Author: Aimee Robinson

I received that same call. The call saying, “I think your horse is showing signs of colic.” All the emotions I felt just a year ago came rushing back to me.

My hazard lights were flashing, speeding to the barn and away from Milwaukee, hoping we could save her again. But deep down knowing, without surgery, these would be my last moments with Mercedes.

I pulled into the barn with a tear-stained face running to her side. The owner of the barn was walking her in a circle, trying to loosen her gut. I looked in Sadie’s eyes, and I told her “You’re going to make it. You’re so brave, and you are so strong.” But deep down, I knew this was a fight she wasn’t going to win. This would be my last night with her. Fourteen hours away from our home in a strange barn, so far from our family.

The vet had gave her all the medicine he could, and he said the last thing we could do is to trailer her on a bumpy road to try to shake her, wake her up and try to untwist her intestines. The vet told me if the ride didn’t settle her down, there was nothing left to do. We would have to put her to sleep. I backed my truck to the trailer and prayed to God. “Please let her live. Please let us make it through this night.” The red taillights of my truck in the dark night gave me chills, and an eery feeling came over me.

We made it fifteen minutes in the trailer until I felt the truck jerk backward, and the trailer was swaying sideways. She was going down, and there was nothing I could do about it but pray and pray louder. I could hear her hooves stomping the floor of the trailer. I cried and screamed my prayers like He wasn’t listening to me. Tears poured down my face like rain.

I barely made it back to the barn. I pulled the ramp down, and she flew out of the trailer and immediately starting rolling. Her body made a loud thump on the ground, a sound I will never forget. Almost pulling me down with her, I tried so hard to pull her up. I couldn’t do it. I screamed and screamed, “Please, please get up!” And she just laid down, kicking and flailing, hooves pounding the outside wall of the barn.

The vet ran and got the shot. The shot that would take away my best friend, the absolute best horse a girl could have. She laid her head in my lap as a calmness set over her. I rubbed her cheek with my hand, teardrops falling on her face, as I told her I loved her, and I would see her again some day. I felt her stop breathing, and my body let out a wail I didn’t know existed inside me, and it echoed throughout the barn.

I cried into the arms of a woman I barely knew, feeling so alone in this state. I told Mercedes all the time it was just her and I. Together, away from home, we would always make it if we had each other.

We started the morning off with the best ride we’ve ever had. Playing in the pastures as our hair blew in the wind, a feeling of freeness settled over us both. She got four apple treats today; she was such a sweet girl. As I hopped out of the saddle, she put her head in my arms, and it felt like she was hugging me.

They will come and take her away tomorrow, and all I will have left to bury at our home farm is hair from her forelock and tail. But, I know I will have memories of her to last a lifetime.

“No heaven can heaven be, if my horse isn’t there to welcome me.”

Join us in the fight to stop equine colic. Learn about what you can do, and how to get involved.

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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