Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Non-Music - Life on the Farm


I live on a family farm, and work at a family-run business. The farm is not crop-oriented, but instead is for horses. My parents built the farm for their own horses, as well as those of some other family members. At one point in time, I had several of my own, having purchased and bred a few. For the past 18 months, I have been horse-less, a true blessing.

Daily life on the farm for me consists mainly of seeing the horses, sometimes in the paddocks, or being ridden. For so long, I went down and worked in my office, doing bookkeeping for the business. Once a week, I also do the payroll for the few workers tending to the horses on the farm.


Today, however, things were a bit different. The one boarding horse, owned by family friends of almost 30 years, was not feeling her best. At 26, she had been fairly healthy. A vet was called, and she was treated. A few hours later, things started to decline. She was struggling a bit with some pain, and another vet was called. After walking with her for a bit, making sure she didn't fall, I was in the stall with her for an hour until the vet arrived. The vet was stunned how quiet she was, saying it was a full-blown colic, and the mare was in great pain. The owner was called, and he decided to spare her any additional pain, and she was euthanized. It was the right decision, for Winnie certainly deserved the humane and respectful treatment.

So quickly, the mare went from lovely creature to the worse nightmare - a life and death decision weighing on the shoulders. It reminds me of the true circle of life, for in that barn we have seen foals brought into the world, as well as treasured horses breathe their last breath.

Tessa trotting

Winnie had been cared for and loved by her owners of about 20 years. We laid her to rest next to several other horses who have also lived out their lives in the comfort of the farm, as well as a few cherished pets. It made for a long day, with time to think about the others we have lost, including my dear cat, just about a month ago.

I have often thought that horses are beautiful creatures who have been put on the earth to remind us of what is possible, an amazing combination of power, elegance, physics and joy. To see them run in a paddock is magical, or majestic when they are standing still. So I have added the last two photos of a young filly I took last fall, showing all the joy and life, celebrating the beauty of what is to come. They can be so damn inspiring, which makes the loss so much the harder to cope with.

Tessa headshot


  1. Truly a touching entry. thank you for sharing

  2. What a sad but beautiful story!
    What is the average life span for horses? I guess I never realized they live so long!
    I have only ever ridden a horse once but I loved it and hope to do it again someday!

  3. Miss G, an average horse lives between 20 and 30 years. We had one on the farm last 32 years.

    Aiden, thank you, and so nice of you to stop by.

  4. They are beautiful creatures, and it breaks my heart to see one put down. I cried for Barbaro, and I'm so sorry about your Winnie. Even when you know it's the right thing to do, to stop their pain, it can't make it any easier.

  5. Beth, yes, it is hard, but you can only hope you are doing the right thing, and try to not question yourself too much.

  6. Howard -

    What a beautifully written and touching post.


  7. this a great post, thanks for sharing this part of your life with us

  8. You are welcome, and thanks for your kind words, Wonder Man.

  9. What a touching and beautiful post. Your description of horses in general and Winnie specifically is poetic. Thank you for a glimpse into your life and letting us get to know you better.

    I'm sorry about your cat and know how that is.

  10. Joy, thank you for reading it and your kind words. Losing Timon was tough, and I swear he still haunts me, for I see him out of the corner of my eye still. And he is rolling his eyes at me, just as he had for the last 14 years. At least he is consistent.



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