Loving Stories of Horses We've Lost

I was just reading the thread by maythehorsebewithme about the tragic and sudden loss of her beautiful boy yesterday. I know we have all had such losses. I remember in my times of grief that telling stories about the happy times, even though told through tears many times, helped me feel better.

I was hoping some of you would share some of your special times with your special horses who have now passed.

May I start? One of my mares, Dusty, an OTTB, and I were cantering in the X-country fields on a glorious spring day. We were on a very slightly sloping area. Something spooked her, she leaped towards the downhill side and her legs came out from under her. There we were, sliding on her side in the grass due to the momentum from the canter.

I had luckily gotten my leg out from under her in the fall, and we both hopped up at the same time. She proceeded to shake like a dog and looked all around. I’m pretty sure she was thinking: “What the he** was that? I hope no one saw me. How embarrassing!”

Anyone else care to share?

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Shamrock Foxie Joy, a Morgan mare who was supposed to our children’s English Pleasure Horse… who did nearly everything but English Pleasure.

Our children and their friends showed this horse locally, our kids nationally.

Over the years she had developed a long list of “owners” who considered her “theirs” … when she did cross the bridge we received cards from all over the world where her kids had gone.

How they found out she had died at 28 we never really figured out

she was just a very nice all around horse who would do whatever was asked of her

here were some of her “kids” she taught

MVC-001S

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My old guy Woodrow was my once in a lifetime horse. I owned him for over 20 years and I remember the day I went to look at him. It was pitch dark outside and after looking him over I saddled him up and rode him down the driveway, asked him to stop (expecting him to want to turn around to go to the barn) rode back up the driveway and told the owner I’ll take him.

At age 30 he was still carrying me in the mountains and that is my favorite memory of him. He was full of life and still wanted to go. He was in great shape, loved his work, and was outwalking everyone else, up and down hills, across creeks, never put a foot wrong. I miss him so much it still hurts years later.

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What a versatile girl she was and such a kind expression. Thanks for the photos.

Woodrow looks like a sweetie. Keeping them in work as long as physically possible sure seems to keep them fit and healthy. I’ve only been lucky enough to have one that lasted into old age. Came out from under saddle at 31 and died at 38. Thanks for the photo.

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Woodrow, Dusty, and Foxie all sound like they were wonderful horses and incredibly loved.

Here is mine - Spooky - it will be ten years in 2022 that I lost him. It is incredible where the time goes.


Taken about a year before he passed away, leading the greenbeans into water. He was a great little horse and I owned him from long yearling until he was 12.


I wish we had cell phones back then, I would have so many more pictures of him. This was him as a 2 year old, with the dog that is my avatar (who also has passed). These two loved to play.

Back in college, I was attending all my classes in the morning and making ends meet by working three jobs – night shift at a local restaurant, food truck at Quantico Bay, and serving at a mom&pop museum restaurant in the summer. The only time I had to ride him was at night and I spent all day looking forward to it… I’d sneak into his paddock with a flashlight at 12:30 (pre-cell phone flash lights) and take him for a hack with a headlamp. He always was there at the gate if he heard my car, and half the time he blew my cover with a nicker!

I think my favorite memory of him was our last ride. I didn’t know it was our last ride and I am grateful for that. I had a long, awful day at work and felt too tired to even bother, but knew I needed to ride him because we had a show in a few weeks. Hopped on him bareback, putzed around the farm, finished it up with a few casual jumps over the Training level corner and the grid and called it a day. Sat on him while he grazed as my BF showed up around sunset to help me feed.

I have lost a few other horses who were also special to me, but Spooky left the biggest hole when he left.

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I have said this so many times. Most of my photos of my gelding are from his 30s when I actually had a cell phone and could easily take pictures. My mares pre-dated cell phones (yes, I’m old). I’ll have to dig through my photo box and find some of Dusty to post. She was a pretty girl.

Thanks for sharing. Spooky looks so sweet. Especially love him and the pup in the snow. Looks like fun. :slightly_smiling_face:

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What a wonderful memory to have of him. Makes you warm and teary at the same time.

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I had a big Paint gelding named Raymond. When my late husband was battling cancer the barn was my refuge. More times than I can count I would walk into Raymond’s stall and start to cry. He would come over to me, put his enormous head flat against my chest and just stand there while I sobbed. He definitely knew I needed a safe place and a friend. When the tears would stop he’d shift his head to my shoulder and play with my ear, which always made me laugh.

My favorite horse, ever.

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So sorry for your losses. Raymond sounds like a love bug. Horses definitely know their people and sense our emotions. We’re so lucky to have had them/have them in our lives. I know I’ve made more than one horse and cat wet with my tears. :kissing_heart:

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My friends used to laugh at me because we’d be riding down a trail and I’d just come out with “I love you Woody!” He was my 4 legged boyfriend. We knew each other so well and could almost read each other’s minds. I was cleaning his stall one day and had taken off my hat and put it on top of the stall wall (we have 1/2 walls. Woodrow goes over and picks it up then drops it in the stall and gives me such a funny look. I said “pick that up, please” and I’ll be damned if he didn’t pick it up and put it back on the wall!.

We were riding down the trail and it was very rocky with big rocks to navigate around and I’m looking around for an easier way and spot an old logging road up a steep bank from us. Mentally I picked out the route to get up the bank; well obviously Woody also saw it and without any input from me went to the route I had picked and up the bank he went.

I have so many stories of our adventures. Don’t want to bore you.

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LOL. Sounds like Woody was a real clown. And I say that in the best possible way. I don’t think most horse-people ever get bored with hearing a lovely story like yours. :kissing_heart:

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I had a mare I had purchased as a yearling. All I wanted was a trail horse, something quiet, and I got so much more from her. She was indeed a stellar trail horse. One ride, up in the mountains on our own, we go down this very steep narrow switchback, cross a trickle of a creek, then straight up/sideways thru some boulders. One of those where you’re lucky you are going UP, not down. Anyway, due to nasty winter weather as we got further up the trail there were trees down. Lots of them. Way too big to get around. I finally realized we were going to have to turn around and go back the way we came, which meant going DOWN that boulder filled switchback. I was honestly petrified. We started down thru that narrow gap with no room for error… and what does she do? Stops dead in her tracks, reaches to the side of the trail and grabs a bite to eat. Now I’m really horrified and nearly in tears. But the look on her face… “I got this Mom, no worries, I’m a whole lot stronger and surefooted than you give me credit for.” And that was that. She got us out of there without a hitch.
Sure opened my eyes to what a horse can really do. I miss that mare, every single freaking day I do.

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One winter, it snowed. A LOT, for around here - a foot of snow accumulated over the next few days, packed on the roads. My car was ill equipped for snow and I decided I could really use a nice hot coffee.

I saddled up my TB, wrapped a cooler around my waist as a quarter sheet and we walked down the snowy road the 2 miles to town. We detoured through a subdivision, where we found some little girls playing in the yard who were in awe of the gigantic brown horse riding through the neighborhood. We stopped and I got off to let them pet him and ask questions, before continuing on. The coffee stand turned out to be closed, but we had a magical time just meandering around town in the snow.

I could take that horse anywhere, and he was game to do just about anything.

I miss him dearly, especially on days when current horse is being difficult :joy: The first time I rode him, I knew he was The One. I nearly fell off from giggling, he was such a dream to ride.

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What a sweetheart! You know she told the other horses what she did later. Thanks for the smile. :slightly_smiling_face:

Great story and a handsome boy! It does sound magical, especially when the snow deadens the sounds, and you’re almost in your own little muffled world.

Love the photos between the ears. Almost like you’re in the saddle and spending time alone with him again. I wish I had some of those. Cell phones came too late. My last horse was already retired when I got my first cell with camera.

Thanks for sharing!

I am really enjoying this thread. Thanks for starting it.

I was working at a show horse stable in Kentucky some years ago when a 10 year old Standardbred came in to be broke to saddle and I just fell in love with him. His barn name was Apple (shortened from Applejack for a reason I won’t go into here.) He had spent 2 years on the racetrack then 5 or 6 years showing as a roadster to bike (cart). I purchased him a year later, shortly before I moved back home to Iowa. I was invited to go riding with a couple friends one day and the trail at one point went under a 4-lane highway overpass. Neither of their Quarter Horses wanted to go on with all the traffic noise roaring overhead, and I only mention the breed because around here QHs are considered the ideal and ultimate trail horse. I let them try to coax their horses for a while but they were having none of it. Finally, I walked Apple on by and under the overpass and we all had a good laugh about my city slicker race/show horse showing up the bona fide trail horses.

The summer he was 18 I decided to get him back into the show ring. I had never shown him as a road horse when we were in Kentucky. So here we were, him out of roadster training for 7 years, me in homemade silks and a 1964 Jerald Sulky jog cart that I restored. Not exactly top of the line professional, but we both had fun. And it was one final hurrah, as the next spring he was diagnosed with torn meniscus and arthritis in his left stifle and I retired him.

One corner of his pasture at my current barn was near the road and more than once I saw an old couple stop while walking by to pet him. I’m sure he brightened their days and he always liked interacting with people. He was always happy-go-lucky and unconcerned. Oh, and he loved cats! He was sent to the other side in April, on his 25th birthday.

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Very handsome! It’s a beautiful picture to have as a keepsake. He really looks like he was enjoying showing off again, like he was thinking “look at me!.”

I just love horses who like cats. At all our barns, I think the barn cats always sensed that both me and my horses loved cats because they were always hanging out with us.

Thanks for the story and maybe you’ll come back and tell us the “why” behind the “Applejack.” :grin: (Hey, we’re all adults. You can tell us anything).

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Ok, this story is probably not entirely politically correct but here goes: About 20 years ago at the boarding stable I was at then there was a guy who was - how do I put this? - a little off his nut, not quite right, really freaking weird. He had an Appaloosa, named Applejack, who was entirely too smart for this guy. The guy could never catch this horse. He would traipse around the turn out pasture for inordinate amounts of time calling for the horse while the horse kept a sufficient distance and ignored the pleading calls. I can do a pretty good verbal imitation but it loses something in written type. It was kinda like “Appleyak, Aaaapleyaaak!” This occurred so often it became a running joke among the other boarders. So when this Standardbred came into the barn in Kentucky and I asked his owner what his barn name was and he replied “Applejack,” I was like “umm… yeah… I’m shortening that to just Apple.” It always seemed a little inappropriate for a gelding, but the alternative was tainted. :wink:

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LOL. Apple it is then.:smile: