Just before 7:00 am this morning, Her Highness, Queen Estes, decided it was time.
She colicked yesterday and tolerated being tubed, allowed me to give her banamine during the night, but this morning, she was done.
She allowed me to walk her out of the pen toward the trailer, with intentions of a quick trip around the block to see if we could get anything moving, but went down at the back of the trailer. That's when I knew I couldn't torture her any more.
Mom and I had a quick conference about where the best place to put her down would be - God, I hate having to deal with those details when faced with killing your own horse - and found a place.
Estes got back to her feet and said her goodbyes while I went to talk to Bill and have a quick conference on which caliber to use - again with the awful details. I had promised myself after her last colic that I would be the one to pull the trigger if she needed to be put down. She was my responsibility and I couldn't imagine allowing her to continue in agonizing pain while I waited for the vet to come up from Longmont, it would have easily taken him an hour to get here.
I got my gun out of the car and went to love her for a bit while she was still sort of feeling good. By good, I mean standing like a statue in one place and letting us love on her.
I sent Mom away to talk to a guest who was sitting on the porch. While Mom was gone, Estes went down again and rolled one eye at me, and very clearly told me, "I'm done." If I had asked her to get up, she would have. My crotchety old mare had a ton of heart, but it was time.
I had intended to wait until Mom was back, but when Estes looked at me like that, I had to do it. It was equal parts awful and a relief. I am okay with putting her down because she was in so much pain and there's no doubt that to wait would have been inhumane. But I feel like I just killed one of my children, and that's awful.
During our ride last week, I knew that we were beginning our "lasts". For every first, there's going to be a last, so I did my best to savor every moment with her. I had decided that this would definitely be her last year on the hill, but I was also planning new firsts for us as we continued life down on the plains.
Now that she's crossed the Rainbow Bridge, she can meet up with my all-time best dog, Jake and they can take care of each other in a place where there's no arthritis, colic or end-stage renal failure (Jake).