Okay, this one hurts like hell. Tonight we had to put our seven year old Arabian mare Hannah down. She somehow managed to break her left front leg badly enough that there was bone portruding through the skin; the bone itself was shattered. We got there, with Evan in tow, just before the vet arrived to send Hannah on her way as humanely as possible, and she was still standing up as best she could, still trying to graze, like nothing happened. Evan patted her on the nose, and she gave a contented snort, even though she had to be in a fantastic amount of pain.
My wife hand-picked a stallion to breed Shel Hannah (Hannah’s mom) to in 2000, and Hannah herself arrived in 2001. From the moment her hooves hit the ground, Hannah was the sweetest, calmest horse who ever lived on the family farm. She had a brief bout with a respiratory problem when she was only a week or two old, which nearly killed her. In the week leading up to her birth, and for the week or so that she was sick, my wife was practically living in the barn with Hannah and Shel. It’s no lie to say that we invested everything in that breeding (as well as a Sultry breeding that wasn’t carried to term), but Hannah’s sweet disposition made spending all that time with her easy. (Here’s some video of Hannah and Shel showing off in June 2001.) When Hannah herself was expecting a foal in 2006, my wife camped out in the barn then too; the little guy who emerged was every bit as sweet as Hannah was, but he had cracked a rib just trying to come into the world and died a week later. (I camped out for the week that he was with us, caring for him almost around the clock.)
We hadn’t bred Hannah again, and her bloodline was fairly unique; we always planned to, but the money just wasn’t there, and obviously when Evan came along, priorities changed. I’m ashamed to admit that I can’t even find a photo of her that’s more recent than 2006. I’ve seen her every weekend that I’ve gone up to feed horses (read that as simply “every weekend”), but just haven’t taken any recent pictures.
For anyone who knows anything about horses, and especially Arabians, Hannah was just about perfect. Her carriage was just off-the-scale perfect, and it came naturally to her – she wasn’t showing off, she actually ran like that. We never put her in a show, and I wish now that we had. We came close to selling her a few times, but it never quite panned out, but I never once imagined that we’d have her for so short a time, or that she’d live her entire life on this farm. I never thought it would end like this and I’m having some trouble with that. Deja vu – I’m really getting to hate December: Iago, Sultry, and now Hannah.
Hannah was our own little miracle. She wasn’t a horse that we bought from someone else; she was custom-made just for us. And I doubt I’ll ever meet a horse as gentle as her again. Good night, sweet girl…you’ll always be our little Hannah.
Some pictures follow for anyone who wants to see ’em.
A day old in 2001; here she is sticking close to her mom.
Unlike humans, horses start walking within about 24 hours of birth; here’s Hannah seeing how her steering and suspension handle.
This is Hannah at maybe all of a year old, if even that, sometime in 2002.
Hanging out with Xecutive Decision (with long stripe down his nose) in 2002.
Chowing down on hay late in 2004.
Chowing down with her mom, Shel Hannah, in September 2005.
Again with Mileka, both of them hugely pregnant, April 2006. Hannah is, of course, chowing down.
Checking on her newborn colt in May 2006.
We didn’t realize at the time that he was critically injured just coming out of his mother, and he only lived a week.
Chowing down with Mileka, June 2006.
Hannah, as you see, loved chowing down. 😆