If you follow me on social media at all then you already know this, but a couple days ago we lost Gemma.

It is, to be totally frank, wholly devastating. Losing a horse always is, and it’s the worst part of loving them. It seems especially awful when it happens so suddenly, without warning, like a complete sucker punch out of nowhere. Just a few weeks ago we had a discussion thread in the Patreon group about who we were going to breed her to this year, and now all the sudden… here we are. As Bekah so succinctly put it, “it isn’t just the loss of a good mare, it’s the loss of dreams”.

I won’t get into a lot of detail here because to be honest it was very traumatic and I don’t think most of you really want to hear it, but the short version is that she had a very nasty and severe colic. I found her down at breakfast (she had been totally fine at night check the night before) already in severe distress. It was very clear that there was no saving her and we had to make the humane decision to end her suffering.

Initial necropsy results show that she had a severe epiploic foramen entrapment. Surgery would have been the only option (which she wasn’t a great candidate for) and likely still wouldn’t have ended well – the tissue was already starting to die. Her odds for surviving even the actual surgery itself would not have been great and her risk for complications would have been high. It does help a little bit to know (and have several vets say) that our decision was the right one, because we all know how terrible of a decision that is to have to make.

Our time with Gemma was heartbreakingly short, but she left her mark on us none-the-less. She will always be the sweetest, funniest, hardest-trying little chestnut mare I’ve ever met, and I will always remember how brave and smart she was, and how it was impossible to give her a treat without at least a couple fingers ending up in her mouth. And I’ll definitely miss hearing her bellowing impatiently at me from across the farm when she demanded food and/or wither scratches.

Despite how it ended I feel like it was an honor to be her person and a privilege to know and love her. Rest easy, clever girl.

22 thoughts on “Gemma

  1. I awoke this morning to the sad news of Gemma’s suffering and passing. You and your associates have my deepest sympathies. You were as blessed to have her for a short time as she was to have you. I will be going back to reread some of your posts about her and your recent adventures together and with the other ponies. May the hole in your heart fill with joy every time you are reminded of her. ♥️


  2. I’m so sorry about Gemma. There is something so traumatic about colic. I’m still raw about losing my boy last week (planned) but it was the traumatic loss of Batt 3 years ago that still haunts me. Gemma will be greeted by 3 chestnuts over the rainbow bridge or wherever the pastures are greener. ((Hugs))


  3. I’m so sorry for your loss. The out of the blue ones seem to hit us the hardest, even when you know you made the right decision for them. She was so lucky to have you as her owner. I lost one the same way and it is traumatic, heartbreaking and a shock to your system. May the great memories you have of your time together make the loss a little easier.


  4. The loss of a horse is so bitter. They take a piece of our heart when they go but they also leave a little piece of theirs with us. If it helps, we all understand the depth of your sadness. Hugs to you.


  5. Really upset for you all as that is a terrible way to lose them (Not that anyway is good but still). Hugs to all who will accept them! Remember the good times with her she was really so nice and maybe God needed a nice chestnut mare to ride!


  6. My heart is breaking for you… Gemma was such a lovely, lovely mare and she was so, so lucky to have you has her person after her track life.


  7. I was excited when I saw the “Gemma” title of the post, to catch up with this sweet lady… I’m tearing up at the news and the decision you had to make… I’m so sorry!!


  8. Again I am so very sorry for your loss. That is how it happened with our big draft gelding and it was utterly devastating. My heart goes out to you, Hilary and everyone who was lucky enough to know her. Pretty girl. 😦


  9. I saw your social media posts, and am just so gutted about this. Something about her drew me in; maybe my soft spot for mares, or her keen eye. Hard to say. I’ve lost two in the last three years, and despite it being from old age, it was a heartbreaking loss. I am so sorry that you had to lose her, and more so in such an awful way. Many virtual hugs to you.


  10. I am so very, very sorry for your loss of Gemma. I’m sure all of us who read your blog have lost a horse who was dear and special, so we know the heartbreak and hate that you’re feeling it. She truly was such a beautiful girl. She also was very blessed to have had the best care and much love while in your hands. Rest in peace, sweet Gemma.


  11. I’m so sorry to hear this. I agree, that would have been a tough surgery and a tough recovery from surgery, that is not a “simple” colic surgery like an impaction or a displacement. So horrible to lose her so early, she really was lovely.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s