Author: Tracey, Top Flite Farm

I met A Clever Way To Go, aka C.Bean as a two year old. She was a young race horse and I had just been hired to breeze her for her owner. The moment I met her something passed between us and I knew my life would never be the same again.

C.Bean raced for 2 years, and when her owner finally decided to sell her I bought her two days later. Neither of us would return to the track again.

She was always fiesty and full of herself, some even called her dangerous. But C.Bean was never that way with me. We forged a bond that lasted through sickness and health, triumph and failure, good days and bad. When I would turn her out, C.Bean would never leave my side. If I ran, she ran. If I stopped she did the same. If I rolled in the grass she literally did the same.

When people came near me when I was with C.Bean, she would pin her ears and snap her teeth. Always protecting me, always guarding me, telling the world I was hers and she was mine. Together we had success and failure. She taught me early on to ” go big or go home,” and she gave me the gift of patience. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that when I kissed C.Bean good night on April 10, 2011 that it would be the last night I would spend with my most precious friend and partner.

Three weeks earlier, I had turned C.Bean out to play in the paddock. As usual I was in there with her ( I couldn’t leave her out without me). She had an “I feel good mom” moment and jumped into the air to buck and squeal. When she landed she lost her balance and dove face first into the dirt and sand. Immediately I knew C.Bean had done major damage.

We walked up into the barn and called the vet. C.Bean had fractured her carpal bone in her left knee. It was displaced and fragmented. She was not a candidate for surgery as she had been retired from work for the last several years do to various leg problems. Racing had taken its toll on her and I had made the decision to let her live out her days as my trail partner and pasture pal. My vet and long time friend said it wasn’t her favorite bone to break but she had seen horses heal from it and it was only fair to give C.Bean a chance! So we did.

I spent many nights in C.Bean’s stall and rarely left her for the first week. Then things started looking up. She was bearing weight, eating every bit of hay and most of all, happy and herself again. She was winning! In my mind C.Bean was going to come through this as she did everything else and I wasn’t going to lose hope.

Temperatures had been sitting in the 40’s and 50’s for days. On April 10 we hit 80 degrees, sunny and warm. I gave C.Bean a sponge bath in her stall, as she was on strict rest. I made sure she was drinking and eating and most importantly that her gut motility was good. She was bright eyed and bushy tailed when I kissed her good night.

On Monday April 11th, I got a frantic call at 10 am telling me C.Bean was colicking and to get there fast.

I was 45 minutes away but somehow made it there in 20. As usual, she waited for me. As soon as she saw me, she let out a low knicker and collapsed, thrashing and moaning in pain. She was banging her head into the wall and at one point cast herself. We would get her up only to have her collapse again. I couldn’t find a vein to even give her Banamine. She was covered in sweat from head to toe and I was powerless to help her.

When the vet got there, she palpated and found that C.Bean had twisted her intestine and colon. In no uncertain terms she was telling us she was done. She was ready to move on and cross the rainbow bridge. I needed to find the strength to let her.

I stayed with her until the very end. She passed in my arms, all the while hearing how much I loved her. I had made a promise the day I bought her that I would keep her until her dying day and she had promised to love me unconditionally. We both kept our promise.

It was a 70-degree, cloudy, and rainy day – but for a brief moment the sky opened up and a bright ray of sun popped out. A few seconds later it was gone. I knew then C.Bean made it to heaven. As I look back over the last 12 years together, she was not only my partner, but my friend and companion. She was 3 days away from her 15th birthday when I lost her. C.Bean will forever be missed but never forgotten.

The Crusade Against Equine Colic is a movement empowering all horse people to learn how to reduce our horses’ risk for colic – and to share that knowledge with fellow equestrians.

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