Good Bye 2009

For the last week, I have been trying to stay positive about the holidays and come up with a thoughtful, reflective piece about the last year. Still, as I look back on 2009, it is with a heavy heart. So much loss. My brother, Dewey, died suddenly in February. I still can not believe he is gone. Typically, when I suffer a human loss so great, I hide myself in the barn and rely on prayer and my horse buddies to carry me through. I was comforted and came to understand that God knew of my pain and held me in his hands. So, I was taken completely off guard when our resident gelding, Barhopper, left us to live with his family on March 10th. It felt like I lost more than I could handle. But, God gave me more to think about. Alabama Nana died April 29th; the comic relief of Jamra was unexpectedly taken from us on June 24th; my dog, Riley, died on July 21st and then, my most beloved Iza Valentine died on August 6th. I prayed God would take no more. Then came word that Barhopper passed on August 21st. The ache in my heart has become so familiar I notice more when it isn’t there. Every morning as I walk up to the barn I hope this year has just been one long, bad dream. But it wasn’t. It was too real, too awful and much too much for me. Still, I do not question that all are in Heaven and wait for me. I remind myself that all are free from pain, illness and worry. These thoughts will have to do for now.

Of course there is the ever present reminder that Smokies Love is on borrowed time. She turned thirty-two this year and had been in remarkable health. A serious of injuries beginning in January and a major stroke in October have taken the toll. In fact, SEVERAL times this year we thought we would lose her. On October 28th, she stopped breathing… twice. We called the vet fully expecting to have to euthanize her. After all, she had been down for hours, was struggling to breath and had such a rapid, irregular heart beat we could actually see it pounding in her chest.

Smokie, however, had other plans. She heard the vet’s truck pull up and lifted her head to see him. Her head dropped again and her ears turned to hear the doc’s footsteps approaching. Apparently, that ol’ girl wasn’t ready to leave… she STOOD UP and walked away! Amazing. We all just stood there dumbfounded. Smokie healed almost completely, walking straight, eating well and rebounding in miraculous form. Oh, she has a bad day or two here and there showing the affects of the stroke but all in all, we can celebrate this miracle.

With loss, there is gain. We have four new ladies! Getting to know them has been an adventure and a joy. The first to arrive was the pretty Ms. Royal Flagship on July 23rd. She is stunning. It took some adjustments and a few arguments between her and I, but she has settled in nicely and has become quite well behaved. She knows how to act like a lady and understands her job in the equine public relations business.

History was made on September 10th with the arrival of Taba Dance, daughter of Taba. We rejoiced in being able to give her a home as we have missed her Mama so much! This gentle giant stands 16.3 hands tall! Oh, what a sweet horse! She is NOTHING like her mama in attitude! Taba Dance figured out quickly that visitors equal carrots and Jeanne means kisses.

A short week later Missy White Oak and Ms. Stalwart stepped off the van. Both mares are loving, kind and eager to please. I was delighted in the ultra conservative Ms. Stalwart’s incredible reaction to the snow. You should have seen her! She romped, ran, crashed to the ground, rolled, jumped up, bucked, reared and started all over again. She looked like a kid out of school running around that pasture.

Missy White Oak seems more like a three year old than a gal in her twenties. She is very well behaved but NOTHING stops her when she gets going. She runs laps around the pasture whinnying at the top of her lungs, encouraging the other ladies to join her. It’s quite a sight and BOY can that mare cover ground. I sort of wish there was a race I could enter her in, LOL.

While new faces help ease heartaches, I still look for the ones who are gone. Having lost so much, I will not be sorry to say good-bye to 2009. Instead I hope we never have another year like it.

So a toast to all of you from the ladies and I. May your upcoming year be better than the last, may you always have carrots and Stud Muffins to eat, and may you be blessed with enough equine love to help get you through the rough days.

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