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When you lose the horse you love, you lose a piece of yourself. The extent of the pain and grieving that follows the loss of a dear equine friend is hard to imagine until you’ve experienced it yourself, much like the loss of a family member. These animals become so much a part of us that we love them as we love ourselves.  The bond that is shared between horse and human is nothing short of incredible. The pure love, trust and friendship that is given to us by these animals is a gift. When that gift is taken, it is an incredibly difficult process. Every milestone, every struggle and triumph made together is a bittersweet memory. Often, we feel alone in our grief but it’s important to remember that we’re not. As equestrians,  we completely invest ourselves emotionally in our horses and that investment brings smiles and tears for us all. While you may feel alone, there is always another horse person experiencing the same pain.

Creative ways to memorialize the passing of a great horse include horsehair jewelry made from your horse’s hair, a frame or shadowbox with a photo of your horse or their items, or a donation to an equine charity. There is also a company called Cuddle Clones where you can send a picture of your horse (or other pet) and they make an adorable identical stuffed animal version. While these items may provide us with comfort in our horse’s passing, we should also take comfort in knowing that we loved them every step of the way, to and across the rainbow bridge.

I write this in loving memory of my own horse, Tyler. My beautiful boy crossed into greener paddocks only a few short months ago. Not a day goes by that I don’t miss my gentle giant. Comforting hugs from his big, warm neck, his floppy lips and his thick, wavy forelock. I write this article to say thank you; Thank you for being my shoulder to cry on and my source of laughter. Thank you for being the kindest, most gentle soul. Thank you for your constant patience, even during the hard times and for your love through it all. Forever and a day would not have been long enough. Thank you to my Tyler and to every truly loved horse passed on.

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” -Winnie the Pooh