Sunday, February 4, 2018

The Last Day

Friday morning, I filled Jackson's bucket with sweet senior feed and carrots.  No meds.  It was everything he loved (and shouldn't eat) and none of the stuff he hated (but had to have).  He was out in the small arena, on the damp sand -- another no-no -- no longer confined to his covered round-pen prison. 

He finished his bucket, ate some hay, and then stretched out on the sand for a nap.  I sat on a small pile of wood, with my jacket zipped to my neck and my hands, gloved, and folded under my arms.  As the sun warmed the sand, he stretched his neck, rubbed his face in the soft ground, closed his eyes and groaned.  I unzipped my jacket partway.

A van rumbled up the driveway, with friends who were coming to help Brett cut up more of the oak, and Jackson sat, and then stood up.  The arena gate was wide open and I invited him to follow me out.  He slowly made his way along the side of the barn, towards the pasture where Tex and Flash were watching, grazing as he went.  At the fence, he and Tex rubbed the sides of their faces together a few times.  Flash approached, and both Tex and Jackson retreated. 

Next, Jackson made his way to the front of the house where the men were unloading their chainsaws and other equipment.  He greeted everyone, checking for cookies, and then wandered off following the stream along the side of the house.  He circled back to the barn (still grazing as he went) and touched noses with Lucy, who was in her stall turnout watching. 

Meanwhile, Tuffy had come to the fence in the donkey pasture.  Jackson reached his nose over the gate, and Tuffy stretched his nose up to meet him.  Finessa stood a few feet back, watching.

When the vet arrived, Jackson was up by the dressage court, grazing in the deep grass under the oaks and pines.  I slipped his halter on and we slowly made our way back to the barn.  Jackson likes the vet, and especially her assistant, so his relaxed mood never changed.  They loved on him for awhile, before giving him a sedative.  He went easily, peacefully, and quickly.  After he was on the ground, I knelt beside him with one hand on his withers and one on his neck.  I wept, sending all my love to him through my hands.  Brett knelt at his head.  Tuffy brayed.  And brayed.  And brayed.

Over the course of the weekend, we've been adjusting.  I tossed all his medication jars into the trash.  I scrubbed his vitamin bucket and put it away.  Brett drained his water trough. 

All of the comments on my last post have been incredibly comforting to me.  There is a whole community who knew him, and understood him, and miss him too.  I am thankful that I have been able to convey his spirit to all of you over the years, and that you have understood.  I was one of the lucky ones, to have the gift of a relationship with a horse like Jackson. 


  1. I am in tears with you. Thank you from r being brave enough to share this day with us.

  2. I'm so glad Jackson had such a peaceful last day.

  3. I have followed your blog for years, and Jackson was always my favorite. I knew this day would come, and I always dreaded it. I never met Jackson, but I loved him. What a beautiful, gentle soul, and what a beautiful eye he had. I am so sorry for your loss. I know he really loved you.

  4. I have tears for Jackson and for you.

    What a wonderful farewell.

  5. It sounds like you made Jackson’s last day perfect, and his passing was peaceful. ❤️ I admire that you let him have that last day the way he would have wanted it. I think it’s the days and weeks following, when they’re not there anymore, that can be the hardest. And, I imagine cleaning his buckets and trough was very difficult for you both. Do you have something in mind to remember him with?

    1. I don't have anything specific to remember him by other than lots and lots of photos and many wonderful memories.

  6. I'm so, so sorry... Even though it's the HARDEST thing to do, I'm glad for Jackson that he's no longer in pain... & that he had such a wonderful last day. <3

    You & Brett are in my thoughts. </3


  7. I just felt over again every moment of my sweet Dusty's last day. Like you, blessed with a relationship with one of the most wonderful horses a cowgirl could partner with. Thank you for sharing what is a deeply personal event in your life.

  8. I am very sorry for your loss. He was your Heart-Horse and, as such, will never be far from you. You gave him a great life and set him free from pain when it was time.

  9. Oh I am so sorry for your loss. I'm crying with you and will send up a prayer for your grieving hearts. He was a wonderful, kind horse. I'm so glad you were able to give him the gift of a good day. Socializing with his herd mates, green grass and napping in the sun. You have given him freedom. May he rest in peace. ((hugs))

  10. I kept it together until I read about Tuffy's reaction. You did all the right things for Jackson, including letting him choose how to spend his time at the end and say goodbye to his friends. What a gift he was. Thank you for sharing him with a bunch of internet strangers. My sympathy to you and Brett.

  11. Good gravy, this got me but good. What a special day; there is no doubt Jackson loved it. Now I have to finish sobbing.

  12. i always enjoy reading your words, because your messages are always so straightforward- it is a good motto to live by. This post is no exception, except it doesnt have the happy ending we wish for my other wish for you is that the bittersweet moments pass quickly, and that one day you will be able to smile, and laugh, yes laugh, at all the joy Jackson brought you, rather then cry. It takes time though, doesnt it? It is so hard, especially when you loved and were loved...

    hugs to ((you)) Annette

  13. Such a special day together. and with such love in your heart. Hugs from NZ.


Thanks so much for commenting! I love the conversation.