Monday, September 27, 2010


Sometimes it feels like I just get over grieving for one animal, when we lose another one. I know you must think I live in an animal cemetery given the number of animals we bury. And yes, most of them rest here in their earthen plots. They all have their own stone markers.... it is a peaceful place. I love them all, and I hate hate hate hate hate this part of my life where I have to say goodbye to my sweet friends. But I'll never stop loving and never stop rescuing because of it. Charlie says (and I so agree), the goodness of our helping animals and the joy in our lives because of it so outweighs this pain we feel when we lose one.

Sweet Earl. Earl the Pearl. Uncle Earl. Earl...aka Baby Huey. I believe he is nine this year. My how time flies. Earl was born at Ararat Acres. One of the few furry family members that has that distinction. He was born with a club foot, a structural deformity, that while not immediately life threatening, was a definite future threat to a long life.

See, there is this old saying: No hoof, No horse. Beginning when he was just a foal, we started managing Earl's condition. He wore glue on shoes (because his feet were too small for regular horseshoes) for probably a year. His structural defect lead to bouts of laminitis (for more info on that, click here) which got worse and uglier every year. Summers have been the hardest. Inevitably, he would abscess on a front hoof. We would go thru (every summer) a month of wrapping, soaking, doctoring, changing stall bedding (for he had to become an indoor horse during this time), etc. I can make the best duct tape horse boot on the planet.

Earl has been ever so patient with all of this, although he sorely misses his friends as he spends his days in isolation. This summer has been the worst. His episodes of pain have been so obvious. Clearly, we have been fighting a losing battle with a structural deformity that has finally gotten the best of all of us.

Regarding the Obvious (that was his APHA name). Earl. My mom always thought we had named him after my Great Uncle Earl. I never had the heart to tell her differently. We give all the boys their barn names of country music singers. Earl = Earl Thomas Connelly, Earl Scruggs, Robert Earl Keen, Goodbye Earl (that was actually a Dixie Chicks song, and our Earl was a much nicer person than the one the song referred to).

Sweet Earl. Always quick to befriend a new horse. Even Donkey Boy.

Earl. My problem child who frequently found unique ways to hurt himself. Doesn't every mother have one?

A redhead, our Earl. Being a lightskinned sorrel paint means sunglasses and protection for the sunburn prone areas. I am an expert on prevention of sunburn on horses now because of him.

Earl. Who was so sweet with all the foals we've had. We never had to worry that he would hurt them, despite their youthful antics. Frequently, he would join in their "reindeer" games. A great babysitter, our Uncle Earl, during weaning season.

Young Earl, who managed to almost scalp himself by running into a wood fence when he was less than a month old. He lay with his head in my lap while tears ran down his face. It hurt, I could tell it hurt as we waited for the vet to come sew him up. Proof that horses do cry.

We called him "one of the girls" simply because he was the only guy in the pasture, and he was good friends to all of them. Don't we all know a guy like that :).

He only unseated one of us one time.....( it was Charlie)....and when you step on a live electrical wire, it's only natural to buck, right?

Have you ever been licked across the face by a horse? No? Well, you should have spent some time with Earl. He was loveable like that.

Soft peppermints. Yes, it's wrong to give a horse too many sweets, but he sure does like them on occasion.

Sweet Earl. You were a tall man with a big heart. You are missed by all of us and you are loved.

March 2001 - September 2010


  1. Oh sweet sweet Earl, I just told Laurens the other day, while we were looking at your picture in my USA scrapbook, how sweet you are! Goosebumps all over again....
    Say hello to all the friends at the other side of the rainbowbridge.

    And for you my dear friends, we give you a big virtual hug to help you cope with this big loss again.

    All the love....

  2. I could tell that you were not feeling well today and I am incredibly sorry for your loss is very hard for me to see somebody as sweet as you feel so sad.

    I know you had been worried about Earl for awhile and just now saw your post. Earl was a very sweet horse, I feel lucky to have met him even for such a short while.

    I found this little poem online for you:

    Somewhere in time's own space
    There must be some sweet pastured place
    Where creeks sing on and tall trees grow
    Some paradise where horses go,
    For by the love that guides my pen
    I know great horses live again.
    ~Stanley Harrison

  3. I can't believe you lost Earl. I thought he had made it through the hard part for another year. I'm so sorry. This has to be so hard. My heart goes out to you.

    How is Donkey Boy taking it? This has to be hard for him too. Hugs to you, my friend.

  4. Oh my gosh, I just read this and Maria also told me about Earl this morning... I'm so, so, SO sorry to hear of your loss of Earl!! My heart goes out to you both! I hope Elvis is managing the emptiness of his pasture with minimal distress. Hopefully Donkey Boy sneaks in often to keep him company.

    You are both always in my thoughts and my heart.

  5. Ok, wasn't thinking straight... I KNOW Earl didn't live with Elvis!!! It's been one of those days... That's what happens to me when I try to think, cry and type at the same time :-(

  6. Liz, I'm so sorry - just read your post tonight. I've been trying to find the right words to say (for the past hour)...but, I realize no words I write tonight can fill the void in your heart. I understand completely. I know your pain....I also know that with time, the tears will lessen and the love and happy memories will once again flow through your heart. Your critters all know the love you have for them...and they give their trust to you. And knowing you, I know you made the right decision for Earl....their trust is well placed. Our thoughts are with you and Charlie.
    Mike and Kat