Tribute To My Sweet Boy, Zack

Last weekend I shared that I was feeling a bit in a funk. It was because of this big beautiful animal that had me in a worried state because he is the sweetest horse but also a bit neurotic. Zack has separation anxieties, he is what they call “herd bound” where he whinnies and calls for Chloe if she is out of sight, or too far away from him. He has always been this way and most often these horses that have these kinds of anxieties are their own worse enemies. We try and make their life less stressful and so I have tried my best over the years to keep these two horses that I own near each other so that Zack would not be living a life of anxiety.

Back to last weekend. Zack was living in a barn stall and across the aisle was Chloe. Zack’s barn stall is a box without a run. Chloe across the aisle is in a box stall with a run or paddock. My plan is to move Chloe over one stall so that I could move Zack next to her, but here lies the dilemma. Once next to her, the only way he could see her is if he walks out into the run or paddock ~ they can’t see each other if they both are in the box stall while eating or drinking. (I wish there was windows in the barn. This is an old wood barn built with no windows. Many barns do have windows with bars so horses can see each other.) So we made a plan of sorts. I bought plastic mirrors safe for animals to put up in the stall so he could see himself (another horse) which should calm him and I asked the employees of the stables if they could feed my horses out back in the paddocks so they can eat next to each other. In this way, I thought Zack would end up being more comfortable with a bigger stall and right next to Chloe, his herd mate.

As Chloe, Zack and I figured out even more ways to ease anxiety, one of the smartest things I taught myself was to pony Zack next to me so that every single time I rode out on the trails he always came with me. I know I made his life that much better by doing this because he was very stressed out when I took Chloe off the property and left him behind. Sometimes I had friends or my sister if she was in town, ride him out with us and so that worked too. But that was not every ride, so I was very proud of us as we have had a wonderful time out on the trails. I even posted just over a week ago where we rode seven days, a whole week out on the trails! We were doing so good. I am very happy that even though Zack was declining in age, losing muscle tone which is normal, he was feeling good and his anxiety was always right there but manageable. It would never go away, hence why I was so worried about moving him to a different stall. I just figured I was in for some weeks of anxiousness and I didn’t know what to expect. But what happened next no one could ever predict!

As I write this I thought I would be unable to make sense of things and would be crying my eyes out. I have done plenty of that, and is partly why I waited to write this because I wanted it to be understandable, relatable. I knew this would be cathartic and this would help start to mend my heart as I honor my dear sweet boy. I can tell you it has been the most absolutely shocking weekend and my heart is broken but I know he is in a better place. You see, last Sunday I had to euthanize my sweet boy Zack. Sunday was the end of the month so the stalls were open as the other horses had moved out. I decided to put Chloe in her stall and I went and got Zack and put him in his new stall and as I did this I closed the barn door to his stall and walked over to get their Equoxx pills (horse pain pills, like Ibprofen for people) that I give them before our trail rides. That’s when I heard this banging noise, like someone was pounding the wood on the barn. I looked up and saw my pony sister coming my way, with a look of terror as she said he jumped over the door!

I walked around the corner and there he lay unable to get up. My girlfriend said he just walked up to the door with his ears up and looking straight ahead and he lifted himself up with his legs up high and tight to clear the door. What made him think he could jump out of the barn? He was in this stall for barely a minute, maybe two. He walked to the back and I walked away where he promptly walked to the front and up over the door he went. He somersaulted out and landed in a way where he basically could not move anything but his head and neck. I don’t want to be too graphic, his weight and body mostly landed on his shoulder and neck. (it was not that gruesome, no blood, its just really sad) because of his catastrophic injuries once the vet arrived it was in his best interest to be euthanized. I am so sad. He went so peacefully and I owe a huge debt of gratitude for by bestest friends (ALL OF YOU AT THE BARN) for the love, support, loving on Zack while we waited for the vet. THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART! YOU ALL ARE AMAZING WOMEN! ❤

I love so hard. When you love hard it just hurts so much but that’s me. It is worth the hurt to love as much as I do and these animals, these huge giant beasts have such personalities I can only try and show through my photos! They are smart, have feelings, they play and call to you! They melt my heart! I wanted to write a tribute to him because he was such a huge part of my life, including my blog. Imagine, people from all over the world know my beautiful horse Zack and Miss Chloe!

I will be okay. This is not my first rodeo, I could write a novel on loved ones I have lost. I had been beating myself up because I thought I could have done better, that I screwed up somehow making this move with him. But it has been said to me that no sensible horse would do what he did. He use to be a jumper, so to jump like he did – well, he knew how to jump. But he is old and the door too big for him to jump. He suffered from EPM which is a protozoa living in his brain and maybe this affected his thinking. Maybe he was not with a sound mind, but no one can know what he was thinking when he jumped out of that stall.

Because this is how I roll, I would like to end this sad post with smiles. I want to remember my sweet boy with tons of SMILES! I don’t want to look at photos and cry. I am planning on getting prints of my favorite photos. I am so thankful I have a horse to Love on as Miss Chloe needs me and her and I are doing good. The vet said it can be helpful for the herd mate to see the passing, so I took her out to see Zack after he was gone. She did not want to sniff him or get too close. The vet said that’s okay, they each do their own thing. She has been nothing but stoic and strong. You would not know she lost her best friend. Definitely, I believe he was more attached to her than her to him. I am feeling better each day. The self loathing is gone (you just hate yourself for a day or two because you think what have I done!) But I am smart enough to realize that no one could have seen this coming or know he would do such a thing. My best friend said to me, he had 26 years of a beautiful life and one hour of pain. Run free my friend! ❤ ❤ ❤

With Love To You Zack!

~Diana ❤

37 thoughts on “Tribute To My Sweet Boy, Zack

  1. justthingsnothingimportant

    I am So sorry for your loss! Our pets ( they are more than pets didn’t know what other word to use ) be it a horse or dog or cat or any of them they become our family and losing one of them is like having our heart ripped put. We all see he had such a blessed life with you and he knew that as well and gave you such love in return for that blessed life you gave him. He is forever young now. You are in my prayers (( Hugs )) ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so kindly sweet friend! ❤️ I knew paying tribute to him would help mend my broken heart. He was such a character and I know I did try to provide the best I could, a wonderful retirement home. Thank you so much for your kind words! Means the world to me! ❤️🐴❤️🐴❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, Diana! what a sad, sad occurrence!
    I am sorry.
    For me, Zack was always the star, but now, I get to know Chloe too. Your story was sad, but I kept thinking that, Zack’s personality was what made him special too. Be safe!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YES! I Love how you put that, his personality was what made him special! This tribute had brought me much comfort. Thank you so much for your kind, loving words! I will continue share, but of course it will just be Chloe and I! Take care my friend! ❤️🐴❤️🐴❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  3. We’re so sorry for your loss dear Diana and it must have come as such a shock. You did everything with the best of intentions and I’m so glad your friends at the barn were all there for you. Be kind to yourself and give Chloe a big pat from us all 💞 Run free sweet Zack 🌈🕊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so very kindly Xenia. ❤ (For some reason your comment ended up in my spam folder, but I rescued it.) It was indeed a complete shock! I still can't believe what happened, and you are right, I need to be kind to myself as beating myself up can't change a thing and I did have the best intentions. I will give Chloe a big pat and horse cookie. She LOVES them! ❤ ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh dear. I suspected one of your horses had gone earlier this week. Who knows why he decided to jump an impossible jump. But he is happy and flying free now. Thank you for sharing these marvelous photos of him. So easy to see he was such a character. Now I think he is just like the poem at the end:”young again and free.” I send you a big big hug. I have been there myself. 🧡💐🐴

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the big big hug, my sweet friend!! It’s like us horse people have a 6th Sense with these things. I’m finding with each day that passes I’m letting go of regrets and with the writing of this post it made me reflect of all the silly things but also the neurotic behaviors that made him a bit of a challenge. I definitely have spent more money on vet bills for that silly boy in the 5 years or so I’ve had him than the 15 years I’ve owned Chloe! But, of course he was worth it as he paid me back with his charm, good looks and wonderful barn welcoming whinnies! He is young and free now! It just really took us all by surprise!! Thanks again for the HUGS! ❤️🐴

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    1. Oh my sweet Susie!! I’ve cried so hard till it hurts. I’m so thankful I was surrounded that day with a lot of Love with all the barn ladies there that day. It was a terrible day, but he’s at peace and running free! I’m so thankful I have Miss Chloe to Love on now! I’ll miss him dearly, but thankfully have plenty of photos to remember that sweet boy! 🐴❤️🐴❤️

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  5. It’s the worst day of horse ownership.
    What a terrible situation, I’m so sorry.
    I know a lady who had the same thing happen. The horse was in her stall-a stall she had been in for two years and knew well.
    She attempted to jump the door from a standstill in the middle of the night. The barn camera caught it all, but she laid there for about 6 hours until someone arrived in the morning.

    We can’t ever understand why horses do what they do and the last day never gets easier no matter how many times you go through it.

    So very sad.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It truly is the worse day ever, whether it’s a planned euthanized event because of medical issues that are life threatening or a tragic event such as this. And how incredibly sad about the lady you know and her horse! Wow, I have been around horses for 50 years and haven’t heard or seen horses jump out like this but clearly it can happen. I’m thankful we were all there as sad and surprising as it was. That poor horse laying there for hours. Thank you for responding, we can’t understand and yes, it’s never easy. ❤️🐴

      Liked by 1 person

  6. All the old cowgirls in heaven will just love him, I can just see his sweet little muzzle stretching out to them for a treat. How amazing that you got that last photo of all you riding out together. My heart is shattered for you my friend. I knew something wasn’t right but I just didn’t think it would be the horses my brain just didn’t go there. I have of heard older horses doing odd things. At the stud I worked at if a horse was put down all the horses were let out one at a time to say goodbye they are amazing majestic emotional creatures. SO many happy memories you have with that sweet old pony. I love the poem at the end. Have you taken Miss Chloe out for a ride yet. I pray your time with Miss Chloe fills both your hearts & souls with healing joy.

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  7. Aww, the thought of those old cowgirls in heaven getting to meet my sweet boy Zack is a happy thought. And yes, so thankful and grateful my sister arrived the week before and our other good friend (we call each other pony sister’s at the barn!) So my other sweet pony sister said “We need some group photos!” Which was so AMAZING we did that day. Who knew what was going to happen! ❤️ these amazing animals truly are majestic, they show great emotions in their own way. Such a sad day. I’m never going to forget this sweet boy! He was so handsome! 🐴💙

    YES! I’ve been riding Chloe this last week. I needed to feel something normal, even though it’s still strange to be greeted by only one horse and lead one horse (I would lead them together, one in each hand! I did this every day so they were so use to being together!) And I went out on a ride with my girlfriend which was so therapeutic and felt good. I also took Chloe out alone, the same ride I did every day with Zack by our side. She was definitely more energetic being alone, she’s less secure. I get that, she’s a good pony and loves the trails. I Love Miss Chloe so very MUCH! She will definitely help heal my heart! ❤️

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  8. Sorry to read about Zack. We have never kept horses, but I have been a rider in school. I know fully well that they are the best of friends and more human in some ways. You did the right thing by not prolonging his agony. Please accept our heartfelt wishes. a flower from our side.

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    1. Thank you so very kindly. I appreciate your wonderful comments and it eases my heart to know I made the right decision. He deserved that and I just could not see prolonging his agony. Your heartfelt wishes are welcomed and warm my heart! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  9. OOO my friend I did not realise, I am crying as I am reading this as I know how much Zack means to you. How are you? Being herd bound is not a joke to a horse. I know you’ve done everything you possibly could for Zack, and that he had a fantastic life with you. My heart goes out to you ❤ Do print some photos of him, it does help. ❤

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  10. Thank you so much sweet friend. I am going to go through my photos and make some prints to frame. As I have gone through the last week, and only having to take care of Chloe I’ve realized all the things I’ve done to help that separation anxiety. I felt a tinge of guilt because I am now feeling a bit of relief. It was extra work taking care of two horses at the same time, but worth every minute I got to spend with him. May he rest in peace! 🕊️🐴❤️

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  12. Ohhh. Zack was really good. I have never seen anyone that cares so much about their pets as you do and I really admire that about you. It’s okay. Everything is gonna be alright. Zack is in better place now
    ❤❤❤.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you sweet friend! He is in a better place. He really was declining in his old age. And thank you for your wonderful comments. I really do try to give them the best care possible. And you’re right, everything is going to be alright! ❤️❤️❤️

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    1. Thanks B! I’m really happy you got to meet him too! He really has a goofy side to him, silly boy. I’m doing much better, was feeling a little guilty because there is some relief to my life now. Not only the expense of 2 horses, but also Zacks medical issues and anxieties were always on my mind. I’ve let the guilt feelings go knowing I gave him the best home I could. Chloe is doing good! She may be relieved too! ❤️🐴🤠❤️

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  13. hi D
    i read this post a while back but i was not logged in!
    you have been in my thoughts and prayers

    bereavement is tough as it is – but the unexpected element adds that shock you mentioned
    – when our dog cody died in 2016- he was healthy and haoooy for 12 years and then dead! son took him for a run walk on a friday and think something happened inside on that run – but he also had slight kidney damage as a puppy because of tainted dog food when he was two
    at that time our friends had pets that died from the melamine tainted bag dog food!
    but our pups were young and did fine – but it led to some internal issues and well
    – his passing was a shock and my hubs always said it was a good way to go – nkt a long time of breakdown and miserable living – because for our black lab – cody’s brother – he had that slow demise and it was miserable on him and on us

    anyhow – the blog community helped me through my shock and grief with Cody!
    but i couldn’t even share photos of cody – i made a whole video for cody – think i called it grief relief – not sure why!
    i was better by 2018 and now feel 100% – i know some folks who wrestle with bereavement for much longer

    and getting back to Zack! thanks for bringing us along side of you with this sudden loss
    i agree he is in a better place and i think he would want to go out with a jump! seems fitting
    and glad it was a long demise

    hope the photos your frame are able to bring his essence and a way to cherish him in your heart forever
    💜💜💜🙏

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Yvette! Thank you so very much for your sweet comments. That’s you all have experienced that shocking way to pass away, it truly was so unexpected and yes, the grieving process is just that a process. And it’s good to hear how you and others cope. Funny, I have so many photos of Zack and Chloe together I often will have them on my phone’s home page so every time I turn on my phone, there they are! I’ll switch it out to my grandkids, maybe my roses for a little while then back to my horses. Strangely, I had a super nice photo of just Chloe, leaving Zack out and after this tragic accident I thought I would put a nice photo of the 2 of them. Oh boy, and no way, that lasted about 2 times turning on my phone and I had to change the photo back to just Chloe. I’m not ready yet… But it seems sorta like a weird premonition that I just happened to put just her photo a couple weeks prior on my home page…

      Anyways, I’m not too cuckoo, but find coincidences interesting!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I also absolutely find coincidences to be God Appointments – and that is spooky cool with the photo – and D, I really get chills to think of it now.
        and I have another quick story of a recent loss.
        My Nephew died of a drug overdose in 2017 – so sad.
        and let’s back up to fall 2016.
        I had the chance to take some road trips – felt led to – and went north and south of where i live to see family.
        on the trip north – it was the last day of my visit there and I was staying in the guest room at SIL and was about tot take a nap.
        And I was tired – because you know everyone talks “travel” forgetting that we humans can get worn down – hahah
        but I sat up and said I am not sleeping on my last day here – no way.
        had my nephew’s latest number in my phone and texted him. He was available and so when he got off work – we went for wings.
        Little did I know that he would be gone in February (that was October)
        and wait – there’s more = it gets better
        I video taped him and I (we went for wings and met some folks there – fun night) and I audio recorded him for about ten minutes telling me about how to make beer.
        The reason I did that is because some day I want to make some casual documentary projects and I am sort of data collecting
        (a project for retirement some year way later – jahahah)
        anyhow, having him talk about the beer making was just this gift to all in the family..

        whew –
        and so as I close this comment – let us both smile now as we remember the gift of the time we had with our animals and humans.
        and let us also appreciate the air in our lungs for life is truly a gift
        🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      2. WOW!! I truly believe you were sent there for him and to record and get him on video! How amazing, and I Love C.S. Lewis. We are all so lucky to be here on this beautiful planet. And I thank you so much for these words and for you! You are one special person! Thank you dear friend! Thank you for sharing too! Means the world to me! ❤️❤️❤️

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    2. Also, I’m sorry about your dog Cody. They take a little piece of our hearts with them. But I’m happy you are 100% now, time I think heals those wounds. Then we can look back and love them with all our hearts!

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      1. yes – solid with the emotion part – but still think of Cody as best dog ever – so cool

        and CS Lewis wrote a bit about grief and I like how he said
        “we do not get over our loss”
        instead (something like this)
        we learn to live without them as a person who lost a limb must move on – adapt – and make adjustments – and slowly let the void ameliorate and fine a new normal – to then come to a place where we don’t have the lump in the throat – the know in the stomach – or the wet eyes.
        and that takes time – different for all of us
        and again condolences for your loss
        and seeing good vibes your way
        ((hugs))

        Liked by 2 people

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