Happy Trails Midnight

This was kind of a tough week for me. On Tuesday, I had to put my longtime rodeo, roundup, and all-around utility horse Midnight down. Over the last few months, it was getting harder and harder for her to get around. I could tell her time was getting near but didn’t want to acknowledge it. Justin called Monday night and told me she had been laying in the same spot for quite a while. He went down and checked on her and told me her condition had gotten worse.

   I went out to check on her Tuesday morning, thinking all the way out she would be standing up and feeling better. “She’s going to be okay for a little while longer,” I told myself. When I got there, she was still laying down. My heart sunk a little. I started walking to her, and she raised her head. She tried to get up but couldn’t. That’s when it hit me. I knew what I needed to do. As hard as it was to think about the inevitable, it was much harder to see her in that condition. I knelt beside her and held her head in my lap. She tried one more time to get up, and just laid her head back in my lap.

   As I knelt there stroking her mane and the side of her head, I thought about the many miles we covered together through every kind of terrain and weather. I thought about all the rodeos and team roping events we attended. My eyes began to tear up as I told her what a great horse she was. I thanked her for the wonderful times we had together. It was hard to get up and leave, but I knew what I needed to do.

   I called Justin and asked him if he could take care of the situation. “I can’t be there,” I told him, and he knew exactly how I felt. He’s had to say goodbye to two horses of his own. Justin told me not to worry and he would take care of everything. I spent the rest of the afternoon thinking about the bond I had with Midnight.

   Anyone who has a horse, or a family pet of any kind understands this bond. They truly become part of your family. I’ve had several horses over the years, and I’ve learned a lot from them. I’ve learned a lot of life lessons from every pet we’ve had.

   I have found that every event has a life lesson to learn. I found this one when I was talking to Justin Tuesday night. He called to tell me everything was taken care of and see how I was doing. I thanked him for being there for me and taking care of everything. He told me he was glad to help and thanked me for always being there for him and Cassidy. Is was at that point I realized how grateful I am to have the family we do. “This is what we do for each other as a family. These are the things that make our family bond as strong as it is,” I told Justin. I felt Shannon’s warmth and love. “These are the moments that makes your Mom so happy. I know our bond puts the biggest smiles on her face,” I said as I tried to hold back the tears. We will always LOVE AND MISS YOU sweetheart.

   I want to thank everyone in my family for always being there for me. I am truly grateful and blessed.

Next week: Happy Birthday to me

P.S. When I think about the horses that I’ve had to say good bye to, my vision of heaven is best described in the Cowboy Prayer.

Our Heavenly Father, we pause at this time, mindful of the blessing you have bestowed upon us. We ask, Lord, that you will be with us in the arena of life. We as cowboys do not ask for special favors. We don’t ask to draw around the chute fighting horse, the steer that won’t lay, or to never break the barrier. We don’t even ask for all daylight runs. We do ask Lord, that you will help us live our lives here on earth as cowboys, in such a manner, that when we do make that last inevitable ride, to the country up there, where the grass grows lush, green, and stirrup high, and the water runs cool, clear, and deep, that you’ll take us by the hand and say – “Welcome to Heaven cowboy, your entry fees are paid.”