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 ❤

My Weekly Smile; Dec. 10, 2019

What makes you smile? This is my weekly smile hosted by my blogging friend Trent! Thank you Trent as I just Love to share!

Welcome to my weekly smile and for me this week my smile goes to something that we all Love I think and that is the sun. I am so happy to see the sun and the warmth from the sun just made me smile! I also thought that my ponies were enjoying the sun as well and yes, I just have to share as they were really relaxed enjoying the beautiful weather when they were turned out and you know, I just have to share!

My girlfriends horse Gracie! You can see I am along the fence as she is in the arena wanting a treat!
The trees were being trimmed. The row of trees are all pomegranate trees and the horses like eating them and Zack is rummaging for some goodies!

I am outside the arena fence taking this photo with Gracie right near me in the first photo. I decided to zoom in on Chloe as she is WAY in the back of arena in the corner which I found amusing as she just stood there for a long time. I later saw some cows in the adjacent field that I am sure she was looking at, I wonder what she was thinking?

I haven’t seen her do this before as she stood there resting her leg for a long while. Over 10 minutes which is a long time when you are lose in an arena!
Zack finally made it down to where Chloe was standing. I thought my zoom photos turned out pretty good! I can’t believe how clean and white Zack’s coat is as there is mud everywhere! I am a happy grey horse owner with his nice clean coat!

That’s my smile for today! Short, simple and sweet. What made you smile this week? it can be something really simple like having the sun warm your cheek. I actually took these photos yesterday, such an awesome day. Today it was actually colder and more dreary without the sun. The clouds were hovering for most of the morning and then the sun peeked out and I enjoyed a wonderful trail ride just Chloe, Zack and I – so peaceful. I hope you all have a great week and thank you kindly for visiting my smile!

Smiling Cowgirl,

~Diana

My Weekly Smile; Sept 3, 2019

My weekly smile this week goes to my huge furry friends who make me smile everyday I see them. To anyone who reads my blog it won’t be a surprise that I am talking about my horses. Yes, I talk about them a ton, blog about them as often as I can and take a million photos of them because I just can’t help myself. I sometimes try and change things up and share other things which are important to me, which I think is okay since this blog is about My Life, but it’s also about my Horse Stories. I won’t stray for long away from my pretty ponies! Whenever I am feeling down or sad, it never fails when I am at the barn they ALWAYS pick me up and make me smile! 😀 And of course, I look forward to my daily visits when I am happy too! ❤

My beautiful bay roan, Miss Chloe! She melts my heart!

What I noticed today is how beautiful their coats are as summer is waning, and fall is on it’s way. They will soon be growing their winter coats and I am thankful Chloe does not grow a very long winter coat at all, but Zack turns into a fuzzy bear! I plan on clipping his coat to make it easier to groom him and keep him exercised. Her beauty just makes me smile!

This is my handsome boy Zack. His coat is still nice and short and he is nice and clean! ❤

As they were lose running around I noticed their shine. My photos didn’t capture the shine as much as in person, especially Zack as a grey horse doesn’t glisten like darker colors. He is doing really well, a very happy boy and I am totally enjoying him this summer. He is a funny horse, lots of personality and of course Chloe has personality too. They are both so different since she is a mare and he a gelding, it is fun to see how different they are. Zack loves to chew on things and always tries to nip or bite. He knows not to bite us humans, but still sometimes tries. Chloe is much better and does not have that oral fixation. Its a guy thing for most geldings.

Horses being horses! This makes me so HAPPY! They LOVE to groom each other!

I Love how they groom each other. I’ve written and talked often about the herd dynamics. Chloe is an alpha mare, totally in charge of the herd even if it is only 2 or 3 horses (I often turn out my girlfriends horse with these 2 which I did today but I didn’t take a photo of Gracie). Chloe is definitely the boss lady, is totally in charge and makes sure the herd stays safe! She is as solid as they come, and brings much calm and bravery to the herd. I can’t express how much I love this horse and she and I have mutual respect for each other. It is the most AMAZING bond between human and horse, hard to describe but we are so connected her understanding me and vice versa.

I can say that Zack and I are more bonded then when I first got him and he has learned with Chloe’s help that our group is a wonderful thing and his confidence is growing. But he still gets scared of things on the trail and his fear and flight brain sometimes jumps out but Chloe and I can keep him in check and in control. He’s fun, different and keeps me always thinking about how horses think and feel. They are all different with different personalities.

Thanks for visiting my #weeklysmile! This is hosted by a blogging friend Trent. I think it is so fun to share what makes us smile! What made you smile? Your comments are always welcome and I hope you have an amazing week.

Always smiling with my beautiful horses!

~Diana