We put Sam down this morning. It was something we knew was coming; we just didn't know exactly when. She'd foundered long before we got her, but we didn't know that until after we brought her home. Foundering brings a condition known as laminitis, and it doesn't really get better. She was a very healthy horse except for this condition. Unfortunately it means she almost always had sore feet, and during flare-ups she had trouble getting around.
We tried all kinds of things to make Sam more comfortable. She did have some good months and some not so good months. One thing we know for sure... she had a great summer this year. When she took a turn for the worse last month, we knew it was time to do what was best for her... to put an end to the chronic and ever-worsening pain she was in.
I don't really know how old Sam was. The guy who sold her to us said she was fourteen when we bought her. But since it became apparent he lied about a lot of other things about her condition, I rather doubt her estimated age was accurate. Our vet guesses she was probably in her mid twenties when she died this morning.
Although we bought her as a horse for me to ride, I never really rode her. My fat ass was too much of a burden for her. But she was happy to give rides to little kids and our nieces. Tom rode her a few times. But mostly she was just a very large pet. And I loved her. She was mine.
Animals seem to know tings before we do. As we prepared to put her down, our miniature donkey -- her pal in his mind but her annoyance in hers -- came to the other side of the fence and watched. The moment her heart stopped, he let out a loud, long mournful bray. He then just stared at the scene as we moved her into the grave we had prepared. After that, he wouldn't let me come near him. I guess I understand, and I hope he eventually forgives me for what I did to his friend.
In the end, we knew this was the best thing. But it didn't make it any easier. Goodbye, Sam. We'll miss you. Yet I am glad your pain is gone now.
Above: Sam and her adoring pasture pal, Gigger, our miniature donkey in their favorite grazng spot. Sam is now buried here.
Above: Sam and me the week after we brought her home in April 2005..
Below: Sam under saddle with Tom.