To put it bluntly - see that dirt spot out between Captain & Kisses?
It's a horse-sized grave.
My sister called me up at work Thursday morning, crying her eyes out, saying Princess wasn't doing well. She had woke up at like 3am hearing some pounding - she thought maybe someone was beating on mailboxes again, but she realized it was coming from the barn. She ran out there and Princess was down in her stall - Laurie had heard Kisses kicking - to get her attention!! She called the vet, gave her some horse-aspirin (Bute) and started walking her, thinking she may have colic. The vet came out at 7am, checked her over and gave her some shots- a tranquilizer and some pain killers. Her told Laurie just to let her relax out there in the field for a while and left her some more painkillers in case she needed them.
The problems with a horse laying down is that they're so big. They can lay down and sleep, but if they're down for any length of time, it is hard on their heart & lungs & general circulation. I kept checking in with Laurie to see how things were.
Around 2pm, Laurie called me and said she was just getting worse. She couldn't even stand up anymore. Luckily, Laurie's friend Michelle had come over so she wasn't alone. She had a call into the vet for him to come over as soon as he could. Princess was clearly going downhill and she couldn't stand to see her suffer any more. The vet couldn't recommend even attempting surgery to clear any impaction of her intestines, due to her advanced age (she was 24) and the condition she was in. Princess had Cushings Disease - it's a tumor on her pituitary gland and causes her to have balance problems, can't regulate temperature and all sorts of crappy things. But she was on medication and had it under control.
I had told Laurie we would come out (Angel & I). She had hoped Princess would stabilize and if need be, the euthanization would be on Saturday morning. She likes to try to plan things she doesn't have much control over. So we planned on going out Friday night as soon as Angel finished her last drive for driver's training. I ended up leaving work early Thursday and Angel skipping dance and even then....by the time we got out there, the neighbor guy with a backhoe had the hole almost filled in.
I'm sort of glad I missed the burial. Apparently Michelle has buried several horses in her time - and it's not a graceful, dignified thing. If the hole isn't nearby, they have to drag the body to it. Or, if the horse is still mobile, they dig the hole so there's a ramp and lead it down first, then give it the shot! OMG - I can't even think about which is more horrible!!! Dave, the backhoe guy dug the hole right next to where she was laying, so maybe it wasn't too bad. But once Dave had shown up, Michelle made Laurie go sit on the front porch, so she couldn't see what was going on. I'm glad for that. When we got there, Angel & I sat with them, but I kept peeking around the corner to check on progress. Once he drove out of the pasture, we went back to talk with him.
It was odd how quiet Captain & Kisses were. When Dave got there, Laurie had put them into their stalls so they'd be out of the way. But once we let them out, Kisses kept calling for Princess. It was pitiful. The big dirt spot spooked them at first, but they quickly made their way out to check it out.
Sister Linda had come out for a while, too. So once we sat for a while, Laurie's dog asked to go for a walk. I had Jack with me & Linda had Baxter, so we trooped off down the road. After a short walk, we went back to Laurie's and Linda went home. Laurie mentioned laying down for a minute - I told her she should just take a hot shower and go to bed. We weren't there for her to entertain us. Then I went to the store really quick to grab some stuff for breakfast and when we got back, Laurie had showered and promptly fell asleep on the couch. I did eventually get her to go to bed.
I woke up around 7:30am and went out to feed Captain & Kisses and do some things around the barn (so Laurie didn't have to see the empty stall right away) when I came in around 8:30am, Laurie was sitting at the dining room table where she could see the barn and most of the pasture, crying.
We stayed with her most of the day, helping out with some little chores and taking the dogs for another walk, etc. She had her moments, but for the most part she did OK. She didn't seem as fragile as she did Thursday night. And she was in & out of the barn several times so she wasn't avoiding it.
Angel always considered Princess "Her" horse.
RIP, Ice Princess, we miss you!