29/07/1998 - 04/07/2005

Tribute To Lilly

Lilly, my little darling, four months have passed since I lost you and I still miss you so much that I don't know how to cope with it. You had so many hard times in your life, but you were a true fighter and always the light of my life.

We first met when your mum had to be euthanized because of recumbency in the wake of strangles (bastard strangles, neurological form). You were a little two week old foal and I nursed you through your first months of life. We had so much fun - you always playing and running freely in the stable yard and I trying to work, but occasionally interrupted by you. You even seemed to be able to talk, I thought I heard you say, "Scratch me here!", or, with a stubborn face, "I don't like rain, let me in!".

I gradually introduced you as a weanling into a mixed herd and all seemed well. You joined the group and played with the other horses heartfully, but our bond persisted. When you were two years old, an accident changed our life. A horse had kicked you and opened your antebrachiocarpal joint, inducing very severe septic arthritis. I found you three-legged with a swollen joint and my heart nearly broke. I took you to surgery and after three arthroscopic lavages and weeks of antibiotics, the infection resolved. A low-grade degenerative joint disease remained and they said, there was no chance for you to be ridden, but all I wanted was our friendship and a happy life for you.

After the long recovery, I brought you to a very large pasture with only nine other horses where you could live in peace. You found new friends and after a while our lives settled again. Your leg throbbed only occasionally when it was cold and wet, but most of the time you used to run around just for fun and without any discomfort. The other people laughed at me because I didn't want to ride you even though you had made such a remarkable recovery. But I was anxious it would hurt you. I was happy when I called you and you cantered to me with a loud whinny. You even knew my car, and when you heard it, I had to be quick to get to the door or you would become angry and try to break the fence to greet me.

Four wonderful years passed like that, but then the disastrous disease came in your life. Suddenly you developed a severe bout of laminitis and white lyme disease. You were diagnosed with metabolic syndrome and we tried everything to fix it. I had to separate you from your mates and stable you fulltime, put you on a weight loss diet and filled you up to your ears with drugs. Although you were such a brave fighter, the light in your eyes gradually faded. After six months of pain and suffering (not only of laminitis but also a worsening of the degenerative joint disease due to the stable rest) you lost your stamina. When I was with you, you seemed to get better, but I saw your true behaviour on the video surveillance system. Despite all the treatments and medications you never had a painfree minute, lying down a lot, groaning, and shifting weight constantly when standing. Although it broke my heart, I decided to let you go.

Now you are free again, my baby. Run with the wind and play with the other horses, but please wait for me, when my time has come to cross the rainbow bridge. I will always love you.

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