MicheleElys (!!!), as I answered my cell on Tuesday afternoon. Recognizing the heavy German accent, “MicheleElys, one of your horses is down! A neighbor has called me at work and said one of your horses is down!”
My mood stood at a frantic anxious attention. “What do you mean? Is he sleeping, rolling, what? Which Arabian is down? What do you mean down, are they both sunning?”
Again my friend replied in pandemonium; “I don’t know, I have called the vet, she will meet me there, I am leaving work now. When can you come?”
This is terrifying news for a horse owner.
As I anxiously awaited for my guest to arrive at my home, the next 15 minutes seemed endless.
My cell rang, my stomach tighten with terror. Death Never Takes a Holiday!
” MicheleElys the vet is here, your horse is dead!” “Which horse, Which Horse is Dead, Which Horse Is Dead?” I pleaded.
My heart wrenched as I listen to the following words. “SriZhada is dead, he did not suffer. It was either an aneurysm or heart failure. He went very quickly.”
Death came swiftly to my family and claimed SriZhada.
The Vet began to explain the differences in appearance when a horse dies from varying problems. It was too much for me to bear, knowing horses as long as I have, I stated, “You do not need explain, I have a medical background and understand the differences.”
At this very moment my guest arrived. Telling him earlier when giving additional directions to my home, I mentioned to him one of my Arabians was Down. As he drove up he immediately handed me a bouquet of Red Carnations with deep sympathies.
“I must get you settled, then leave, I do not know when I will be returning from the stables this evening. My other Arabian will most likely be in deep grief.
KlassicAmir and SriZhada have been together for 16 years. They romped in the sunshine over green pastures, jumped over felled trees, bucked and reared in playful delight, basked in the sun, pranced over high drifts of snow after a blizzard with their horse blankets keeping them warm, hid in their stall together when the thunderstorms came. Never apart except when I rode. They traveled together side by side from state to state when I was injured and required surgeries.
Streams of memories flooded my mind as I drove the long 50 minutes to the stable.
SriZhada was a playful, happy-joyous little Arabian who was delightfully easy to train. An unusual Arabian for he reveled in jumping, clearing 5 feet with 6 inches to spare. Even after his devastating injury, a torn stifle, SriZhada would jump over 4 foot fencing or logs with great enthusiasm, then pranced around, tossing his neck and head in exuberance.
As I drove to the stables, an odd thought flooded my mind: “I am so happy we returned to Colorado for SriZhada to die here on green pastures. I am so happy he died here in Colorado, our home.”
Odd what thoughts fill our minds when Death comes swiftly.
Both Arabians would run across pastures to greet me. I could hear their thundering hooves bounding over the tree edge, coming to an immediate halt three feet in front of me. Muscular chests filled with air, instantly turning around flagging their tails high in the air and letting out a loud snort and nicker.
Proud Elegant Arabians.
On Monday I spent hours grooming the winter fur from both of their bodies. Conditioning SriZhada and KlassicAmir’s mane and tail. Mucking the pastures and stalls – their poo looked normal and healthy. I left with the knowledge I would see them again on Wednesday.
When approaching the stables Tuesday late afternoon, KlassicAmir bellowed until I was beside him. Immediately I went into his stall leaving the door open, hugging his heated neck, feeling deep sadness. His deep guttural shrieks streamed agony through my body. Stroking his neck, reassuring him, “I am here now, I am here, I love you and am so sorry I was not here earlier today.”
My friend joined me, asking her to stay with KlassicAmir whilst I examine SriZhada.
It was obvious from the rigamortis and stomach blot he had died earlier that afternoon, suddenly. As I brushed him for the last time, grooming his chestnut body, cleansing the dust and dirt from his eyes; SriZhada was at peace.
KlassicAmir bellowed again, he was in pain! Walking up the incline to comfort his grief, I noticed his right pastern was slightly swollen. In his dismay, being alone KlassicAmir must had run around the pasture injuring himself. Horses bond deeply, in death, grief at times overcome them, often the remaining horse may die within days.
Grabbing the arnica oil out of my tact bag, I could see the relief when applying the oil. Next, feeding him apples and grain KlassicAmir began to settle.
Shredding some hay in his bucket, pulling up my stepping stool, Sade at my side we sat quietly. A dark solemnness usher in the night. Occasionally KlassicAmir would walk to the stall doorway and glance down at SriZhada’s lifeless body, whinnying loudly. Tears rolled down my cheeks. Family members came from their house to comfort us.
KlassicAmir ate quietly, alone for the first time in sixteen years. The night was still as a cool breeze filled the barn.
Wednesday came early, it was time to call the horse recovery service.
We both walked out to SriZhada’s lifeless body, telling KlassicAmir it is time to say goodbye. He bowed his head, sniffed then with a rise, sounded a loud whinny splitting the quiet sunshine. People drove by slowly, knowing a horse had died.
Purposely I removed KlassicAmir from his stall, allowing him the full walkway of the interior barn. I did not want him to see SriZhada’s body being removed. He ran from one end of the indoor stable to the other, shrieking. When seeing his life long buddy in the truck, he lowered his head calmly as I held him. For three days I stayed with KlassicAmir, only leaving in the dark of night.
Back to the Earth SriZhada returns, no chemical, no boxes, simply his beautiful Arabian body and what the Earth will use as nourishment.
Dust to Dust
In Memory of SriZhada
June 1997 to April 18th 2017
MicheleElys is a Writer – Speaker- Reluctant French Chef – Equine Devotee
Dedicated to Behavioral Solutions for the betterment of life.
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