Sunday, March 7, 2010

Life and death

Today when I got out to the barn, I immediately realized that the old gelding was missing from Panama's corral. I think I knew immediately what had happened, especially when I realized the fur on Panama's chest and neck was stiff and spiky — like he'd gotten ridiculously sweaty and then dried.

I asked, and it turned out that the old gelding colicked, twisted a gut, and had to be euthanized last night. As soon as I was told that, I remembered KZ lying down yesterday afternoon when I stopped in to take Panama's sheet off. I mentioned it to the barn owner, and she immediately said to say something next time, because if someone had caught it sooner he might have made it.

So now I feel terrible, even though I know that 1) I was only there for about 5 minutes, and there were tons of people out there yesterday who were out there longer than I was and would have had more of a chance than I did to notice; and 2) it's not like he was acting like he was colicking. He rolled a little bit and then laid there, as if sunbathing. That's what I thought he was doing, and I had no reason to think otherwise.

It makes me feel even worse that Panama and the mare are both really upset. He had gotten sweaty because the mare's trainer took her out of the corral this morning to groom her, and Panama lost his marbles — ran himself into a froth and called for her over and over again. I got a similar response from her when I took Panama out of the corral this afternoon to turn him out in the arena. Both horses are so upset by the loss of KZ that, while they were never friends before, now they are concerned about being separated.

I've been told I shouldn't feel responsible, and I know that's probably true, but I also know that I will never again pass a horse that is lying down without checking them. I usually do check them, that's the worst part, but yesterday I was in too big of a hurry to pay much attention. I literally was only there long enough to remove Panama's sheet.

In honor of KZ, here are a few pictures. This one was taken way back in early December, when we were having some nasty cold weather. KZ is the one in the middle.

Panama, KZ, and Breezy

This picture was taken just under a week ago, after Panama's bath. Panama and KZ were pretty good buddies, and usually ate together. In fact, not long ago I saw Panama instigating a game of bitey face with KZ, so I know they were friends.

KZ and Panama

Rest in peace, KZ, and I'm sorry.



At March 7, 2010 at 9:08 PM, Blogger Sydney said...

Don't be hard on yourself. I know after Naigen died of a bad colic I kept on thinking of the "what if?". The truth is things happen, sometimes they happen for a reason. With every death comes life. Although we can never replace the beloved there are others that will surely take a swing at bat.

At March 7, 2010 at 9:55 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

Thanks, Sydney. I go back and forth between recognizing it's not my fault, and feeling bad for not having done more. I should have also mentioned though that KZ was 28, so he was pretty old.

At March 8, 2010 at 8:12 AM, Blogger Sally said...

Absolutely NOT your fault. Don't dwell on "what if." Keep on keepin on and just remember KZ with fondness...

At March 10, 2010 at 6:14 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

Thanks Sally. Luckily I've been busy lately, which has helped to get my mind off of it. I am accepting that it wasn't my fault, no matter what I saw or didn't see while I was out there. It's still sad, though, especially when I see both Panama and Breezy acting so needy.


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