Monday, March 30, 2015


There is a process to grief/loss that is well documented.   For the last week, I've gone through a catalog of moments wondering if I did the right thing and then criticizing my choices, judging my worthiness as a partner/friend and owner. 

Sometimes, it's thinking that I should've spent that Sunday night brushing her shedding coat until it glistened brilliantly white and then, wondering if I did enough to ease her pain on that fateful Monday night

A Wise Woman called it Awfulizing...  wanting new pain to replace the old pain in an effort to rush through the pain.  The truth is...  all in good time. 

Red Hills 2015
The confirmation of the life's bittersweet reality came in the mail today.  I recieved the payment on her Sug's mortality policy.  The insurance company did not wonder if we did enough, loved her enough..  Nor did they question the severity of her injury and our subsequent decision to humanely end her suffering.  No, they gave me a check.

It's bittersweet... I have the money to find a new partner, but I would give it back if I could curry that coat white or yell at her for running like an idiot in her paddock or even, watching that big white buttocks galloping away.  It's bittersweet...  the next partner/friend will combine the best of Sugar with a little less diva and more snuggly pony.  It's bittersweet because I'm excited for the possibilities and so sad that it won't be with her.

In honor of my friend, I'm taking a small portion of the proceeds and sponsoring a fence or two this eventing season.  The first will be a stadium jumping fence at Groton House Farm Horse Trials.  It's appropriate to thank Sugar, for giving me so much material to write this blog, by giving back to the sport I love (and, she liked).

And Groton House was the start of my dance with dealing with fear and anxiety after a bad fall - The Tree Incident.  This makes me smile...

And if in celebration of her life, I kissed a kissable nose tonight in the shadow of her stall thinking, "All in good time!"

Monday, March 23, 2015


Oh I have many rules...
So, let me tell you some rules that I live by...  Use your blinker when you're making a turn.  Stop at Stop signs - that's what they're there for...  When appropriate, allow someone to merge particularly if it's a tough spot.  Don't text and drive.  Put the cell phone down and pay attention to traffic.  And, dear god, if you smoke, don't throw your butts out on the road - that's what ashtrays are for.
Phew, if we all played by my rules...  life would be so much better.  Well, it would for me!  ;-)

Three weeks and I am now entering the Bat Sh** Crazy (BSC) phase of recovery.  I want order in my life!  Somehow that has translated into, "I MUST HAVE A NEW HORSE!" 

Adventures with Friends
Gosh, I tried so hard not to get here.  I wanted to allow the universe to place the perfect pony into my path so that the two of us would ride and jump da jumps many years into the setting sun. 

Imagine the perfect partner and send it off to the Universe - big, sound, young with a heart of gold, game, spirited without histronics, who loved eventing and fox hunted.  He would be so happy to go on adventures with friends and also enjoy just being with me.  And, when I enter the barn, he would nicker his joy for what would be a thorough grooming and many treats.

Instead, 'I MUST HAVE A NEW HORSE!"  The desperation to fill that hole in my heart and to return to my orderly life spills into the search.   "Why can't the search features be better?"  "Why isn't your website updated?"  "Why must I check a so many websites?"  Why?  Why?  Why?  Until the WHY turns into whining about my fate... kind of sad and pathetic.  "First world problems!"
I would be sitting pretty if everything went my way!
I am so lucky that these are just First World Problems.  I have a job.  I can afford to feed, clothe and house myself and da boys.  I even can afford to have this "difficult' problem of finding a new partner.

The rules of my morning commute make me a safe driver.  Yet, what I really want is the old orderly life we led... evenings at the barn, lessons once a week, weekends adventures, the normalcy of future plans with my friend and partner.

All in good time...  All in good time! 

Thursday, March 19, 2015


I am what I am...  So many thoughts, so many emotions and I've been keeping the extent of them to myself...  My head says, "Uh, don't write that... folks don't want to read stuff like that."  And it says when I yearn to type more words, "Please, are you just looking for attention?  Are you waddling in sadness for an affect?" 

My heart softly pushes out that negativity and answers, "Tears will always have their day...  It's the secrets that you keep that hold the heart hostage.  To heal, you have to let go."

One of my blogging buddies (, also a Jersey Girl who loved her very own Sugar texted me today.  She suffered the loss of her beautiful and sainted mare back in August and asked me how I was doing.  And, she encouraged me to write, to get it out of my head until one day... the hurt doesn't feel so deep and the loss so lonely.

And, in the spirit of a "confessional" blog, I would be lying if I didn't say that it is all still so surreal.  Two weeks later, I can not believe that Sugar is no longer in my life.  Did it really happen?  I'm mostly ok.  Then the ache and emptiness actually feel physically painful.  Did it really happen?

Her necropsy came in and, there was no big surprise - right front superficial digital flexor tendon - acute rupture with associated hemorrhage and severe edema.  So, I ask you why was I so focused on the additional comment that her body score was 7/9 (fleshy).  "YOU'RE CALLING HER FAT?!!"

I immediately contacted the Bestest Eventing Buddy for a reality check.  If anyone can put this right, she can...  {{{mumbling to myself...  she weighed 1393 lbs which was less than the 1471 in March of 2014 and significantly less than the 1561 in June 2010... dear god, she wasn't fat!}}}

So, as only the BEB can do, the exchange goes like this:

BEB (Soothing Statement) - The funny thing is that she lost weight... she was way heavier last year. Probably just getting older - you know higher fat to muscle ratio.  Don't be bothered by it, she was happy to the end and that's all that matters.

BEB (Cause she can not resist):  Essentially - "Dear Suzanne,  Please accept our condolences on the loss of your beloved mare, Sugar.  By the way, she was fat.  Love Tufts.

ME:  I know, that is all I could read.  Thank god they put Oldenburg instead of the abbreviated OLD.  OLD and Fat would have killed me.

BEB (cause she can not help herself):  "So sorry for the loss of your OLD obese mare.  Please let us point out ALL the areas in which she was extra-fatty!"   And you should reply, "remember when I brought her in 5 years ago and she weighed 1534 lbs?  You said she looked great, and now, she's 150 lbs LIGHTER and you're calling her fat?  I CAN'T PLEASE YOU PEOPLE!  She's gone, can't you let her rest in peace???

The laughter in my office caused quite a stir.  Thank you BEB for making me laugh...  To Jersey Girl blogger for giving me voice and another thanks to Newbie Eventer for continuing send me your memories...  And, really to all of you for making me smile and the loving energy your thoughts, words, cards, texts and messages provide.  Thank you!  Thank you!

Thursday, March 12, 2015


Best view of GMHA ever!
I am a discombobulated mess.  My heart aches and I have moments of tears, some depression wrapped around numbness.  Yet, I feel totally at peace even when missing her most.  The thought came - the weekend is coming and I'm not sure what to do with all this free time...  it's confusing.  See, I am discombobulated... 

Then, my peeps - Best Eventing Buddy, New Barn Girl, Red Headed Girl, Sugar's Twenty Something Friend, Dressage and Eventing Trainers (and so many Eventing and FB friends) - tell stories about my lil' pinto pony that fill my heart and really make me laugh.  Sometimes the laughter is so hard and the stories so raucous that I feel guilt and throw in, "I really loved her!"

Adventures with Friends
Folks have been amazingly kind and supportive.  And for that I am extremely grateful...  And even that doesn't convey the depth of my gratitude.  It fills my heart with warmth.  Thank you!

I will miss looking through those ears.  I will miss thinking...  I should pull her unruly mane.  I will miss the adventures we had, the folks we met together and all the things I planned to do this year with her.

Those big mare ears - ever alert to danger (mostly percieved) and so eager to pose.  It was always funny to pull her off the trailer and see the recognition in her eyes.  At a show, check!  Hounds? Ok, hunting, check!  Who is my trailermate today?  Must be going to a hunter pace, going to gallop or just a romp with a friend.  God, I will miss looking between those ears!

My favorite - trail riding with
Da Boys
Will you get a new horse?  (Actually those that know me just ask when will I get a new horse.) 

Yes.  I am that spouse married for 50 years, devastated by the loss of the love of my life and then happily remarries 3 months later.  We were no less in love but cannot live without that special bond between horse and human.  Life would be so bleak without this world...

Into the morning sunrise
I am lucky.  What I had with Sugar was as special as she was.  I was not left trying to debate what to do because it was clear what needed to be done.  I am in no rush.  Well, I'm not personally shopping until April.  As much as I WANT to, it's hard to move on...  I am in no rush... YET!

So, feel free to look for me.  The criteria is broad - Big, Jumps Da Jumps and not Ugly.  (The Bestest Eventing Buddy feels that beautiful doesn't work for me.)  (Shhhh, if "not Ugly" is beautiful, that would be nice!)

Finally, thank you so much for your kind and loving words.  And for you folks who really knew her and told stories, it helped keep me sane.  Thank you.  Words can not convey my gratitude even if I try. Thank you!

Thursday, March 5, 2015


I once dated a guy, (ok, it was the third time we got back together and that's a longer jucier story not appropriate for this blog), who told me that all relationships end either in a break up, marriage or death.  If it wasn't marriage I wanted than we should expect a break up and ultimately everything ends with heartbreak.  (This wasn't the most postitive of minds but he offered some other cool attributes - again not for this blog.)

After a fit of outrageous laughter, I told him that there can be alot of time between dating - breakup or death.  And, in that time couldn't we just live in the moment and enjoy what we had right there and in the now?

Used w/permission
My greatest moment of fear is when the Barn Owner calls to tell you that your horse came in from turnout 3-legged lame.  Sugar sustained a career ending and life threatening injury Monday night.  She ruptured her Superficial Digital Flexor Tendon at the base of her knee which slid down her leg until is stopped at her fetlock.  She was in severe pain... to move she would rear back on to her hind legs and load the good leg and skip over. 

The treatment to get to the point where she might live safely in a pasture would be 12 months of stall rest, restricted movement and a battle to fend off founder (think Barbaro) and colic.  And, given her personality, she would need heavy tranquilizers to keep her quiet.

Used w/permission
When we returned just four hours after recieving the maximum pain meds, she still was in intense pain and could barely move.   Founder and colic were a very real threat!  We made the tough and heartbreaking decision to euthanize her assuring her peace and safety. 

I am so grateful for Sugar's vet, who has been with us for all of her trials and tribulations over the last 10 years.  Just last year, when Sug had a neck injury (another t/o incident), she insisted that Sugar come in first between 12 and 2 because she was going to kill herself if she didn't.  Ironically, the folks at the Lil' Country Barn were almost 100% successful at keeping her safe in turnout for a full day.

Kicking butt and taking names
used w/permission
God bless all you care givers... be it veterinarians or human providers.  For her strength and compassion were gifts on a rather bleak day.  The euthanasia was perfect...  Sugar quietly dropped to her knees and left the world. 

I am heartbroken.  Sugar was a once in a life time horse...  sometimes a snuggly lil'pinto pony and sometimes Mariah Carey in a major diva fit.  She gave me so much, taught me so much and I loved her with all my heart.  Yet, she was so white, so beautiful and held so much promise that our disappointments were so real.  I wouldn't change a thing but promise that I will not try to replace her.  She should be... unique.  I'm ok with that!

Right, this was supposed to be about living life in the middle and not the end.  I've picked a few of my favorite Sugar stories that tell so much about living and loving the middle of life.  Enjoy, if you're inclined:
There will be so many more stories to tell, some about her, alot about life and soon, the plain brown lil' boy who will jump all the jumps... all the time!

Thank you for your support and loving words... I find solace in that so many folks under stood this beautiful, wild thing that I loved so much!