Friday morning I looked out the window towards the paddock to see the horses as I do every morning and Amadeous was lying down, that wasn't normal for him. He was always standing at the fence eagerly waiting for his morning grain. I put my coat and boots on and rushed outside running towards the paddock, tears already rolling down my cheeks because I knew something was terribly wrong. As I came closer I noticed he was covered in mud, I climbed through the fence calling his name he got up shakily, he looked awful, his handsome face all coated in wet slimy mud. I took him out of the paddock into the yard to walk him around. My husband and I took off his mud covered blanket and I put a dry one on. All he wanted to do was lie down. His buddy Daytona kept hollering at him...horses know when things aren't right.
My husband called the vet, I figured he was having a bout of colic, something he's never had before. She told me to let him lie down if he was calm and not thrashing about and give him some pain meds which I had in my cupboard. My husband brought out some warm water and cloths and I washed his mud covered face as tears streamed down my cheeks. His breathing was laboured and I wondered and said to the LORD, is today that dreaded day when I have to say goodbye to this majestic creature that had found a special place in my heart.
Amadeous would get up periodically, do a couple spins and then lie right back down, he was in pain. My mom and niece came out and we washed him down some more, trying to get all that mud off him. We waited for the vet to arrive, trying to keep Amadeous warm and comfortable.
Later as I was sitting there alone on the grass I bent down and kissed Amadeous' warm soft muzzle and said to him "is this the day that I have to say goodbye to you?" I think somewhere in my heart I knew it was. Amadeous was almost 30 and I knew his days were numbered but he was still healthy, sure it was harder to keep weight on him but I was managing and so there was always that nagging feeling of how would I know when it was his time. The day before he was his normal self, how could things change so drastically over night.
Eventually he got up and didn't want to lie back down and so I walked him and I kept walking him to get his system going. I talked to him as I walked, telling him he was such good horse, we had so many memories together and we had also walked through some difficult times together.
The vet arrived and she checked Amadeous over. Yes he had had a bout of colic but that was only a secondary problem, the bigger issue was that his liver was shutting down and his time was nearing it's end. But it was still I who had to make that dreaded decision...I didn't want to...how does one who loves a creature so much make the decision to end his life. Yet its the very thing that I had to do, I couldn't leave him to suffer when he was in so much pain, sure on the outside he seemed okay, he had been walking with me and kept on wanting to eat the grass but it was only the meds that were masking his pain.
And so I agreed to putting him down...just like that. Earlier that morning I had sent my sister and brother-in-law a message telling them I was sorry to hear that they had lost their beloved dog of 13 years. I said it was a painful thing losing a loved pet. I would have never guessed that three hours later I would lose my beloved Amadeous.
As I was walking Amadeous through the backyard, my mom was out there and I told her what needed to be done. I asked her to get Sarah so she could say goodbye. I walked Amadeous into their backyard and we huddled around him, mom in tears kissing him goodbye on the muzzle. I told Sarah to go get him an apple, she went and got one and gave him his last treat as tears streamed down her face. I turned and walked him down the hill to the lower paddock and brought him over to the fence so Daytona could see him one more time alive and breathing.
I spent a couple minutes with him, touched that soft warm muzzle of his, kissed it a number of times and let him burrow and rub his head in my chest, told him I loved him and that he was such a good horse as I said my final goodbye. I walked him over to where my vet was and she explained the procedure to me. I wanted to stay...I wanted to be brave and be the one to hold that lead as he went down but I couldn't...I couldn't see him being put down. Life one minute and death the next and so my husband did it for me and I am so thankful for him and his compassion and love towards me and towards Amadeous and so with a broken heart I walked up the hill and waited.
Five minutes later my husband came up and got me, we walked down that hill together, his arm wrapped around me. And there was my boy, lying on the ground all the life out of him. I bent down and touched his warm soft muzzle and just rubbed it and rubbed it. Our vet was still there and I thanked her for her kindness in the whole situation. It can't be easy for her either. She said he was always a gentleman...that he was.
We let Daytona in the paddock so he could see Amadeous and spend time with him and know that he was gone and wasn't coming back...we headed up the hill. Just like that it was done...Amadeous was gone...life had changed in an instant.
Saturday morning I woke up to only one horse to feed, no calls from Amadeous waiting impatiently for his grain...it was hard...I cried. There was only a lonely Daytona, who was missing his buddy. I fed Daytona his hay in the pasture where Amadeous' blanket hung across the fence and all throughout the day Daytona would head back and forth to that blanket...sniffing it...standing by it...nibbling it...resting his head on it. It was sad to see, but I think it was comforting for Daytona to have that blanket...to be able to smell the scent of his buddy...yet knowing he was gone and there was no need to holler for him.
You will be forever missed Amadeous...
Memories of Amadeous...
Amadeous...an unexpected gift.
Buddies till the end.
Rides with my girls...what a blessing.
My first ever horse show, I was one nervous rider but proud of myself for stepping out and doing it.
The year before I'd had an awful fall on Amadeous and didn't know if I'd ever trust him again. It took us eight months to work it through but we did it and this horse show was the product of that trust.
I didn't care how well I did, it wasn't about that, it was about facing a fear and accomplishing something deep in my heart that no ribbon could ever accomplish.
He was a handsome boy.
I was brave and attempted another show that same summer. Thanks for all the coaching and encouragement Marilynne.
Always looking for that treat :-)
In June 2007 Amadeous came home along with Vennus, a surprise for Charissa.
Thanks for all the rides Amadeous...
If the horses were at the bottom of the hill, all I would do is whistle and they'd come cantering up, it was beautiful to see.
Gonna miss my lawn mower next year...
Always curious, a cuddler and lover of treats :-)
The last picture taken of Amadeous...thanks Lily for your beautiful smile and excitement in spending time with Amadeous and Daytona.
He loved a bath on a hot day.
"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die...a time to weep and a time to laugh." Ecclesiastes 3: 1, 2, 4a