Loosing a Good Partner…

I purchased Studly from a cattle rancher near Dunning, Nebraska about 10 years ago.  He was a 7 year old gelding that had been used as a “stud” horse early in life, and then moonlighted as a general ranch horse.   I always purchase horses from cattlemen that I know because that helps to ensure that I will gain a good equine partner out of the exchange.

I think that I was always more excited to go to work than he was...

I think that I was always more excited to go to work than he was…

We normally have more than one horse at the feed yard, but Studly has always been my favorite.  I have never known a more solid or dependable horse.  I remember a few years ago when I dropped the chain to a pen gate onto the electric hot wire while Doing Gates.  Studly and I both got a pretty big electric jolt, but he still took care of me.

Riding pens...

Riding pens…

Early Saturday morning my cowboy greeted me with a solemn face and the simple message, “Studly is dead”.  I was so shocked that it took several moments for it to sink in.  Just the day before he was out grazing in our pasture and driving our other horse around playing his favorite game of herd boss.  It was difficult to believe that my strong and healthy horse was gone.

Doing gates...

Doing gates…

I exercised calves that morning with tears running down my face.  My horse was lying along the pasture fence line not far from our main alleyway never to get up again—As I walked the cattle past him my composure broke and the facade of the strong boss lady disappeared.

I loved that horse.  His loyalty was unwaivering and, like all good things, he will never be able to be replaced.

I console myself with the knowledge that he had a good life, and that he is now in heaven where the green grass is belly-deep and there are no annoying flies to ruin the pleasure of a beautiful day.  I try to remember that, deep down, Studly was just a tad bit lazy and he is likely happier now than he ever was working with me at the feed yard…

Horse heaven...

Horse heaven…

Today, I take my hat off to a great horse–a good partner–and a beautiful creature.  Thank you, Studly, for all of those good rides.


Filed under Animal Welfare, Foodie Work!, General

35 responses to “Loosing a Good Partner…

  1. Dear Anne,

    Your post brought tears to my eyes. I am sorry for your loss of Studly, it sounds like he was a real (equine) friend. Still, I can’t help thinking – what a way to go! Happy and healthy one day – and then gone.

    Best regards

    • Thank you for reading and sharing your sympathy. I agree that his passing with no suffering was a gift. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts!


  2. Kim

    Anne, I am so sorry that you have lost Studly. He sounded like a great companion & work horse. “There is nothing as great as the outside of a horse for the inside of a person”…I love this quote & know how true it is. I hope you will find another great partner to fill that empty hole soon. Thinking of you, Kim

    • Thank you, Kim. I love your quote and really appreciate you sharing it. I’m not sure that I will ever really replace Studly, but I am sure that there will be another loved horse on the horizon for me.

      It is great to hear from you and hope that all is well. Thank you for continuing to read — you have been a loyal FYF reader for a long time now!

      All the best,

  3. Rex

    Sorry for you.
    I have not yet decided if a sudden death or a growing realization of the inevitable is harder on oneself.

    • I agree, Rex. He passed without suffering and for that I am glad. I will miss him. Solid horses are treasures.

      Thank you for your note. I hope that all is well in Western Nebraska.

  4. Alisa

    Sorry Anne,

    We lost our pup this weekend too, so this post especially hit home.


    • Oh Alisa, I am so sorry to hear about your pup. We are thinking of you and Dustin and the kids. Memories are treasures, but they never quite take the place of the animal that you lost.


  5. Michele Rager

    Anne…I am so sorry! Since I was a small child my dream was to have a horse….be involved with them. Never happened, but I still long for it! I can only imagine the sadness and loss you feel but I am feeling it with you…your grief and sorrow! I do know that God will take care and bring joy to your heart again!

    • Thank you, Michele. Life is full of both challenges and gifts—each one of them makes you a better person for experiencing them.

      I hope that all is well in Washington DC, and I appreciate your kind words.


  6. Sue Fan Ferguson

    Oh Anne–I am so sorry. My heart aches for you.

    • Good to hear from you, Sue Fan. Thank you for the note. It is heart wrenching, but things happen and you have to learn to make the best of them even when it hurts. I know that Studly is in a good place, and I am truly thankful for all that he gave to me. I had hoped for several more years together, but apparently that was not in the cards.

      I hope that you and Tommy had fun in the Keys!

  7. Joanne Atwood

    Dear Anne,
    I am sooooo sorry. Your post made me cry, too. Thank you for sharing this story and this side of you, the “softer” boss lady. My heart aches for you.

    • Thank you, Joanne. I needed to write this post as it helped me to clear out my head and deal with the loss. I try to hide my “softer side”, but there is no doubt that it exists. Studly held a very special place in my heart, and I will miss him tremendously.

      I really appreciate your message.

  8. So sorry to hear about your loss. You know, horses aren’t supposed to be brave, or “take care” of us, they were put here as animals of prey and their first instinct is always to run. I’m not sure what makes the good ones good, but it’s sure nice to ride them while they’re here.

    • You are so right, Jodi. It is absolutely against their natural tendencies to “take care of us” in challenging situations, and it is truly amazing when they do. Studly was a great animal, and I agree that it is a blessing to ride those special equines.

      It is great to hear from you and I hope that all is well.

  9. Dawn

    Anne, So sorry for your loss. I remember well the day I had to make the decision to put down my 31 yr old appaloosa. Her arthritis just got the best of her that day, went down for a roll and just couldn’t get back up. It is just heartbreaking to lose a loved and trusted companion.
    Hugs, Dawn

    • Thank you so much, Dawn. I have lost two good horses in my lifetime—one to old age and arthritis like your appaloosa, and now Studly. Even though he was 17, Studly was so strong that I thought we had many years left together. The plan was for him to work at the feed yard for a couple more years and then retire in my horse pasture at the house. I am very sorry that I have lost those years and will miss him. You are correct, it is heartbreaking.

      It is good to hear from you.
      All the best,

  10. Reblogged this on Eye of the White Face and commented:
    There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man. – Churchill

  11. Robert L. Gwilt

    So very sorry to hear of the lose of your horse. I sure can feel the lose with
    you. We lost our Quarter Horse Mare after having her for 20 years.She was
    the best bay sitter we could of had. She was my wife’s baby and she
    cried for three days when she died in or pasture by the barn.
    Bob Gwilt

    • Hi Bob, it is great to hear from you. It sounds as though you can certainly empathize with my loss. I am sorry for yours as well. I think that having horses makes us better humans—there is just something about a good horse that makes it’s caregiver a better person. They are special creatures.

      All the best to both you and your wife.

  12. Lynette Pruett Gray or lynette Pruett Gray on face book

    Sooo sorry for your loss. I truly know the feelings and loss of a good horse, friend, companion and hard working partner. Think happy thoughts of him.
    (was it lightening that killed him?) Lynette

    • Thank you, Lynette. I talked with the vet and he is guessing a heart defect or a twisted gut. Because there was absolutely no sign of any struggle, that would lead us to think that it was the heart. There was no storm last night, so I don’t think that it was lightning. I really thought seriously about have the vet necropsy him so that I would know for sure, but the vet talked me out of it. Either way, he is gone and I have to deal with that. I appreciate your kind words and thoughts. I am thinking happy thoughts of him—and writing the blog post really helped me come to terms with it so that I could be at that point.

      All the best,

  13. Carol

    I, too am sorry to hear that you’ve lost Studly. Who would dream that a horse would just drop dead at only 17?! Yet, if he were my horse, I guess I, too, would rather that than years of suffering with arthritis or bad teeth.

    • I share your thoughts, Carol. He was so strong and appeared so healthy that it is hard to believe. That being said, it was obviously a quick death with minimal pain and that is a blessing.

      I look forward to seeing you this weekend.

  14. Writing with tears rolling down my face both for Studly’s loss and the image of you breaking down. Miss you much. I like the softer side of you as much as the tough boss lady (in and out of the pool). Thinking about you. I know you loved Studly, still remember when you brought him home. Hugs to all of you.

    • Thank you, Karyn. You know me better than most, and I can picture you crying for me with the sympathy and compassion that you are so full of.

      I miss you all and hope that New York is treating you well.

  15. Oh wow, Anne. So sorry for the loss of your ranch partner and friend. Tears welled up in my eyes as I read this, because it could very easily be any one of my horses. Hope you find comfort in the fact that he’s grazing on the never ending and ever-green prairie.

    • That never ending green pasture is a great place to be—thank you for the great visual image, Brandi. I know that he is in a good place, I just wish that he were still here!

      Thank you for your kind words,

  16. Oh Ann, I just read this and I am so sorry. I knew your horse ment a lot to you and when you spend a much time as you did with him…. his loss is even worse. I wish I could say something to comfort you, but I know no words will do that. God has him now and you in his loving arms. I know the pain of loosign an animal you are close to and I hope your heavenly knowledge brings you some comfort. 😦 -Kim

    • Thank you, Kim. Your words are a comfort and I appreciate them. I have let him go, and I know that he is in a good place. Healing is not always an easy road, but it is a necessary one.

      I hope that all is well back East,

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