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 ❤