My beloved Arabian horse, of whom I was so proud and fond, I found dead on Friday morning. My belief is that animals, including ones that have passed, will join us in heaven, as Heaven is joy, and God provides (and initially provided) us with animals to make us happy. Those with faith please say a prayer that her suffering was brief and that she was not afraid at the end. Everything happens for a reason...Ruby's life and death both had and have significant meaning, though perhaps not completely understood by mortals. Those of you with animals - or any living creature - that you love, remember to be thankful for each precious day, because life is fickle, fleeting, and can turn on a dime. Value and show appreciation for all man and animalkind; our purpose should be to always love each other and be thankful for the time we have together and the time we have apart -which makes us better appreciate one another; and for the beauty and love that God has provided us in each other. I am left with one wonderful mare, Purdy, who is difficult for adults to catch but who will walk up to and love any child, and safely and carefully carry anyone upon her rather long back. She was broken hearted by the death of her pasture mate and stood watch over the body until it was removed....at a small distance as Ruby had gotten into the adjoining pasture and died at the bottom of the hill. I said I would keep both these mares until the end and would not part with either, no matter what, and I am grateful that I was able to do that for Ruby, and I'm even grateful that I am now better able to fully provide for Purdy, though I was able to provide for both (or I wouldn't have had them. Still, if you have horses you know what I mean...one horse is much easier to care for than two....two are easier than 3...three are easier than 7 and so on). Ruby was not old, at 17; for an Arab who to my knowledge never worked hard for extended periods. I believe she was never handled roughly, or subjected to anything other than love from humankind..... But a horse's life can be a very fragile thing and often we really don't know a horse's entire history. I know I did not have her very long; a dear friend gave her to me 2-3 years ago; I only rode her a scant handful of times; but I loved her as only someone who has clicked with a certain horse understands. I handled her, picking up feet, spraying on fly spray and medication, with young foolish children frolicking about, for the most part without a rope or halter. She never bumped or trod upon anyone and that is saying something when you are talking about children racing around with sticks and middle aged ladies crawling around under the bellies of horses doing the various things you do with horses. That is not to say she was not animated - she was a large Polish bred Arabian - these are war horses of the nth degree. 15.2 hands easily, upright, spirited, temperamental - and would give her life to protect humans, even from other horses (I think most people who have owned Arabians understand this....if you have an Arab in a herd of horses of other breeds, the Arab is usually the horse will will be at your elbow, and who will keep the other horses back away from you, so you can safely do whatever you are doing in the herd.) I have had horses all my life, have had them put down, have had to sell them, have had horses stolen (for pete's sakes), have had them die, have sold them and then heard of their hideous deaths...but this was the first horse of my own, that I was close to, that I found dead. It is so very sad; but I have family and friends (and actually had both with me when I found her, I am so blessed). I pray each day for people who do not have such supports who have to go through life's bumps, jumps, declines, and traumas without such wonderful friends and loving family. I know you are out there, and you plug along, alone, and I know how hard it is because it is hard WITH those supports. Please know that there are people in the world, like me, who think of you and pray for you; who recognize your bravery, honor, and selflessness. It isn't easy for anyone, and some of us never get any props (I am not one....my loving family has my back, as do certain special friends). I so admire those people, and losing my precious Ruby made me admire them even more, because I know many horse people (and other types, too) who have very limited support. We all suffer loss at some point. I suffered some fairly young, but again, not without support. Somehow, losing Ruby brought home to me how beautiful life is, and how tragic...and made me appreciate everything so much more. I cried from the time I found her, on Friday morning, through early Saturday morning. At that time, I determined that although it would certainly be luxurious to wallow in sorrow and self-pity..and the regular sort of pity and empathy as well (it's not easy to find a much-loved pet dead with crows all over her, and her eyes plucked out...but such is life...hideous and beautiful, all in one wonderful ball) I had cried enough. At that point, you turn it over to God (or at least I do) and take a breath, and think about applying preparation H to the bags under your eyes so you don't terrify people. I was able to grieve, hard, and to enjoy the support, love and sympathy of my family and friends for about 18 hours. At that point I shook myself and was ready (and happy) to meet the day. Despite the whole swollen eye thing. And you know, I survived it, I had a good holiday meal with my family (which I don't think I destroyed by being TOO distraught). Which brings me to today, and this rambling (and again, LUXURIOUS) post. My son and his family are with me tonight, my wonderful dear pet is securely buried, my remaining horse appears to be in good spirits (and good flesh!), my children have learned it's okay for Mom to be sad, she's not going to lose it or forget how to be happy, too, and their lives will not unravel at the seams if an unexpected loss takes place, and the most important thing of all things are the humans (and creatures!) we love. So that has been my holiday weekend. I visited with death. Part of the trauma of a horse's death is that you have to deal with a lot of poundage, and it's a major ordeal just on that account. I visited with death, found myself up for the task; thought of loved ones I have lost in the past and did them homage, again. I also paid homage to the living; those personally known to me, and all life in general; and to God, yet again, who is truly terrible and great, to be loved and feared. An aside...I know there are horses in heaven not only because Heaven is to be joyful for us (and for those of us who love horses, joy and horses are synonomous...) but because there are four horsemen of the apocolypse. Hello! Lol....I know Ruby's in heaven, running with a herd of brave, wild horses.....where there are no itches she cannot reach, where food is plentiful and never a bellyache, water is sweet and where she needs it to be....and flies do not bite nor stones bruise. I will find her when I die, and maybe we will ride a while, or perhaps we'll just commiserate as women and their mares have done for who knows how long. This is why I love this message board. I can't do this on facebook, obviously; and I've tapped out my family (which is always enjoyable, but can't go on forever; folks get TIRED!) Thanks for reading my silly little rant of sorrow and joy. Misspelled, certainly fully of grammatical errors, repetitive, cliched, and completely maudlin. I loved my horse for no other reason than I just did; she died unexpectedly, and I am that much more grateful for what I have! I saw her precious body with the eye plucked out and various and assorted atrocities to her flesh done; but I still remember her as a living horse (and a dead one too) and she was beautiful to me both ways. Oh, and of course through all of this I have been sick as a dog...first with stomach flu then with a cold (I was lazy about getting flu shots this year, not that it matters, I always get mine early on) that made it REALLY special. Holiday, people counting on you, friends doing the driving and LOTS of driving to do... cooking to be done, kids around...And you're sick and woo hoo, guess what, your horse is dead but you gotta be somewhere at a certain time! Life is nuts, isn't it? Wouldn't trade it for anything, love every second of it. Thanks, fellow lunatics, for listening to my blessedly, sort of anonymous, INSANITY! I am living proof that a woman can come out on top of any situation, regardless of her race, gender, intelligence, education, history, and failings! We are all blessed and beloved, whether we know it or not! Gosh I could just go on and on, but I think I'd better end it now. Loved my sweet horse, lost her....still have so much to be thankful for, and am sending out love and comfort from the bottom of my soul, via Christ, to that silly Arab girl.