Mars died today. He was a 29 year old warm blood horse who was brought to my sister's horse ranch about six months ago to finish out the rest of his days. Who knew the end would come so soon? With these horrendous heat waves we have been having lately it was just too much for him to bare and his body gave out on him.
I have never watched a horse being put down. I had the unfortunate task of putting my beloved wiener dog Waldo down in May. He was not very old, only 8, but something ravaged his body and there was just no way to save him. He loved to play, and his last moments were spent carrying toys around the doctor's office.
Horses don't have that option. They are so large that once they go down and can't get up their muscles start to deteriorate. I spent a lot of time in Mars' pen watering him down, sponging his face and neck and stroking his beautiful soft muzzle. I spoke softly to him, telling him that he had had a long wonderful life and that he was very gallant, but that it was OK to move on. I suppose the words were more for me, but he seemed to appreciate the company and he just would not give up.
He had lots of company in his pen at various times, Karen, Bill, me and Teri. Finally the decision had to be made to call the vet. It was the most humane thing to do because he had been down too long.
You would think that vets are used to these kinds of things, but I overhead him whisper to the horse as he moved away "goodbye horse". We all tried to be brave for Mars but I saw Teri wiping tears away from behind her glasses, Bill walking away to find his peace and I myself needed to blow my nose from watching such a brave and gentle soul trying to fight away the black cloak of death.
Good Bye Mars. You were a grand horse.