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Horse grieving loss of pasture mate
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Leah
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Joined: Sat Sep 22nd, 2007
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 Posted: Sat May 1st, 2010 02:20 am
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Without going into detail as the pain is still a little raw. I had to put my 25yo to rest this week.

I have 3 remaining pasturemates-age 12,10 and 6 and 2 mini donks that all shared his pasture.

My 10yo was closest to him and is not adjusting very well.

Does anyone have any experience or resources that I can research what to expect, what means he could be in trouble himself or suggestions on what I can do?

This is breaking my heart to watch him.

LindaInTexas
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Joined: Tue Oct 16th, 2007
Location: Waxahachie, Texas USA
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 Posted: Sat May 1st, 2010 03:25 pm
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I'm so sorry for your loss.

When my dominant gelding died of colic, his four pasturemates stood in vigil for him for about an hour.  Then, filed off quietly to graze while we called in folks to take his body.  Within a few days, the youngest mare (the last to leave the vigil) replaced him as head of the "herd". 

I do believe they grieve, but they will  adjust...and they will be fine.  Horses live in the moment.  I needed months to recover, and felt sad visiting the others for weeks.  I'm sure your horses are working things out amongst themselves and reflecting the change in you.

I sought out understanding friends...know you have them here.   It's never easy to lose a companion.  It sounds like your horse had a good life and good, loving care. 

Blessings

Leah
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Joined: Sat Sep 22nd, 2007
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 Posted: Mon May 3rd, 2010 12:04 am
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Thank you Linda-he seems to have made a small change in the last 24 hours. He has now returned to grazing with his pasture mates.

A little extra attention and time seem to have us heading the the right direction.

It was a very emotional week compounded with worry for the remaining horses.

I have a question. Something happened about two days before the day and I have now read of this happening with other horses.

My horse Polo was 25yo and the herd leader. He rarely allowed other horses to groom on him-only Milo. And only on Polo's terms.

I made the decision about a week before so knew what was ahead but did my best to not change anything. I don't know why-I guess I felt it somehow safe to keep everything as 'same' as I could.

Obviously something was detected by the horses.

As I said about a day or two before (the days are all the same from last week), all 3 geldings were licking and grooming Polo-all at once and all over him.

I have NEVER seen anything like this.

Does anyone have any thoughts to share on this?



Sara
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Joined: Tue Apr 6th, 2010
Location: Brush Prairie, Washington USA
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 Posted: Tue May 4th, 2010 08:37 pm
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Leah, I am so sorry for your loss. 

I have had horses only a few years, but I feel they can read our thoughts/feelings not just when riding but also just by being around them.  I  thought it was just my lil arabian that was so clever she could 'anticipate' me, but I think it's more than that.  We can't hide our thoughts from them.   So maybe muddled thinking has it's place?

Hope you and your herd adjust soon. 

hurleycane
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 Posted: Tue May 4th, 2010 08:55 pm
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Leah wrote: Thank you Linda-he seems to have made a small change in the last 24 hours. He has now returned to grazing with his pasture mates.

A little extra attention and time seem to have us heading the the right direction.

It was a very emotional week compounded with worry for the remaining horses.

I have a question. Something happened about two days before the day and I have now read of this happening with other horses.

My horse Polo was 25yo and the herd leader. He rarely allowed other horses to groom on him-only Milo. And only on Polo's terms.

I made the decision about a week before so knew what was ahead but did my best to not change anything. I don't know why-I guess I felt it somehow safe to keep everything as 'same' as I could.

Obviously something was detected by the horses.

As I said about a day or two before (the days are all the same from last week), all 3 geldings were licking and grooming Polo-all at once and all over him.

I have NEVER seen anything like this.

Does anyone have any thoughts to share on this?




As a spanish farrier once remarked, "he was asking for ground."  They knew, as you knew. 

Pauline Moore
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Joined: Fri Mar 23rd, 2007
Location: Crows Nest, Australia
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 Posted: Tue May 4th, 2010 10:29 pm
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Hello Leah - hope you are feeling a bit better by now.

My 26 yr old TB, Cas, died 4 years ago quite suddenly but my other horses knew something was wrong before I did.  I went out early one morning to find Gante very agitated, even trying to mount Cas which he had never done before, just wouldn't leave him alone.  For Cas' sake I had to separate them, leaving Cas and his old friend Rory together.  Cas did not want to eat and soon after that I saw he was passing red urine; he continued to deteriorate through the day so next morning I asked the vet to return to end his life.

I was concerned about how Gante would react.  From the age of 17 mnths to 8 years old he had been kept isolated but formed a strong attachment to Cas when joining my little herd a year previously.  In most areas Gante was top of the pecking order but Cas retained control of who had access to Rory.  Not knowing what to expect, I individually took each horse up to Cas' body - Rory and Sol looked and sniffed but were not interested.  When Gante realized the heap on the ground was Cas, he bellowed once then continuously circled with frequent stops to paw at the body.  This went on for about 20 minutes until Gante heard Rory call out, then he galloped off to find the other two.  Next morning Rory and Sol were as normal and Gante was a bit subdued.  After letting them out of their feed pens, instead of leading the way down to get a drink, Gante stayed behind just standing quietly beside me - we remained like that for more than half an hour, neither doing anything until Gante eventually wandered off; I certainly took comfort from his presence as I thought of Cas and hope he did likewise.

Within a week Gante had transferred his devotiion to Rory, the 3 of them peacefully resuming a normal routine although for months afterwards I would occasionally see Rory gazing at the feedpen area where he and Cas would often hang out together.

I've heard of horses being distressed and calling out for weeks after the sudden disappearance of a close friend, if at all possible I think it helps them to see the body, I don't know how they think of death but generally handle it better than we do.

Best wishes - Pauline

Leah
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Joined: Sat Sep 22nd, 2007
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 Posted: Wed May 5th, 2010 11:20 pm
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It has now been 10 days and the boys and I are adjusting. I know we still feel a loss but have found a healthy routine.

It is very interesting to watch how they are now sorting out the new pecking order.

No single horse has stepped up-each seem to be testing the waters.


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