Trail Tails: Saying Goodbye

Arabian Trail TrialFebruary 26th 2007 a date which will forever be stuck in my mind.  Why? That was the day I had to make the awful decision to euthanize my mare Hobbie.  Here’s our story on how we got to that point and what planning had to be one.

Mahaba Ghinwa (Hobbie) was a purebred Egyptian Arabian mare who unfortunately found herself unwanted by her previous owner and was abandoned at the farm where I worked, bored unpaid. On January 1st 2006 I paid off her back board and brought her home to my farm.  What a great little mare, she was only used as a brood and had little handling.  I worked with her and taught her to ride and drive and she soon became a favorite.  So much so she was my mount on our wedding day that October.

Unfortunately 1 year to the day disaster struck.  I remember it all too well.  January 1st 2007 was an seasonably warm day and the ground was bare and dy. I decided to let the horses out into the big field to stretch their legs since they have been stuck in the mud paddock for a few weeks.  I watched them run, buck, kick up for a while and then they all settled in and munched on some grass so I went about my day.

Wedding Horseback4pm that evening I rang our dinner “cow bell” and waited for the thundering hooves that usually followed but not this night, I only got one horse who sauntered up.  Stepping out into the paddock I could see Hobbie out in the field, ears pricked forward and she whinnied out for me.  I called to her and she bobbed her head up and down and whinnied again.  I knew something was wrong and made my way out to her.Arabian Horse Cart Cones Clinic

As I grew closer I could see there was a problem. Her left knee was the size of a soccer ball and she couldn’t move.  I tried to tempt her forward to get her back to the barn but she wouldn’t budge and I couldn’t blame her.  I called the vet and remained as calm as I could, explaining what I saw. 

The vet was only 20 minutes away but it felt like an eternity.  I had been in this position before and after much crying and tears I had actually come to the decision to put her down.  The vet however had different plans.

The vet drugged her, applied a split and we managed to get her back to the barn.  Xrays were taken, ice applied and wraps.  Not much to do now than sit and wait.

The xrays showed she blew out her knee alright and there wasn’t much holding it together any more, there were even small fractures of bone floating around from the trauma.  The vet convinced me to hold off making an official decision until we heard back from Dr. Dean Richardson.  Does that name sound familiar? It should.  He was Barbaro’s surgeon.  Unfortunately, this all happened while he was working on Barbaro and his reply back was delayed because of it.Xray Horse Knee Blow Out

His reply came about the same time a major turning even occurred that sealed my mind.  Poor Hobbie finally told me the only way she knew how that she didn’t want to be stuck motionless for the rest of her life.  While I was mucking out her stall she made a break for it, jumped a gate and ended up belly deep in snow before the pain became so great her body shut down and she couldn’t move any more.  She just stood there, buried in snow shaking from the pain of her ordeal.  I managed to get her back inside, gave her some pain medication and called both my husband and the vet.  Today was the day, I couldn’t take it emotionally anymore and keeping her confined to a stall in such pain was not fair to her.

But now what?  It’s February, the ground is frozen and there’s 2 feet of snow to dig through.  At the time we didn’t have the equipment to bury a horse on our own.

I talked to the vet and there were 3 options;

  1. Hire a backhoe to come to us and bury her on our property
  2. Trailer her to a crematorium
    1. Cornell does “group” cremations of “whole” animals
    2. Rush Pet Cemetery will cremate your horse in “pieces” because their crematorium isn’t large enough for a whole animal
  3. Have her buried in a pet cemetery like the one in Rush

#1 didn’t work because we had not lived on our property long enough to know where we could bury a horse not to affect our water supply.  Cremation was expensive and Cornell was quite a drive and I didn’t like the idea of chopping her up to accommodate a smaller crematorium.

That left working with Rush Pet Cemetery to have her buried there.  What nice people.  They made a very hard time as stress free as it could be and best of all it was affordable.

We loaded Hobbie up in the trailer and opted to meet the vet at the cemetery.  I won’t bother you with the details but there was much crying, hugs and saying goodbye. 

It was the longest ride home with an empty trailer and to this day I still can cry at the thought of her.  She was a great horse and I will miss my little Hob Gobblin.

What caused her busted knee? No clue, I walked every inch of that field and there’s not  so much as a divit or rock.  She just must have stepped wrong.

Hobbie

Trail Tails
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