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Franklin Levinson's

Horse Help Center

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Grieving Horse

Hi, Franklin,

You've helped me in the past with my a matter of fact, she's one of your success stories! But alas, I am coming to you today with a new problem that I need help with.

Two weeks ago, we lost my daughter's horse, Hilary. After 5 days at the vet hospital, and following successful exploratory colic surgery, something went horribly wrong and Hilary broke her leg coming out of anesthesia. Needless to say, both my daughter and I were horrified and are devastated. is my horse, Desi. Des and Hilary lived 3 stalls away from each other, and could see each other in their backyards. I fed them both 7 days a week, took them both out to run and play. My daughter and I groomed our horses together, rode together. Hilary was just as much my little girl as she was my daughter's.

Desi is grieving. My hard to handle, high strung Arabian is so very sad. True, I hadn't been out in two weeks (mostly because it hurt too much) but I had friends taking her out, bringing her snacks, and riding her. I finally started going back and have spent quality time with her. Walking, grooming, talking to her and crying with her. She's so very sad. She stares at Hilary's stall with her head over the rail. She'll look back at me, as if to say, "Where's my girlfriend?" then go back to staring at the stall. It just makes me cry even more.

She does get turned out 3 times a week and has friends out there (Hilary wasn't turned out as my horse is), but when I took her to the arena (where I always took her and Hilary) with another Arab mare who's a friend, Desi galloped wildly out of control, sinking her feet into the if to say, "This isn't the same playmate". I had to make her stop before she got hurt. My thought was that she was trying to run the hurt out of her.

What else can I do for my little girl? She is eating, I have every reason to believe she's drinking, I'm back to going out every day after work and on the weekend. Any suggestions?

Thank you (again) for your help!

Hi Lisa,

Don't assume your horse will get along with another quickly. Lead your horse around with a new friend first for a while. Don't just turn them lose together. Give your horse things to do. Riding playing on the ground, games on the ground, etc, are all good things that will help. Perhaps find your mare a nice gelding to partner up with. It may be easier to get her bonded to a gelding than a new girlfriend. Remember it is a horse and not a human. There are differences. Obviously you love this horse deeply. Thank you. Giving comfort w/o overdoing the coddling is the way to go and offering fun things with you to do. Avoid a lot of pressure in any way. A little challenge is fine to get her thinking about a task or playing with you in a different way. A lot of ground games I think is always a lovely thing. Horse bond more with a human from the ground experiences than when being ridden.

Good Luck. Please accept my condolences and keep me posted.......

Sincerely, Franklin

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