Friday, 5 January 2018

Goodbye Old Friend......

I have been neglecting this blog, as the horseback archery one has been taking over somewhat, and indeed I realise I may not have time to keep two of them going, and this could well be the last post on here.

If it is, it will unfortunately not be a happy post. Because last weekend we had to say goodbye to the incomparable Gandalf. I still can't believe he's gone. After 12 years he was so much a part of our lives that it is very hard to be without him.

Last Friday Ali noticed he was looking a bit out of sorts, and was lying down, then getting up then going down again. She stayed in the field to keep an eye on him for a bit, and when he went down like he'd fallen over, she got really alarmed. We called the vet and brought him in, by this time covered in mud. He continued to lie down try to roll, get up again and clearly was in pain. The vet did all the usual treatments for colic, gave him a hefty dose of painkiller and we settled in for a vigil.

Every 20 minutes or so we got him up, took him for a walk, put him back in the stable, where he immediately laid down. Ali sat with him in the straw, I paced up and down and went to see the other horses, many of whom were in for the night as it was so wet in the fields. All the time we were waiting for the tiniest sign that this may be passing, that he would appear more comfortable and start to look for something to eat.

Alas, it was not to be. After several hours with no improvement we called the vet again. Whilst we waited, we took him for a final walk down the track to the field, where for the first (and last) time he called to the others and one of them answered him. It felt like he was saying goodbye......

The vet told us the only other option was a trip to the hospital and surgery, we did not want to put him through that with no guarantee of success. So we did the only thing we could and let him go. We stayed with him at the end, he'd been given a further dose of painkiller, enough that he started looking around for treats so we could give him a few as the last thing we could do for him.

Afterwards, we brought Sky in to say goodbye as she's the sensitive one, who'd been with him since she was six months old. We think it's important for them to know when one of them passes away, rather than just disappearing from the field never to return. Ever since she has been strangely calm, but there is definitely a sense that things have changed in the herd.

So there we are, at the age of 23, Gandalf is gone. Ali wrote this on Instagram, which I think is a lovely tribute to the horse of a lifetime.
Goodbye old friend, we love you.......

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