After doing an autopsy Tuesday before noon, the vet said the cause of death was diaphragmatic hernia. Don’t ask me. Just Google it. Imagine that happening to you. Or a loved one.
Would have been hard or impossible to know that before the fact. Nothing I or anyone could have done. I never noticed any loss or breath or difficulty breathing. Heiric was running and strong until the end.
Nothing, unless we could have caught it at the get-go by preventing the hernia. But it could have happened a week ago, three years ago, or before birth. I do not know. They can start small, the vet said, stay that way for years, then not become traumatic until they are suddenly terminal.
If I could have moved the world to save my horse, I would have. I was powerless.
Things like this make you appreciate and understand the ancient stories about Death. We would trade half our soul, or all our soul, to give back a loved one life and have them with us. Or of situations in movie, where someone trades their life so a loved one can live.
He was 18 years old, not yet 19. I do not know his birthday. Years ago, I tried to find out, but the man I bought Bey Heiric from had gotten really sick, and his “caretakers” were careless and inconsiderate in keeping up with the man’s business. They did not respect the man and his property, and do their jobs, as they should have.
Heiric and I became a herd in 2000.
Most years, I would go out a few times a week to see him, three times or five times, but, for the past few years, Heiric and I would see each other every single day, almost without exception.
He loved to rub against me when I first went out there to see him. I would open his stall door, and he would rub his head against me. As he did that, I would rub his neck. He rubbed hard. Sometimes, I’d have to hold on to a wall or brace my fee against the floor or he’d push me over. First thing, before I did anything else, I always said hi to him.
He had total trust in me. I would walk up to him when he was in a pasture, say “come. come.” then turn around and walk toward his stall. He would follow, right into his stall. I did not touch him. I did not use a lead rope. I did not grab his halter. He followed. That’s respect I earned with love and leadership, not the fake respect that fear brings.
He would not always follow. If he had not been out long enough, he would protest at the injustice. He would not follow me or he would run away. “More grass! More freedom!” I’d have to chase him a little till he saw I was set in my mind, then he would follow. Sometimes I’d be in a hurry, and I’d gently lead him along by his halter.
Years ago, he even once tried to follow me into a barn’s lab/kitchen. One of the managers there got mad at me, but I did not ask that of him. He followed of his own accord. It was a surprise to me, too. And he would follow me onto an unhitched flatbed trailer, if I asked him to.
Love. Trust. Companionship. Irreplaceable and like no other. Holy and sacred. What makes life worth living.