So here is the problem with doing a destination race. When it is all done you are hit with a double whammy. One – the race you have been so focused on for so long is finished. Two – your vacation is over and you have to join the real world again. How can you not feel a little deflated when it is all done?
Combine this with a difficult scenario we had to deal with when we came home; our most senior horse, Dylan, was clearly at the end. While not in distress or in pain, his body was saying it was time to be done. As hard as it is to lose an animal, it was remarkable to see how calm he was. I truly believe he knew what was happening and was comfortable with it being the end. He was still himself; he still wanted to have the top of his tail scratched and he was good with the kids as they pet him and said good bye. On his last day the wind died away and the sun came out, the perfect day for a horse. We chose not to be there when he was put down but our friend who euthanized him said he gave out one last quiet nicker before the drugs were used. Strangely, my horse George, who would normally panic if his best buddy left the paddock, was also calm when watching Dylan walk away from the field. I firmly believe that he too knew Dylan wasn’t coming back and accepted that fact. There was something so dignified about his death. Animals seem to accept death as the natural process it is. They can remove themselves from this world more easily than we can, as if knowing their life here is only one stage of their existence. For all the times we think we are the superior species on earth, perhaps we are not always the wisest. I know I can still be humbled by looking into the eyes of a creature who is approaching death. We can all only hope for such dignity at the end.