Desi earned her wings

Bobbie Day

I made the hard decision to help Desi over the rainbow bridge yesterday, I am not an eloquent writer so please bear with me.
This was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made. I will feel the hole she left in my heart for a very very long time, always really.
She was beginning to really struggle getting up lately, but the last few days it was even rougher for her to get her back legs under her, she would almost fall over shifting her weight from one leg to the other. And yesterday when she didn't wake me up as she always did I knew something was terribly wrong. She always laid down in her favorite spot, we built it up (like the suggestion someone posted, thank you) hoping it would make it easier for her. She was refusing to move around at this point, just standing on her mats under her little shelter, I had to take her water as she hurt too bad to make it over to her trough that she loved to play in.  We found her down, I can say that I have been wishing for her to just go peacefully in her sleep, as I knew our time was coming to an end and I wasn't confident that I could make that call.
She looked like she had been struggling awhile, she was our alarm clock, every morning about six a.m. she would literally whinny at us until she heard the water run when she knew we were up.  We had moved her close to our bedroom after she got laminitis so we could keep an eye on her. I would get up every night three or four times and look out the window, I don't know how I am going to stop that. She couldn't get herself up yesterday morning, she looked at me and called out, I felt like she was saying "mom I'm trying but I just can't do it anymore", we thought about trying to pull her up but I knew it would just happen again and again. I took her some water, she drank two buckets so I knew she had been at it awhile, she was just so tired, such a trooper she never gave up ever. My husband said it was my decision, that we could keep trying, try to maybe make a sling or whatever else we could do, but we just had this talk a couple days ago about how I needed to prepare myself, that there was nothing left I could do for her, I had exhausted every avenue and couldn't do anymore.  So he made the arrangements while I sat with her fed her all her favorite things that she hadn't been able to have the last three years, oats, carrots, watermelon and alfalfa hay. She went at it like gangbusters. She looked at us and I knew she was ready as she couldn't even hold her head up for long. I know it was the right thing but of course I will question my decision, I don't know if it was right or wrong I just know she deserved better. 
I am just so damn mad at the world, to get her through all this just to lose her to arthritis. She was such a blessing in our lives and I cannot for the life of me fathom how someone could dump her in a feedlot to take that ride to slaughter. She deserved better. They all do ! But as I am still a slobbering mess, I look at all her boots, her leg wraps, her pink and purple fly wraps and halter, her cold wraps in the freezer.  All her supplements, bags of feed, rubs, gels and about everything else you can imagine scattered all over the garage.  I just miss her so much already. How am I going to go from her being my entire focus for the last few years, always rubbing her legs, making sure her supplements are right, her medication, going out and brushing her fabulous mane and tail (which she loved) to get all the wood shavings out, talking to her like she was with me her whole life. She wasn't lucky to have me, I was lucky to have her. Although I was the reason for the laminitis, I  look at the journey we have been through.  All you amazing people, I would have never learned what I have if I wouldn't have found all you. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping me to help her.
I know others will shake their heads in disbelief over my grief for a "horse" . But our horses are more than that, we grieve, and we hurt for them.  Sometimes I feel like grief and I are best friends as much as its visited me over the last several years, but I wouldn't trade the pain or the joy for anything. The night before she passed I looked at her and just reminded my self how much I loved her, that tomorrow I needed to take some pictures of us together, something I had wanted to do for a very long time, as I don't do pictures and I didn't have any with any of my horses. Now its too late, so take those pictures !
Cherish every minute you have. 
I just want all the new members here to not lose hope, that's all you have, if Desi hadn't had the debilitating arthritis she would have been around for a very long time, it took her life not IR or PPID. There is light at the end of this tunnel and you can come out of it .
Fly free old girl , I miss you so so much.
Bobbie and Desi (now over the rainbow bridge) 
NRC Plus , NAT , C&IR March 2020
Utah, Nov 2018

Eleanor Kellon, VMD

I have to disagree that you are not eloquent. That was eloquent, and raw, and gut-wrenching. Thank you for sharing. I hope you can feel how many people share your pain.
Eleanor in PA 
EC Owner 2001

Lorna Cane

On Sun, Jun 20, 2021 at 02:03 PM, Bobbie Day wrote:
I know others will shake their heads in disbelief over my grief for a "horse" .

Oh,Bobbie. Through my tears.
Desi knew how much you loved her . How lucky you both were to have found each other.

No words. Just a big hug.


Lorna  in Eastern  Ontario
Check out FAQ :

Nancy C

I'm sorry, Bobbie. You did the right things by her. Helping them cross is the last best gift we can give them.

Sending hugs. Take some time for yourself.

Fly free, Desi, beautiful girl.

Nancy C in NH
ECIR Moderator 2003
ECIR Group Inc. President/Treasurer  2020-2021
Join us at the 2021 NO Laminitis! Conference, August 13-15, ECIR Virtual Conference Room

Donna Coughlin

Oh Bobbie, I have followed Desi's and your story since the beginning and have always admired how much you loved her, and how carefully, wisely, lovingly you cared for her (and she for you). I admire you for that dedicated love and care. And I also give your husband full credit for supporting you both through it all, and the toughest decision of all at the end.

Just know that you did the right thing. Much as you miss her every minute of every day, you made the right decision to let her go. Horses are so stoic, but sometimes we ask them too much to stay. And from what you bravely wrote, Desi  was ready to go.

I haven't posted this here, but I lost Duke, my 45 year old miniature horse, on May 7th. It was just too hard to write about it. He'd been with me for 23 years and he was the oldest equine in my vet's practice. That wonderful vet came several times during the winter to "consult," but Duke was eating voraciously, getting up on his own, though had days when he didn't leave his stall. He dropped tons of weight, but his bloodwork was actually really good. But he always greeted us, nuzzled for "treats," was aware and alert. The last night he laid down and 5 hours later he was still in the same not-so-usual place in his stall (security camera, I watched him constantly). I ran out, and I knew he was leaving, so I called the vet and held him for the hour it took for her to get here. He left peacefully, and I know he is reunited with Obi and Poes, his two best friends who have also gone. 

I'm only telling this story now because peace will come to you in time. And Desi will stay with you forever. It does get easier; it's a huge relief to not worry all the time, to know for sure they are not in pain, and that you did the best you ALWAYS could for them. It's still hard for me to see Duke's empty stall, to not see his funny face.  In the end, we both know how very, very blessed we were to have shared their magical lives.

(OK, so I'm crying now too....)

Donna Coughlin, Robin Goodfellow and Ariel Max; Duke (5/21) and Obi (5/17) over the Rainbow Bridge

CT 2009



billie hinton

Oh my gosh, Bobbie, what you wrote about and for Desi is absolutely beautiful and so heartfelt. I’m so sorry for your loss. It sounds in some ways like when Salina left us, and I know it had to be devastatingly difficult but it sounds like you made the hard decision when you needed to and she let you know it was time. What a gift to her that you were able to be right there, giving her favorite things, and shepherding her on.

One thing I want to say to you, as someone who provided nearly two years of around the clock micromanagement to a goddess mare who also suffered with severe arthritis: right now it probably feels overwhelming because your days and nights have been filled with Desi’s care, and now that those caretaking tasks are done, every time you feel the automatic timer in your head and heart you’ll miss her again. At some point you’ll start to re-calibrate, and I think it’s a good thing to take note of just how much of your time has been spent caring for her. It becomes second nature to do all the things you’ve done without even realizing the time it takes, and I think you owe it to yourself to note how much you did for her, and give yourself permission to relish the new time you have and the freedom, and yes, at some point the sense of relief that the worry and stress are over.

Her memory and her spirit will still be there and at some point when the grieving ebbs a bit you might start to feel the memories in a new and comforting way. Salina is buried at the A end of our dressage arena and I walk past her grave on a daily basis, as the path between it and the arena takes me to our grandfather manure/compost pile as well as our apiary. I am not exaggerating when I say that Salina’s presence is palpable. She comforts me and cheers me up when I pass and think of her. I still talk to her. It has been 8 years now. I don’t cry anymore when I think of her but I do feel her strength and her partnership. I am betting Desi will do the same for you when the time is right.

Take good care.
Billie in NC

Nancy & Vinnie & Summer

Bobbie, I am balling my eyes out for you. I am so incredibly sorry. You did your absolute best for her!!!!  Thank you for loving her so much, that when the time came you did the hardest thing by helping her on to.her next journey.  She will be with you always. I am here for you of you need anything. Blessings to you and your family during this really difficult time. Xoxo
Nancy and Vinnie and Summer
Oakley, Ca
Joined Nov 2018


Patti SoCal 2020

Oh, Bobbie, my heart grieves with you! You are a very eloquent “non-eloquent “ writer; I am a blubbering mess! But I feel like I knew Desi from all you have written. You are in my prayers as you begin to live with Desi’s loss.
SoCal 2020                                          


So very well said, Bobbie. You were a blessing to each other.
Bonnie and Lad
North Ontario
Dec 2008


So very very sorry for your loss.  Heart hugs.

Sandy in PA with Tiffany and Blue

Sandy Kemp
Northeast Pennsylvania
Crystal Blue PPID/IR
Tiffany PPID

Frances C.

I am so sorry. Both you and Desi are blest. Perhaps as parting gift from your beloved mare you can gather up all her things and donate to the nearest rescue facility. My little horse too could barely reach up her head to get that piece of apple. Then she would lay her head back down and contentedly chew on the treat. That is the image that is stuck in my brain - and it is a good image after so many years. Never doubt that you did the right thing.
- Frances C.
December 2017, Washington & California
Case history:
Phoenix's Photo Album:


Thank you for sharing this, Donna. Duke was a legend. Who could ever  forget Duke's wedding photo? His longevity owes a lot to your excellent care.
Bonnie and Lad
North Ontario
Dec 2008

Joy V

Oh Bobbie, I'm crying with you.  I'm so very sorry.  You were the best horse mom for Desi that she could have possibly had.  Thank you so much for loving her so well.  Again, I'm so, so sorry.  Sending you hugs.

Joy and Willie (EC/IR)
Nevada County, CA - 2019

Case history:
Willie's photo album:

Maxine McArthur

Bobbie, no words can ease your pain at the moment, but perhaps it can help to know that we share your grief. Thanks you for dedicating those very eloquent words to your special little lady. 

Maxine and Indy (PPID) and Dangles (PPID)

Canberra, Australia 2010
ECIR Primary Response


Kelly Kathleen Daughtry

What an incredible loss and incredible love. My heart breaks for you.  What a special bond you and she shared.  
Kelly & Micah, Clayton NC

April 2016

Case History: 




Jennifer Murphy

I'm so sorry for your loss.  Desi was lucky to have you as a caretaker, and I'm sure she knew that.
Jennifer in NH

CH -

Photo album -,,,20,1,0,0

Donna Coughlin

Thank you Bonnie! He was certainly a legend here at home and for everyone who interacted with him. A larger-than-life character. And it's thanks to this group for the science-based, forward-thinking advice that he lived such a long and healthy life. The evening of his death he snuck in Robin's stall when I had my back turned, and was happily sharing his hay (he'd never done that before, and he had his own fresh pile of hay). That spunk also kept him going. 

You were part of the ECIR group when I joined in 2009, and your support and that of so many members means so much. 

Donna Coughlin, Robin Goodfellow and Ariel Max; Duke (5/21) and Obi (5/17) over the Rainbow Bridge

CT 2009




So sorry to hear about Desi. Hope you feel better thinking of ur beautiful girl running and playing in horsey heaven and not feeling any pain. Big huge hugs to u and ur family.  
August 5, 2017, Brandon, Manitoba, Canada



Case History


Sherry Morse

OH Bobbie, we all knew this day was coming but it never makes it any easier.  I give you a lot of credit for being able to write as much as you did so soon after her passing.  It took me weeks to be able to say anything about losing Scarlet.  The hole in your heart will get less painful eventually but know that you did your best for Desi and that includes letting her go.


Bobbie, I am so sorry. I went through Desi's album to find this sweet picture of your girl that I remembered.,,,50,2,100,0 
Cass, Sonoma Co., CA 2012
ECIR Group Moderator
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