Departed this world on January 6, 2005

Bobbie's Story

It's been almost 6 months since I lost my girl. This is her story.

It was the summer of 2000. I wasn't really looking for a horse. I had just gotten back into riding and had been riding a friend's horse. She called me up one day and said "There's an ad on the internet for a Thoroughbred mare, why don't you just go look at her?" (I am crazy about Thoroughbreds, always have been- -always will be). Well, I did (twice) and she was in such pitiful condition, but was so sweet, I couldn't resist. So, much to the dismay of my husband (and at the ripe old age of 30), I found myself to be in possession of my first horse. (I have ridden most of my life, my parents had horses, but I never had "my own").

Looking at her pictures now, she was a sight to see, wasn't she? She didn't quite know what to do with herself either. I knew we had a long haul ahead us when she went thru the fence the first night home. (A friend, Dear Karen, was kind enough to let us stay at her house). I probably should have turned tail and run right then, but I am as stubborn as a mule (and already in love with my "rescued" baby) and was determined to see it through. I just knew that eventually we would get it together, I just didn't know how hard it would be.

The first order of business was getting her a proper name. The "kid" I bought her from really didn't know much about her (he had picked her up off of some guy that was just letting her stand out in a pasture) and when he got her Coggins done, they put "Bobbing for Apples" as her name. I didn't have the heart to change it, so we just started calling her Bobbie. So, I have no idea where she came from, how old she was at the time and what demons she brought with her, I just knew she was mine! The vet said she was probably 2 or 3. She was "green broke" and I could ride her, but it wasn't easy. So after about 6 months, several trips to the ground and lots of pulling back and rearing (the demons that we discovered once she got her strength back), I sent her to a trainer. My "Horse Whisperer". Rory helped us out tremendously. He pretty much fixed the pulling back and made one helluva trail horse out of her, but the rearing "reared" it's ugly head occasionally.

This is the demon we just couldn't get rid of. Bobbie was very immature on the inside. She got very anxious and nervous around large crowds. I didn't take her too many places because it just wasn't worth the risk of her hurting herself. I tried to be strong for her, but some days she just would get upset and rear and throw herself down - it was quite a show to see- - horrifying. I'm grateful she never hurt herself badly when she would throw one of her famous tantrums. The last 2 years I had her, they were few and far between, thank goodness.

Anyway, I had moved to the barn of a friend in September of 2002. In November of 2004, she started to drop some weight and had a mild colic, which the vet seemed to think (after blood work, etc.) was probably caused by an ulcer. After doing much reading and research on equine ulcers, I made the decision to move her to another barn where she had access to quality grass or hay 24/7 (which in itself, as God intended, can keep a horse happy and healthy) and management that was more flexible (that's a whole other story).

Well, the day I moved her to the new barn, her left nostril starting pouring. She had the nastiest drainage coming out of her nose. Well, we immediately started her on a round of antibiotics. It didn't seem to be bothering her too much---she was eating well, running with her pasture mate, etc. After a week of antibiotics, it didn't seem to be clearing so the vet came out to take x-rays. It was a sinus infection. So, we decided to have another vet come see and determine if it needed to be "drained". Well, he came out on Tuesday January 4 and literally drilled a hole on the left side of her face and flushed her  "face" out with medicated saline.

After that, we were going to have to flush her daily. I knew this was going to be a chore, because she hated to be "handled" by the head and I feared her rearing would return. We decided that she would have to be sedated for these daily flushings. So, on Wednesday I went out in the afternoon and flushed her. Thursday morning, my trainer just happened to be out and the group was going to flush her for me. They gave her IM sedation and waited for it to take effect. Then when they started to flush her, she went up and over sideways and basically never got up. I will never know what caused her to not get up. I suspect that the combination of the sedation and the way she fell possibly caused her aorta to rupture since it happened so quickly. I was not there at the time, but they called me at work and I rushed the 35 miles to get there.

Of course, she was gone by the time I got there, but I did get to spend time with her and tell her goodbye. She knows that I was with her (I'll explain in a moment). I still can't get over the shock of it and seeing her lifeless body on the ground that day. I will never forget it. I take solace in the fact that it was quick and she did not suffer. That is left for me to do.

I spoke that night with an animal communicator. This woman lives in Illinois and I had never spoken to her in my life. She told me things about Bobbie and our lives together that she could not have possibly known. She told me that a Chestnut mare with a white blaze met her when she crossed over. She gave me details about Bobbie's illness and the color of my brushes and saddle pad. It was very surreal. The most important thing she told me was that Bobbie knew how much I loved her and that she loved me just as much.

I believe it was fate that led me to the new barn (Chainey Briar Stables). They found a beautiful spot to bury her and we had a beautiful memorial service for her about 2 weeks later. I have some wonderful friends and I will never forget all the support they have given me. I talk to my "Rock" daily - she knows who she is. I know that I am fortunate that I can still go to see Bobbie anytime I want. I know she is in good hands. I have ridden some since then, but it's just not the same. The breeze in the trees and the wind in my hair at a canter are just not as joyful as it was with Bobbie. She was my soul mate and I will miss her forever.

I have a wise friend who, through many hours of deep discussion, helped me to reflect on what Bobbie meant in my life. She said that she and a friend have decided that there is a "Horse Council" in heaven. It's run by horses and they decide when it is time for a horse to come into someone's lives. Bobbie was sent to me for a reason. She made me learn that sometimes you really do need to be a little tougher. To always get back in the saddle and never give up. She showed me who my true friends are. She taught me how to fly. She taught me a little humility along the way. She taught me about unconditional love and partnerships. She taught me that worrying doesn't keep bad things from happening, so don't waste any of that precious time together on worries (easier said than done sometimes). She has taught me to trust in my own instinct and judgment, most of the time, you may just be right. And don't hesitate to act on those feelings and instincts. Maybe if I had, she would still be with me today. She taught me that there is only room for a little bit of fear (not paralyzing fear) when it comes to being with horses. She has taught me how to be strong, for there are those that need me to be (myself included).  And if Cada's right, she's busy teaching someone else some new lessons right now.

I like to think that I have no regrets, but I would be lying to myself if I said that I didn't. I never got to take her to that first Dressage show; I never got to take her to the beach. One of these days, I may just find the strength to love another and in Bobbie's honor, I will not be too afraid to do the things I've always dreamed of. Bobbie, I hope you know I did the best I knew to do and I will miss you always. You will never be replaced. I know you are running wild and free, kicking up your heels and loving every minute of it. So long, my friend. There are no words to adequately express what you have meant to my life. I am a better person for having had you in it. I will always be thankful for the time that we did have together, in that there are no regrets.

Lori Reed

We who choose to surround ourselves with lives more temporary than our own live within a fragile circle, easily and often breached. Unable to accept its awful gaps, we still would live no other way.

We cherish memory as the only certain immortality, never fully understanding the necessary plan. The life of a horse, often half our own, seems endless until one day. That day has come and gone for me, and I am once again within a somewhat smaller circle.

- Irving Townsend

Bobbie's Support Group Honoree page.

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