“When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes.” Shakespeare has given words to the thoughts of many horse lovers.
That is why it is next to impossible to say goodbye to them – and when someone says, “I miss my dead horse,” they mean it.
So, how to cope with the loss of your horse?
I Miss My Dead Horse: What Actually Happens?
Lamenting is what ultimately occurs when we lose an equine pal; however, how we respond to this tragic loss may differ from person to person. Generally, five different steps take us to grieve when we realize that our beloved horse is no longer around, but some owners might miss some of these steps or may not tread them in the same order given below.
Ever noticed in a love story how hard it is for a person to accept that her or his lover is no more? An owner whose horse has just died will initially face a similar situation in which she or he will constantly deny that their four-legged friend is no more.
Out of the fear that it will be impossible to live the rest of their life without their friend, it is normal for the owners to resort to this tactic – it is a natural emotional defense system.
When denial ends and owners finally realize that their pet is gone, they get angry. They might think: how is it possible? Why did it happen to me? Seeking the answers to these questions, they become anxious and irritable.
But just like the denial phase, vexation is also but only a period and fades away after some time.
Upon comprehending that showing anger is of no use and will not bring the lost horse back to life, owners start blaming themselves and the circumstances that have led to the loss. Most often, people initially blame themselves. They go through the list of care and feeding moments they spent with their pets and try to scrutinize them to dig up what went wrong.
Similarly, ‘if’ questions pop up in their mind, especially if their pet has died in an accident: “if that had not happened, my horse could have been okay.”
After all these stages, depression occurs. The main culprit behind this phase is the emptiness horse owners feel in their life due to the strong emotional attachment with their pets. Having this level of obsession can sadden anybody when this precious being finally leaves.
Imagine you had a fast horse breed, and you rode him regularly in races, he became your best friend, and your daily schedule revolved around him. But one day – all of a sudden – an accident occurs while running, and your horse passes away. You can understand how painful it is to experience such a tragic loss.
When horse owners ultimately realize that their equine friend has gone forever, they start moving on in their lives after a brief interruption caused due to previous phases.
In simple words, they are finally back to their normal state, and the grief is over; however, how long it might take may not be completely known. Getting a new horse might accelerate this healing process.
How to Deal With the Grief?
Expert opinions tell us that losing a pet is, unfortunately, filled with overwhelming pain and tough emotions. But knowing how to deal with the loss effectively could help us throughout our journey from grieving to healing. Based on the experiences of animal enthusiasts who have lost their pets in their lives, we have created a list of ways that will help deal with grief.
According to SSM Health, mourning is more likely to heal people over their loss. On the other hand, if someone simply ignores the ordeal or the symptoms of grief, the healing process will decelerate.
Therefore, when you face the death of your horse, the first thing you should do is to allow yourself to mourn. Ignore if someone says, “come on, it was just a horse, and you have much bigger and more important things in your life….”
Only you know that he was worth much more, and it hurts bidding him adieu.
Do something to memorialize your horse. According to experts, memorializing serves as a healthy and healing antidote. Memorializing is not only to honor those who are lost but also to help survivors. Donate, hang your horse’s portrait in your home, or keep a key chain with his name engraved – this will help you remember your dear friend beautifully and cheerfully.
You will remember the good time spent with him often.
It is normal to get flashbacks of your pet pal often after he has just passed away. You will remember the quality time spent together, and you might have dreams about it as well. But, as always, do not ignore them. If they hurt, let it be. They will eventually pass and accelerate your healing process. So, know that it is a blessing in disguise.
Express yourself. It will help you overcome your loss. Take a pen and a piece of paper and start writing how you feel and what you know about your equine. Write about the quality time you spent with him and how it made an impact on your life.
Pour your heart out and write why you are depressed over the loss of ‘just a horse.’ Keep doing it until you do not feel like it anymore. After some days, come back to it and read. If possible, get it published through some relevant channels.
5. Do Not Be Guilty
Do not feel guilty. Do not blame yourself. What happened was supposed to happen, and there is no way you could not have stopped it from happening. If you continue blaming yourself for the demise of your four-legged friend, you will have a challenging time coming out of the abyss of depression.
How to Deal With the Grief of Euthanizing My Horse?
Once you have decided to euthanize your sick and feeble horse, know that it is the best for your pet, and it is in your interest as well. So, there is – ideally – no need to grieve. However, we are all human beings, and we face a hard time leashing our emotions.
But you can take the help of the following tips:
- Though it is about personal preference, try not to witness the euthanizing process. The moment might be ingrained in your heart, which will make the healing tougher.
- Talk about what you are going to do with your relatives and close friends. Their assent to it can help you relieve the grieving thoughts.
- Honor your horse. Acknowledge that it was difficult for him to survive with pain; that is why you have made the difficult decision.
- And, forgive yourself. Just do not be upset. It will hamper the healing.
Do Horses Miss Their Dead Owners?
Yes. Horses do not just stop at mourning the death of their owners, but they go a mile further and regularly miss their touches and comforts. They eventually start feeling lonely until the void is filled by a new loving owner.