The Love and Loss Of A Horse

If you read horse blogs long enough, you may find yourself feeling invested in some of the horses that you read about. We may never know the blogger’s horse in person, but we get a sense of them through the writer’s stories. We journey along with the blogger as they share about the joys of life with horses.

Inevitably, we also participate in the sorrows and heartaches. I know I have cried when reading about the death of a horse I only knew through words and images.

Many readers here have experienced the pain of losing a horse. And if not a horse, most readers have said goodbye to a beloved dog, cat or other animal that was dear to them. You are familiar with the weight of it.

Today I have one of those sad stories of my own to share. My horse herd of three has shrunk to a herd of two.

My beloved Bear died at home on Saturday, September 17th. He was twenty-seven years old.

I came out at dawn to find him in the throws of colic. I ran back into the house to contact the clinic. The veterinarian on call arrived within the hour, diagnosing Bear with a likely strangulating lipoma.

It was a shock. Bear seemed perfectly normal the day before. I remember looking out my living room window at 7pm on Friday, seeing him happily munching on his hay dinner.

Considering Bear’s long history of health issues, I had already decided ahead of time that I would not choose colic surgery for Bear and asked the veterinarian to euthanize him. No more suffering.

As most horse folks know, colic is a general term for stomach pain. What causes the pain varies. As a brief explanation, a strangulating lipoma is a benign fatty tumor that gets wrapped around a horse’s intestine.

Strangulating lipoma is one of the types of colic that can only be addressed through surgery, as opposed to something like a gas colic that might be resolved with hand-walking and medication.

If you are not already familiar with strangulating lipoma, you can learn more through the references I’ve posted below. (just so you are prepared, please note that it includes some graphic colic surgery photos)

If you’ve read this blog for a bit, you may be aware that I’ve had Bear since 2005. That adds up to 17 years with him. Likely the longest relationship I will ever have with a horse. He meant a lot to me, and while I knew he wouldn’t live forever, his death nonetheless hurts.

Before Bear’s passing, I already had two other blog posts written (Another Trail Tale and Why I Decided To Stop Riding My New Horse), so I decided to let the previous two blog posts go out as planned the week after his death. I needed a minute to formulate my thoughts before writing this.

Going forward, I have a separate tribute post for Bear planned. And another post about my remaining horses, Shiloh and Piper, adjusting to being a herd of two now. I’m not yet sure about when exactly those posts will appear, maybe one after the other or mixed in between other material. All I can say is that they are in the works.

Bear’s death is still raw for me, but I know the sting will heal with time. As a Christian believer, my hope is ever on Jesus who is my sustainer in and through all things. Reading the book of Genesis, the scriptures tell me that God The Father breathed life into all living things. I feel blessed to have been able to care for Bear, one of His creations, during my time on this earth. Godspeed, dear Bear, Godspeed.

26 thoughts on “The Love and Loss Of A Horse

  1. Oh no ❤ I'm so sorry you've lost Bear. It's so hard when we lose an animal so beloved – I still (and forever will) miss my bestest doxie girl, and it's already been a year (I have no idea how time has passed already). I know he had a wonderful life with you, and I wish you and your other boys comfort ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As a horse owner who has experienced similar losses, I am very sorry about Bear. I enjoyed seeing & reading about him and all the pictures of him you posted. He was blessed to have you as an owner. I will be praying for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So kind of you to say so, Reese. I know you have written about the sadness of saying goodbye to your own horses who have passed on. It is the bitter part of an otherwise pretty sweet deal of having horses in our life, right Your? Your prayers are meaningful to me- thank you so much.


  3. This is something that brings tears to my eyes. To loose a horse is such a heart breaker.I have been there and know it too well. But I would have made the same decision as you. I would not put an older horse through surgery and the pain of recovery. Bear has gone on now and will be in pastures above with my Genta, Tradie, and Maz.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Genta, Tradie, and Maz. I like those horse names. You definitely know the hurt of losing a horse too. I appreciate your compassionate response regarding the euthanasia. I felt the chances of Bear recovering from that kind of surgery were slim. Might not always be the right choice, but I thought it was the better decision in this case.

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  4. Sending giant HUGS and healing prayers to you as you have had to say goodbye to your sweet boy. 💙 I’ve lost 3 of my own over the years and countless dogs and kitty cats too. Part of animal loving this circle of life and death as they take a little piece of our hearts with them. Time will help heal your wounds. Give Shiloh and Piper big hugs from my horsey house to yours. ❤️🐴🙏❤️

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  5. I am so sorry for your loss of Bear. You will see him again. He is up there with my Anna! I too had a horse for 20 years and still miss him all the time. He was so special, but I really believe I’ll see him again. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is kind of you to say, Rachel. Anna sounds like one lucky horse! Twenty years with one person is a special thing considering how often most horses change owners. I don’t doubt you still miss her. Thank you so much for taking the time to leave your comment.


  6. Choosing the kindest decision is so difficult. Bless you. My horse carved a place in my heart. 20 years later and I still miss him. He came to me when he was 18, after he suffered a severe colic that should have taken him. He stayed for 5 more years. I don’t regret the heartache; he brought so much joy and still makes me smile. Bless you.

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