Farewell to RT, aka Billy’s twin

RT a while back when he was fat and sassy

We had a sad day at Willow Tree today. We knew it was coming because the signs of decline were evident, but that didn’t make it any easier. RT was a member of what I humorously dubbed the “Broken Down Thoroughbred Club”, which included Billy and his good buddy Bounty. RT could have been Billy’s older brother, they looked so much alike. I think they were both from that old Thoroughbred stock before the Thoroughbreds started looking so lanky and croup-high. But no matter what they looked like, all received the same care and loving attention from my trainer Karin, who, as you know if you’ve been following this blog for long, has done wonders rehabilitating Billy.

So it was with heavy hearts that Karin, Wendy (our barn manager) and I assembled to say the final goodbye to RT. Others had stopped by to extend sympathy and tears, but did not stay for the final curtain. Karin and RT headed our little procession out into the field where the barn owner had already prepared a burial spot. The vet gave him a little sedation first, and Karin hugged him and cried. I hugged Karin and then whispered something in RT’s ear, which shall forever remain our little secret. Then Karin handed RT’s lead rope to Wendy, and the vet did what we had agreed she must do.

Putting a horse down can be an ugly thing. They often stagger and fall awkwardly and your heart just wants to break. I’m comforted to say that RT went down quietly and did indeed look like he had just lain down for a little nap. We caressed him even though we knew he was gone, then slowly found our way back to the barn.

I spent the rest of the day giving Billy an extra-careful grooming and cleaning, and working with him a bit in the ring. Afterward I gave him one of my friend Jan’s special horse cookies and took him back out to the herd. He’s always been impatient to get back to his friends, but today he stood by the gate even as I told him to go on out. He started to go, then turned around and came back to the gate. He’s hung around by the gate before, but he’s never started to leave and then done a U-turn back to me. I like to think he knew…

About Alli Farkas

Equine and landscape artist specializing in rural Americana
This entry was posted in horses, random thoughts, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Farewell to RT, aka Billy’s twin

  1. Deb Reda says:

    The time comes when you owe it to your horse to send them on the path we all eventually must follow. It is sad we can’t extend the same kindness to our human friends and partners. I am sure he will be missed, but he will be another star in the sky tonight, and another horse will be born to take his place. He will be waiting in spirit at the Rainbow Bridge, as the essence of him can be in many places at once.


  2. Rachel says:

    How heartbreaking for all of you. I’m sorry to read of this loss of another magnificent creature.


  3. Wendy says:

    That was very well written Alli. I only trail rode Attagirl b/c I didn’t think my emotions were in the right place to actually work her in the ring. That’s very special that Billy wanted to stay and comfort you. Again, thank you for being there for Karin today. My duty is to the horse during those times and cannot be there so much for the owners. Karin told me I was her strength to help her get through it and that was nice to hear.


  4. It doesn’t seem to matter who or what the loved creature is. I’ve felt the same with my seventeen dogs and one cat, and I can imagine how you felt as your precious friend sank to his knees. I had tears in my eyes. How ;lucky we are to have these friendships with such great spirits.


  5. Theresa says:

    This was beautifully written. I am sorry that you had to say goodbye to a good friend today. it was nice that he was surrounded with love when he passed.


  6. Rayya says:

    Oh Alli. I am so sorry about the loss of ‘RT’. It is never easy to say goodbye and no matter how well prepared you think you may be, you are never ready for it. I leave you with this poem to help you during this very difficult period.

    Indian Prayer
    When I am dead
    Cry for me a little
    Think of me sometimes
    Think of me now and again
    As I was in life
    At some moments, it is pleasant to recall
    But not for long
    Leave me in peace
    And I shall leave you in peace
    And while you live
    Let your thoughts be with the living.

    Lots of comforting hugs from me.


    • Alli Farkas says:

      The poem really touched the right spot. I’m sure we will all eventually do just as the poem recommends–and find ourselves laughing about RT’s many quirks and his famously cranky attitude. He was always a willing worker, but he made sure you worked hard to gain his approval.


  7. Mary Decker says:

    RT was Jacques best bud. They were always together during this last year. Yesterday morning RT was nuzzling Jacques, maybe saying good bye. I have a lump in my throat as I think about Rt and then think about saying goodbye to the animals we love. We at Willow Tree are so blessed to have such a loving and supportive place to have our horses. Your story was very heartfelt and well written.


  8. Jan says:

    How sad…but how fortunate was RT to have a loving and dignified end. Of course Billy knew. Well said and from the soul.


  9. Nicole says:

    this is beautifully written- straight from the heart. I believe Billy did know…
    I’m really sorry.


  10. lori graydon says:

    I agree, I think Billy knew. Bless his heart. Losing a pet is the saddest thing to go through. I’m sorry too…


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