A couple of years ago I was hanging out with my horses when a friend called and I was telling her about this guy I hadn’t seen in 35 years who’d called me up out of the blue and asked me to lunch in LA. I told her I didn’t want to go as it was a long drive and I had no idea what this guy would be like after all these years.
She told me that I should go and at the same moment my youngest horse D’Artagnan pushed me in my back with his nose. I laughed and told her that I thought my he was agreeing with her and was telling me to go. At which point he nudged me again as if to say, “Duh, yes go Mom!”
I hung up the phone and said to D’Artagnan, “So you really think I should go all the way up to LA to meet this guy, do you?”. He looked at me for a moment and then shook his head up and down as if to say “Yes!”.
That lunch was my first date with my new husband Mark.
12 months later and my 3 horses and I had made the 2,650 mile journey from southern California to Maryland to all set up home together. When I asked the horses about the move, it was D’Artagnan who was the first one to get all excited, nod his head up and down again, and act like he was all for the decision.
Ultimately it was his joy and excitement that pushed my decision to agree to get engaged and move to Maryland. And as crazy as you may think I am, if any of my boys had seemed hesitant or I’d felt a “no” from them, I wouldn’t have done it.
Was it the right decision?
Absolutely! I have a new husband and my boys love the green, green grass here especially after the dryness of south Cali, even if the winter snows were a bit of a shock to them at first!
Last Sunday was typical of the joy we experience here. We had a fun day of walking around, grooming, playing, and I even managed to shoot a video for a new lesson. We had a great day and I tucked everyone in before returning to the house at around 5 pm.
The next morning, I went down to the barn at 8 am, walked in with a big smile as usual, happy to see my boys again only to be greeted by the sight of my beautiful D’Artagnan lying dead in his stall.
If you read my email from last week you will know that he had been suffering from a cold but the vet had been back out again on Saturday and declared D’Artagnan was doing great and back to his normal self.
And on Sunday he was running around, doing all his normal stuff, no fever, and eating and drinking just as always, so you can imagine my shock to see him lying there lifeless on Monday.
I immediately called the vet who rushed over. A preliminary examination revealed blood in his nostril and the vet thought D’Artagnan had probably suffered an aneurysm and dropped down dead on the spot by the way he was lying.
He said it may have even been a birth defect but either way, he reckoned it had probably happened in an instant without distress or pain. I hope I go that quickly.
So as painful as it is, with a heavy heart and buckets of tears I felt I had to tell you of the passing of my beautiful and precious D’Artagnan. He was not only my heart-horse but he was also a very special member of my family and this has been a devastating week for us.
I’ve never lost a horse before as Jazz is 32 and his son Apollo is 28 years old. I never in a million years thought that my 10-year-old would pass first.
You never know how much time you have, so we must cherish every moment with our nearest and dearest. Whether fur or flesh, they are all family to me, we are all one herd.
There is an old Scandinavian tradition of letting go of a passing soul and allowing them to be released and move on to the next place. It also is a gesture of letting in the soul to pass through the house and say goodbye to anyone there, along with bringing in fresh air from the outside and the promise of another day.
So when I got back to the house I opened up all the windows and doors to respect this tradition.
And then it hit me and I just sat down and wept and wept and wept.
I’m pretty sure I’d have still been there now if it wasn’t for an expected visitor who showed up a little while later.
A Yorkshire terrier I had never seen before came in the open front door and came right over to me wagging his tail, jumped in my lap and started licking my tears away.
It felt like a sign from D’Artagnan telling me he was ok and thanking me for all the love he’d received from me after I rescued him.
It definitely helped my heart a little. This little ball of fire and love was just what the doctor ordered.
Once I calmed down I realized that I needed to help him get home and so we went outside and started walking around the neighborhood in the hope that my little friend would find his way home.
About a mile from our house, he recognized his own house and ran as fast he could to his Mom who was thrilled to see him again as he’d never been outside the backyard before.
I was grateful too that somehow that little pooch knew I needed a hug and some reassurance and he came to my rescue. Returning the favor was the least I could do.
Looking back, I realize that even though I rescued D’Artagnan from an abusive situation and gave him a forever loving home, he also rescued me because without him I would never have gone for that lunch and never have moved to Maryland to be with Mark.
Horses get sold from person to person or traded off all the time just because they don’t do exactly what their human wants or because they lash out when their human doesn’t listen to them.
D’Artagnan was going to be put down because his human thought he was too dangerous to be around when all he was trying to do was communicate.
It just broke my heart to see what almost happened to this gentle, loving, and talkative horse and I don’t want to see that happen to any others.
D’Artagnan is the reason I decided to share my program online to reach more people around the world. I want to help more horses like him get the loving forever home and the best human partner they deserve.
I finished editing the video above using some of the footage I shot on Sunday as a way of taking my mind off the pain. It was originally intended to be part of a new introductory program I’m putting together but felt I had to share it with you as it so clearly demonstrates my love and bond with my D’Artagnan.
He was a blessing to me and my life in so many ways. He will be tremendously missed and always remembered.
I’m so sorry for your loss I feel you and my heart is so touched… My you walk in love with your memory of such an amazing horse
I’m sending my heartfelt condolences on your loss of your family member. Some people don’t understand the bond between an animal and their human. Life is fuller because on that bond.
Having recently lost my (Heart Horse) back in January, due to severe impaction colic . I was a river of tears reading your story about D’Artagnan.
I have two other horses and I am finding I am now their glue since Miss Mae passed away. She was their glue . The day after she passed away a moose kept coming into my yard ( I live in canada and in the country ) haha if the moose didn’t give that away 😉 . But right after mae passed this large female moose kept coming into my yard and hanging out close to me. Which is sometimes scarry because moose are HUGE. I call her my “Mae moose “, and there is so much comfort in that. I want to believe, my girl came back as a moose to comfort me . I have seen her everyday and even in my horse’s field.
Moose are typically scared and timid and they hide. Not this one! I was having such bad nightmares all the time to, and one day I dreamt about Miss mae and she was standing so peaceful and calm, the sun hitting her coat, making her dappled and shiny. She had Moose ears in my dream . I remember feeling so at ease and peaceful . Since that dream which was about a month ago , I have not seen my “Mae moose” at all. I think that was her way of comforting me and telling me she is just fine.
I Just wanted to share . I hope you can find peace with the passing of your heart horse too ! Big hugs from my herd to yours.
This is the first article of yours I’ve read. I had just come back in from standing with my horses, having a huge, let-down cry with them, at the impending loss of my beautiful little rescue mare who is advancing fast with dsld.
Thank you for sharing your heart with us, and I’m so sorry for your loss. ?
Heart breaking to hear that D’Artagnan has gone. I feel your pain ?
Thank you for the raw honesty of your posts – from the video footage it is clear you have a wonderful bond with your horses. It’s only in the latter years of my life that I have started to see animals as the magical, caring companions they can be. As you emphasize in all your posts, it’s about taking time out to allow them to talk to us. Much sympathy the loss of your companion.
My deepest sympathy for your loss of your beautiful boy. I hope one day the memories will bring smiles instead of tears.
Thank you everyone for your kind and thoughtful responses and your genuine, heart felt understanding. It has helped me get through the last few days and is truly appreciated.
So sorry for your loss. You and your horses are an inspiration to me and are showing me a whole new way of being with a horse
Vale D’Artagnan run wild magnificent horse..
Sending lots of hugs
Thank you for trusting enough to share this story with all of us ?
Thank you Kate. All the outpouring support has meant so much to me. <3
I am so so sorry for your loss! I am glad he went quickly and painlessly! Losing a horse is horrible.
Beautiful video. They truly love you. I had to put a dog down yesterday. I’m feeling very sad.
So sorry for your loss as well. I know how hard it is.
Oh my… Thank you for sharing… Reminds me of when I was sitting on the stairs shopping for our horse that I found in the same state many many years ago. I have never forgotten that day. I’m glad dartanian was blessed to spend his years with you and that you rescued him. I’m glad he blessed you as well.
So sad But he was loved right to the end
So sorry for your loss he was beautiful. They come into our lives for a reason of that I am sure. Beautiful memories ♥️♥️♥️♥️ ??
Thank you so much for sharing about D’artagnan….he was beautiful and he knew he was loved! I lost my first hearthorse about 2 1/2 years ago on a Christmas morning. It was so hard to get over…. but. I now have 5 horses and I have a good relationship with each although one is specially bonded with me….they are all special and they are my life. Losing them is the hardest part of it all. I know one day it will happen again and one will pass , but in the meantime I pledged to love each one and be there forever person. I think there is so much truth in what you are saying about their communication. We just have to listen close to hear them.
Oh Teddie, I’m sorry I just read this. My heart goes out to you. I lost my heart horse last September. It was a hard pill to swallow. I still weep for him Sending you hugs and prayers
Really sorry to hear about your youngest Teddie. Sending love ? xxx
I’m very sorry for your loss ♥
Just 3 weeks ago I lost my love, my all and everything after 37 years.
And it was my stallion Asori, who came to me, standing head to head with me, as if he wanted to tell me, that he knows about what happened to my love.
Asori knew that I needed help and was there in the right moment ♥
Thank you, Andrea. I am so sorry for your loss. They are blessings from heaven that help us in so many special ways. <3
Aww, such a powerful story, Teddie. Wow. How special that you rescued him and he died a much treasured and loved horse.
Teddie, this is the first time I have seen this . Your incredible bond with D'Artagnan is so inspiring – I want that!! What unbearable heartache to lose him that way! It is how I lost my Folly too, just the same – happy and healthy in the morning, and two hours later lying dead in the field. Unknown reason in her case, but gratitude for what she taught me over so many years of seeking a closer and closer connection. If only I had had your counsel and guidance during those years! I am so glad you made this video and wrote this story, Unforgettable.
I am so pleased Mark reposted this post so I could see the beautiful video of your special horses at the time. Hard to believe they have all passed on now. How is Merlin doing?