she was a great little horse. She was quite badly heavey when I bought her and I got her on meds and in good condition - rode her in endurance where she took "best condition" on one ride! We never won anything else but did we ever have a lot of fun. The girl I bought her from sold her because "she was useless and didn't know anything". She had 9 owners before me. I got in touch with a few of them and from what I can gather she was quite an awesome little horse - she had NEVER been trained to ride at all and the first person to get on her just assumed she was ridable because she was 6 years old at the time and very quiet - up till that point she had been used as a halter and showmanship horse and that was it. I loved that little mare and I miss her to this day.
 

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