Cutter was my first full sized horse. My best friend and my constant companion. I miss her every day. I had gotten her at age 25 from some people I know who were moving to town and needed to find a good home for her. She was the last horse they had, the others had been sold and it seemed no one wanted sweet ol Cutter due to her age. So she became mine.
Fast forward a couple years, I had Cutter and another full sized mare. They were very close. Long story short, the other mare had to go and went to another home. Poor Cutter went into a full fledged depression. She missed her buddy so much it was sad to see. She quit eating, started losing weight, and just stood there with her head hung low for several months. At her age I knew I had to do something. We were coming into winter and I knew she needed every pound of fat she had on her to make it through. So I started looking for a companion for her. A friend referred me to a gal about an hour away who had an old buckskin gelding. I went up to see him. I fell in love, much the same way I did with Cutter the first time I saw her. $300 later, he was mine.
Now here is the part that will give you goosebumps. As it turns out, this buckskin (Hollywood) had lived with Cutter for nearly 20 years. They were the husband and wife's trail riding team for many years. Remember how all their other horses had been sold when I got Cutter? He was one of them. They hadn't seen each other in 4 years. We put him in the trailer and brought him home. He got out of the trailer and let out a big whinney. Cutter heard him and came running to greet him. I hadn't seen her ears perk up like that, her eyes so bright, her trot so enthusiastic since the day that other mare left. She was truly reborn again. You could almost see all her muscles relax when she saw her old buddy. Everything about her changed back to the horse I remembered. For the next few years, you never saw one without the other. You could tie a three foot rope between the two of them and it wouldn't have bothered them a bit. It was almost like, "I lost you once, and I'm never letting you out of my sight again!"
During those years they spent together, nothing made me happier than seeing them together munching grass, scratching each other's withers, dozing off in the sun together. I often would look at them and think, "I want that kind of relationship. That easy going, I'll scratch your back, you scratch mine, I love you forever" kinda thing that they had going. He stood by Cutter's side till the day she passed. He took it just as hard as I did, and we both helped each other through it. (anyone who rolls their eyes at this, has never experienced all the emotions that horses have)
And now, a year and a half after Cutter passed, it is Hollywood's time. He is 30 and it is showing. I can't keep weight on him and that spark is gone from his eyes. I knew this would be his last summer, that he wouldn't make it through another winter. But sadly, his condition is just getting worse. I know my horse. And I know it's time. So a big thank you to Hollywood for the years of wonderful service, for keeping sweet old Cutter company, and for being there for me. You filled your role well old buddy. I don't know what happens to horses when they die, but I sure hope you two are together again in some way. I hope Cutter is waiting for you when you cross over that bridge.
It'll be a tough day, for sure. The vet appointment has been made, the skid loader lined up, a friend called in to hold my hand when the vet shows up. He will be laid to rest beside his best friend. Between now and then, it'll be nothing but bucket after bucket of his favorite food. Lots of brushing down and pampering. Probably lots of crying. I know it's the right thing to do, but boy oh boy is it hard to say goodbye. It's a part of farm life I never get used to. But all the pain I feel is because of the love I have for them, and I wouldn't trade that love for anything in the world.