Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider

Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider
Click on Logo (Original artwork by Lanie Frick for Messick Quarter Horses. Not permitted to be copied)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Finny and Indian Caves

Yesterday, I had to write part of the following on my friend Tammy's website Horsetales.

I had a great ride today. I had put Finny into a mechanical hackamore the last 2 weeks. We were working on some chomping the bit issues, etc. He was riding great at home! We went to Indian Caves yesterday. After check in, I rode for about an hour, just Finny and I. He was mister calm, and rode around like he does at home. I blanketed last night, and this morning was a little chilly, but no snow or rain!!! We rode 20 miles, had great obstacles, did well at P&R's. After the 2nd P&R, we had 4 miles to camp, and since we were way ahead of time, we mostly walked in, with a little trotting. No changes. He did great all day. Finny even wanted to stop and graze on the way to camp. But, at camp, he wanted to lay down even before I got the saddle off. Strange, since the only time he rolls is when I turn him out to pasture after a ride. He was off. After a little water, very little hay, a little bit of grain with some water on it, he wanted to lay down again, all within 10 minutes of the first time. Then within another 10 minutes, it was apparent that something was wrong. At that time, the vet judge was coming to trailers, and she was there to help with Finny. We got some banamine and another muscle relaxant into him, and it only took the edge off. With friends helping, while Finny was being helped, hay bags and water buckets were put into my trailer, I was already hitched, the trailer was pulled onto the road, and Finny was loaded. He needed to see a vet. I made the hard decision, in 15 minutes, to not try for colic surgery but get vet care. I trailered to the vet clinic near me, but it was too late. The vet said that nothing would have helped. Finny was twisted near the rectum, and the vet said it probably happened during the ride, since he was uncomfortable at the very end of the ride. The vet says that can happen, that guts can twist any time. Finny was already in too much pain, and I put him down. Go hug your horse tomorrow. You really never know. I was having an awesome day, but Dear God, when does the hurting stop?
I'm thanking you now for your thoughts and prayers, as I don't think I'll be able to respond for a few days. I'm having a hard time tonight.

I was able to talk to a few people. Very few. I can’t believe how bad I hurt. I can’t believe how tired my brain is right now. I feel terrible. A friend who knows horses well and understands all about pharmaceuticals, told me that I could not have seen this coming, or have prevented it. He was not stressed during the ride. His P&R and metabolic check was great just an hour before finishing the ride. The day was cold out and he didn’t sweat and become over heated.
I knew as soon as I got back to the trailer that something was wrong. He wanted to lay and roll. That wasn’t like him. He didn’t roll until he was turned out. He wanted to go keep going down. This wasn’t looking good. He got very bad very quickly. Drugs didn’t help him. I knew this wasn’t going to be good. He was in distress and help was almost 2 hours away. I prepared for the worse, hoping and praying for a good ending. As soon as I opened the trailer door, I knew. He didn’t have that death look, but he had been down and struggling. He got up, he walked with me. He walked with me to the exam. He walked with me outside. He walked with me to where he would go to sleep. He laid down easily, and I said goodbye. I tried to close his eyes. I was able to save his tail. We covered him up. I turned to my husband and cried. I started to shut out the emotions as I had to drive home. Emotions opened back up that night. My heart felt like it was breaking in two.
I have to believe this happened during the ride for some unforeseen and unbelievable reason. I have to believe that this just happened.

Tonight, I emailed my friends to thank them:
From the bottom of my heart, thank you! For your kind words, thoughts, prayers. I am better today, but very, very sad. I cried myself to sleep last night, poor Tom. He is definitely my rock. I woke up with a headache at 5:30, took some tylenol and slept until 8:30. Each of your words are healing my heart and giving me a reason to go on. TV, if you ever doubt whether this group is worth having because there is not much talking on it, don't ever go there again. The first posts made me cry harder, and I had to turn the computer off last night. This morning, I was able to read but stilled cried. Tonight, I can read without crying, then I was able to re-read everything and read what people were actually telling me. I am feeling better only because I had all of you out there, helping me in my pain, confusion, guilt, questions. I needed people who understand, and like some of you said, we understand because we have gone through this. I didn't think a heart could feel so bad. My heart was breaking last night. Going to bed was the hardest. That is when everything hit me like bricks. Dear God, I hurt so bad. Today, I didn't do chores this morning, and I made Tom take me to town this afternoon, to get away. My head cleared and I could do chores tonight. But I really couldn't talk or watch the horses. I wasn't ready to think anymore about Finny. I am mentally exhausted tonight, to the point of no thought process, so maybe that is why I can type this now. I was able to tell my sons tonight without crying. I still can't bring myself to actually talk to my daughter about Finny, I could only text her. Terri, your words were so insightful and I appreciate them. TV, thanks for what you said about what Finny was to me. To all of you, you all have made me feel a little less sad. I don't know what will happen next, but I know we all have each other.
Thanks for being our friend, Brenda and Finny

I can think about Finny now. I really don’t want to do anything with the other horses yet. I did ask my husband if he thought we had plans for Duke, our stud. I had planned on gelding him last year, and then this spring, but thought we might want to have babies again. I’m thinking about gelding him and riding him. I have always loved his lope. He is Finnys’ older half brother. But I need to wait until my heart is there. I need to be fair to both Finny and Duke.

I will, sometime, figure out the reason that this happened. Maybe there isn’t a reason why, maybe I will just understand why. I hope I will be able to go on and help someone with what I learn.

Thanks for being my friend, Finny. We have had some awesome rides together. I miss you so much already. I was, and will always be, your riding buddy. My heart aches for you, and for what happened to you. I am so sorry that you suffered. I hope I was a comfort during your last half hour.

I wish you could come along on the next ride with me. I pray that you will always be with me in spirit.


Tammy said...

You know I loved Finny and I feel your loss. Hoping the good memories will help your heart heal. Interesting, I didn't know Duke was 1/2 sibling. Same dam?

Horses are our Lives said...

I know. I'm crying again. I didn't think that re-reading my post this morning would make me sad, but it does. I think now it's setting in. He's gone.

Yes, Finny and Duke had the same mother. Definately different personalities too. I have been thinking of gelding Duke for a few years now, so at least I know this won't be a decision made out of agony only.

I'm glad that I have friends like you that have wonderful memories of Finny too.


gretchen said...

yup, you are making me cry again too!!!!

Finney was such a good boy. I loved his clowning personality and how he would be such a goof sometimes, but how he could collect up so pretty for you! And his rocking horse lope was incredible!

He was blessed to have you, just as you were blessed to have him. He lived a GOOD life and he was lucky to have you there at the beginning AND at the end!

hang in there

Horses are our Lives said...

This morning seems to be harder than yesterday morning. Reality is setting in. I look outside and wonder if I should ride, then realize Finny isn't here to ride. Then that makes me cry again. I'm just blah....

txtrigger said...

When word came through camp about the loss of Finny, I went over and hugged Hank hard, and cried. It reminded me how quickly things can happen. How colic can hit any horse, at any time. I thanked God for the second chance with Hank, and prayed for you and Finny. I wish I could say something to help with your pain. One of the greatest gifts we have for our animals, is the ability to help them when they are in need, even when our own heart will be shattered. I am so, SO sorry.

Horses are our Lives said...

txtrigger, thanks so much for your thoughts and kind words. Thank you for reminding me that it is my gift to him to help him when he needed it. I know many have gone through this tragedy, and yes, hearts are shattered. Thank you for thinking about Finny and I.


Messick Quarter Horses

Check out my website at:

Lessons, Training and Horse Sales
E-mail me at

Messick Tack & Feed

Messick Tack & Feed
website will be up soon! Click on logo to see current specials!