I have never hugged my horse more in one week than I have these past seven days. The Sunday before last, Trainer Elise’s horse colicked. It started Sunday morning. She text me that the vet was at the barn but that the first reflux test came back clear. The vet thought it could be impaction but they gave him IV fluids and laxatives. Some 9 hours later, I got a very different text. They were on the side of the road, truck problems, trying to get to MSU. She wasn’t sure he’d even make it there.
But he made it and he went in for emergency surgery. She bravely blogged about it (warning: some relatively graphic photos, don’t click this one if you are squeamish). He pulled through. He never lost the sparkle in his eye. He took one step forward then another back but he never lost the look of life in his eye. [Check that last link for amazing photos of the two of them together]
I went to see him on Saturday. They tried one more antibiotic to jumpstart his GI motility. I spent all day with Elise and her family at MSU.
On Sunday, Elise made the decision. They had done all they could do. His body was simply giving up. His spirit never did.
They laid him to rest today. He was surrounded by friends and family and I know he got all the bananas they could find. I cried at my desk at work. As their appointment time approached, I watched the clock and felt ill. I physically felt so sick. I cried when I hugged Nibbles. I cried writing this.
Atlas seemed invincible. He was Elise’s once in a lifetime horse. They had each other for eleven years. He would turn 19 this year.
Elise gave me my horse back. She helped me get back in the saddle, something I couldn’t do on my own. And her horse was cruelly taken from her. I’m devastated. It’s not fair.
Hug your horses, guys. They are way too fragile and life is way too short. My heart is so broken for Elise and Atlas Shrugged. I know he isn’t hurting anymore. I just wish I could take my friend’s pain away.