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  • Writer's pictureErica Hills

Horse girl heartbreak

It’s been months since my last blog post…

I said goodbye to my favorite horse in the world, Godiva back in March and I haven’t been feeling well about writing anything unless it was about her.

I purchased Godiva back in 2011ish to be my dressage horse. She was the first warmblood I’d ever owned and that was something special to me (at least back then). She was a nice mover and was easy to look at with her coppery, chestnut coat.

She helped me learn how to be a more effective and educated rider through lots of lessons and different experiences. She was also a great trail horse, which I appreciated so much.

Once my husband and I purchased our property, she was always the horse we could count on for visitors to spend time with and for my husband to groom and take on walks while I retrained my OTTB. She was a great sitter for the green or young horses that I brought home and always provided and sense of calm and happiness.

She was the kindest and sweetest mare I could have ever asked for and now I have higher standards for what I expect from any of the mares I bring into the barn.

It was not long (maybe several months) after we brought the horses up to our property to live at home that she tripped and fell during a lesson. This was the only time I had fallen off this mare. Following this trip, she started having some swelling and intermittent lameness in her hind end. We had numerous vets and farriers come out and help with diagnostics. Ultimately, we landed on the diagnosis of DSLD (degeneration of the suspensory ligament) which was nothing we could “fix,” just hopefully slow the progression of her heals dropping to the ground.

I did tons of research and talked to as many other horse people (who had experienced this) as I could. Everyone was supportive of whatever decision I wanted to make moving forward. And I chose to keep her as comfortable as a retired horse as I could.

We spent several more years together as friends. And she was happy to be a pasture puff just hanging out. But time went by and farrier visits became more and more challenging, which I won’t go into detail here. And in the end, she was experiencing severe lameness. We made the decision to let her go with dignity.

This was not the first time I’ve said goodbye to a horse, but it was the first time I said goodbye to a heart horse. That’s a feeling you’ll never be prepared for, but when people tell you that “you’ll know when it’s time to say goodbye” rest assured that they’re right. Your heart will tell you and you’ll never be wrong for giving your horse a peaceful goodbye.

Her stall is now filled with a borrowed horse in order to keep Indy company. And surprisingly enough, this mare has filled a bit of the void in my heart and I’m incredibly grateful for that.

Writing this blog is part of my final goodbye process to Godiva. My next steps will be replacing her name plate on her stall door, creating a memorial plaque, and having her tail hair sent off to create a piece or jewelry or art.

Rest easy my love. <3

Here are a few more photos of my favorite mare.

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