1987 - February 21, 2011
"Kisses" came to us when I was 14 years old, as the last of three horses to enter my life. I had just gone through the process of adopting a horse from a rescue, and received another horse as its owner was moving on to a younger prospect. So, from when I had no horses, I now had three, and a boarder. I was overwhelmed at such a young age, but ecstatic nonetheless.
When I had gone to visit Kisses for the first time before she officially became part of our herd, it was the funniest sight I had ever seen. At a research facility, the man who told us about her whistled to a field of emptiness. We waited, my parents and I, not knowing what to expect. Soon after the first call was made, a large herd of horses thundered over a hill and came running to the gate where we stood. Kisses was not exactly in the best shape of her 20 year old life as she galloped toward us, burred mane flying and paddle-footed gait slightly humorous to watch. Her left eye was completely blind and had a milky-blue appearance to it that made her so mysterious. When I first touched her though, I knew I loved her. She was the sweetest horse I had met in quite a while, enjoying to be around us, complete with manners and all. I picked burrs out of her mane while my parents and the man talked about her and dates regarding shipping, etc. and didn't want to leave.
When the trailer came to my farm, my two horses and the boarder were whinnying and neighing, calling to the strange creature that had come in a giant box onto their property. She came out of the trailer uneventfully and soon fit right in with the herd, my family, and my life. Standing at 16.2 hh, she was the largest horse I had, and so were her personality and heart. I was afraid to ride her at first, but one of my other horse's trainer worked with her for less than ten minutes before hopping up on her and praising her previous training that we were clueless about. So, Kisses became part of my dads and my riding routine, going out on trails with us. She was definitely a fun ride, being an ex-racehorse and all, never wanting to stand still. It was always go, go, go with her, but never in a bad way - she had the best personality. She never bit, kicked or acted roughly toward any person or horse, and would always come up to people as if to say, "Where are my treats?" This was my dad's doing, he spoiled her so. I knew everytime we were in the barn that he gave her more treats than the others - she was his girl, and she absolutely loved him. She enjoyed everyone else's company, but my dad was always her clear favorite. My dad always had his big brown teddy bear at his heels whenever he was doing barn chores. She made every day fun and could be counted on to be the first horse up at the barn for meals and just to greet you when you visited the barn - her deep nicker was always the best sound I ever heard in the morning.
So, I spent four years with her and her herdmates while I was in high school, feeding, mucking, grooming, riding...everything, morning and night. Eventually her blue eye had to be removed due to shrinkage caused by lessened pressure in the eyelids, and she handled the surgery like the sweet girl she was, letting me wrap her head bandage without any troubles. Over the four years that I had her, her bill of health was never 100%, as she had chronic dermatitis in her hind pasterns that were stubborn, and my dad and I spent hours upon hours wrapping her legs each night after cleaning and scrubbing/treating them. But as much work as her health was, it was worth every minute of it, and she never complained about any of her treatments.
When I went to college in the fall of 2010, I had to leave my horses with my parents at the farm, even though I missed them more than I can explain. I felt wierd not having my horses to take care of - it really goes to show just how much horses wrap you up in their big old hearts, and make it so you just can't live without them. Kisses was the best at this, with her big brown eye always turned toward you and her ears perked up, ready for anything you threw at her, willing to take it on. I called my parents to check in on life at the farm on a Friday night, to learn that Kisses had trouble with a bout of colic the night before. I was slightly thrown off that I wasn't informed about the colic as soon as it happened, but my parents didn't want me to worry - the vet had, of course, tubed her and everything seemed to be in working order and she was given a good prognosis. Of course, she still felt off from the colic the next day, so the vet came back and tubed her again. Kisses was tubed three times, once each day for three days. On Monday morning, 2/21/2011, Kisses' run with colic turned for the worse, and the vet once more came back to our farm. My dad was on a business trip, with my mom at home in charge of the horses, and with myself at school over 300 miles from home. My neighbor, an experienced horsewoman who was just so great during this ordeal helping my mom through this while we were gone, came over to second the vet's opinion of humanely euthanizing Kisses. She was put down peacefully, and her pain stopped, which gives me as much comfort as I can possibly gain from this situation. She was such a trooper through her ordeal, and I can't thank my mom or my neighbor enough for being there for Kisses when my dad and I couldn't be.
Sadly, as everyone who has lost a pet knows, it is awful to realize that the pet is gone. But Kisses, to me, was more than just a pet. She never said no to anything I asked of her, always accepting challenges and taking them on with such grace and willingness. She was the sweetest, most courageous horse I truly believe I will ever know. Her fuzzy, chocolate-brown coat was always a comfort for me, her whiskers always making me laugh as she nuzzled me looking for treats, and I will miss being able to just pet her, groom her, do anything with her. She had a great life with my family, and had an impact on all of us - humans, dogs, cats, and her herdmates. She was a part of my family, and I love her still with everything that I have. And so, I came back to my farm four days too late to say goodbye, but never too late to remember, and am trying my best to console my two horses (who most definitely feel the loss of their friend) my family, and myself as one of the greatest horses in my eyes was let go less than a week ago.
I praise you for everything you have done, Kisses, and miss and love you with all my heart. Four years was too short, but long enough to realize and cherish your greatness.
(and all at the "Funny Farm")