Those of you who have followed my blog may have met my 5-year-old pinto Teddy. I’ve posted a few photos and blogs about him over the past 1 1/2 years and featured some of our adventures as Teddy has grown and matured since I purchased him as a yearling.
Well, I had to say good-bye to my beloved horse last week. After several months of unexplained neurological degeneration and some of the best veterinarians in the country working on his case, Teddy just couldn’t be saved. Even with two trips to the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center in Virginia—one of the country’s best equine hospitals—and many diagnostic tests, the reason for Teddy’s illness remained a mystery.
My veterinarian did discover a probable cause of his neurologic issues after the necropsy (the equine equivalent of an autopsy), but we are still awaiting the pathology results to confirm the findings. If they come back positive, I will have a lot more to say about his demise.
In any case, I lost my horse well before his time.
I’ve included a few of my favorite photos of Teddy in this post, from his hunter breeding career to his early adult years. I’m very fortunate that my dear friend and artist Linda Luster had started a portrait of him in June before his health failed. I look forward to hanging Teddy’s painting in a place of honor in my home after it’s finished, so I will always have him with me. I’ll cherish the four years I spent with him, but I know there was so much more we could have enjoyed and accomplished.
Owning a horse really isn’t like “owning” another creature. Although I supported his upkeep and training for many years, we were more like partners in our journey. I will always fondly remember the many hours we spent together just hanging out, when I would simply hold the lead-line while he grazed in the field and imagine all of the future adventures we would share.
I was the first person to jump him, the first person to show him under saddle and his biggest fan, but he often led the way. Teddy had an opinion and didn’t hesitate to share it with me. I like to think we had a special understanding and respected one another, which means more than any ribbons we could have won.
I’ve always felt uncomfortable with the term RIP when offering solace after one has passed on. Instead, I hope Teddy isn’t resting in peace somewhere. I want to imagine that he’s galloping over beautiful fields, soaring over whatever obstacles he encounters and reveling in a body that works perfectly without injury or disease. In fact, when I close my eyes that’s the Teddy I will always remember.