Thoroughbred Chestnut gelding

1997 - December 22, 2003

In October of 2002, I began my search for a new, larger horse for me to ride. I had outgrown my Bay QH mare I have had since I was 5 years old. It was difficult to move on, so I was reluctant to look for a new horse.  Luckily, the first prospect was a gorgeous young chestnut named Houston. I immediately fell in love with his gentle eyes.

On our test ride he was not too compliant, but when I had my mind set, it was in stone. The next week he came to his new home with an eager expression. I took him to his first horse show ever the next month and competed in 2'3" Hunters. We won Reserve Champion. He was turning out to be a really spectacular horse.

This summer the girls from the barn brought their horses to a cross-country camp called Sharpton in Florida. I was nervous bringing him since he was so young and unexperienced, but boy, did my big boy prove me wrong. He refused not one single jump, maybe out of braveness, but possibly out of stupidity, haha. Water jumps, drops, and solid walls he cleared with ease. I was in heaven.

Many more months passed where we rode together and went on trail rides, shows and trips. In the beginning of December I got a call that the vet had to come see Houston because he was showing signs of colic. I didn't worry too much, just went and watched them oil him. The next night I was awoke by a call that I dread to think of. Houston had been brought to a surgicare center in Brandon, Florida to be operated on. All I could do was wait, it was torture. The next morning I went to visit him, with his IVs and all, thanking God he was still there. His normally bright eyes were dull with sadness. It broke my heart to see him in so much pain. Three days went by, with me calling to check on him about 10 times a day (I'm an overprotective mommy), when I got the news that without another surgery, Houston would only have a 10% chance of living. My heart dropped, but I knew a decision had to be made. Give him a 20% chance with surgery, or let him go. There was no way I was going to give him up that easily.

I sat with him in his stall talking and crying with him, I tried to be strong around him, but they said he had to go, so I walked with him to the operating room, gave him a kiss and a hug and said my goodbyes. One hour into the surgery the vet called me in. I knew what this meant. We were informed he had no chance of survival and the most humane thing to do was to put him down. I went in with him and held him tight as they injected him. I have never been more hysterical in my life. This was any horse person's nightmare. The nurses and vet were all very respectful. I tried to stay with Houston longer but my trainer and mom had to bring me out.

On Christmas Eve we held a burial ceremony in the back pasture at the farm. I brought him flowers and a carrot and laid it on his plot. The next few days were a blur, I went through emotions such as sadness, grief, hysteria, depression, blankness and anger. As I walked in the barn to greet my other horse, it hit me the hardest, his stall was empty, no more loving whinnys as I pulled up the drive, no more Houston. I felt so alone and angry.

I know that he is now running free in heaven, but I wish he was still here with me. Non-horsey people will never understand the connection we make with our companions, they see it as merely losing a goldfish. It's more than that, you lose a partnership in body and mind.

I hoped for more time with you, but the time we had was a wonderful experience I will never forget. He was my baby boy, just a big baby...he left footprints in my heart that can't be erased. I loved his big curious eyes and sweet attitude, he never hurt anyone. He was not only a champion at horse shows but also a champion in many hearts. I miss him constantly and love him still. Goodbye, Huey, I'll see you soon.

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