For over 30 years I have owned horses but the last 5 months have been the worst.

08 May

For over 30 years I have owned horses. For a good part of that time I have trained them as a profession. In that time I have not experienced the death of a horse often. My first horse, pony actually, was 16 when I got her. She died at 32 and it was not unexpected at her age.

Then I got off pretty easy until the last five months. Two years ago we did have a foal die. It was hard with such a young promising life but again I realized that with the number of horses I have owned, trained and loved I should be prepared for things like this.

But the last five months have been crushing. In December my first horse, Bay, who again was 30 years old (so it was not sudden and unexpected) had to be put down.

And then in February, Roxy. I know I didn’t own her but we did have a special relationship. It was sudden and shocking.

Roxy and Stacy Westfall Equine Affaire

And now Vaquero. I walked into the vet clinic guessing I would not have a show horse anymore but also thinking he would easily be a pasture pet for the rest of his life. Now his stall is empty. Roxy wasn’t here with me when she died. She had been at Greg’s house for a couple of years so although I was shocked there was no empty stall.

There is an empty stall now.

Misty and Bay were old and it was expected and both were at my moms

house. Roxy was shocking and her stall was at Greg’s.

If I didn’t already have horses, like Popcorn, that I have a relationship with I don’t think I would even go to the barn.

I know many of you out there know what I am talking about. I know others have felt this loss and had to look at the empty stall. That also tells me that you understand how hard the last 5 months have been. Thank you for supporting me and putting up with my sad blog posts:(

Thank you Maria for sharing this:

I’ll lend you for a little while my grandest foal, He said.
for you to love while he’s alive and mourn when he is dead.
It may be one or twenty years, or days or months, you see,
but will you, till I take him back, take care of him for me?
He’ll bring his charms to gladden you, and should his stay be brief,
you’ll have treasured memories as solace for your grief.
I cannot promise he will stay, since all from earth return,
but there are lessons taught on earth I want this foal to learn.
I’ve looked the wide world over in my search for teachers true.
And from the throngs that crowd life’s lanes, with trust, I’ve chosen you.
Now will you give him total love, not think the labor vain,
nor hate me when I come here to take him back again?
I know you’ll give him tenderness and love will bloom each day,
and for the happiness you’ve known, forever grateful stay
But should I come and call for him much sooner than you’d planned,
you’ll brave the bitter grief that comes, and someday, understand.


Posted by on May 8, 2012 in Life


159 responses to “For over 30 years I have owned horses but the last 5 months have been the worst.

  1. Paola

    May 8, 2012 at 8:30 am

    So sad…….. beautiful poëm though

  2. Kathy

    May 8, 2012 at 8:30 am

    My thoughts and prayers are with you, Stacey. I know the pain you are feeling. I will never forget watching you and Vaquero moving as one heart, one spirit, one soul…Godspeed Vaquero! Love and prayers,Stacey!

  3. Rachel

    May 8, 2012 at 8:31 am

    It doesn’t matter if you think you “should be prepared”…you never are. They are our family, friends, and so much more…my heart goes out to you an prayers for your stength…Popcorn will hold you…

  4. Kendra Lyman

    May 8, 2012 at 8:33 am

    Losing a horse is never fun. 😦 I lost my first mare when she cast in her stall and broke her pelvis. It was traumatizing and I am pretty sure that if I didn’t have another horse I wouldn’t have gone to the barn again. To this day I bring a bouquet of daisies to her grave twice a year. I learned alot from her and she will always hold a special place in my heart. Stay strong, the horses that touch us the most never really leave us! 🙂

  5. nancyfarber

    May 8, 2012 at 8:36 am

    Stacy, My heart aches for your loss. I know how much you loved Vaquero. Take care of yourself and cherish the memories.

  6. Christin

    May 8, 2012 at 8:36 am

    puuuh, Stacy, hard times… I’m so sorry for your loss. Take care.

  7. Teresa Krapes

    May 8, 2012 at 8:37 am

    I have lost several horses and each time I wonder why I even have them because it hurts so much to lose one. I am so sorry for your losses. I know it hurts your heart so much. I got to see you in Springfield, MO at Horsefest and was so in awe of you and your horses. Go bury your nose in Popcorn’s neck and just breathe.

  8. nancyfarber

    May 8, 2012 at 8:37 am

    Stacy, My heart aches for you in this time of loss. Take care of yourself and cherish the memories.

  9. Majela

    May 8, 2012 at 8:39 am

    so sorry for your loss

  10. Lisa Boston

    May 8, 2012 at 8:40 am

    I do know how hard this is for you. I have lost my first horse a few years ago and still think about him daily. He taught me as well as me teaching him. He was a rescue and I reassure myself that I taught him love and he died knowing love and happiness.

  11. Dakota

    May 8, 2012 at 8:42 am

    That made me cry 😦 my thoughts and prayers are with you at this time….
    I know how hard it is to have an empty stable

  12. claudia

    May 8, 2012 at 8:43 am

    I am so sorry for what you are going through. I have had to put 3 horses down in my life time. I know how you feel. It doesnt make you feel any better I know. I am sure the Lord will bring a new one in to your life. Do what you do best. Hugs and prayers.

  13. Elise Clark

    May 8, 2012 at 8:44 am

    I am so sorry…..I am quite a bit older than you are Stacy and have suffered a number of unexpected losses….equine and otherwise. God brings things into our lives for a season and we have expectations of what they should be, how long, the nature of….and yet He has His own plans and allows these calamities for a greater purpose. Praying for comfort and trusting that His faithfulness will sustain you and bring peace to your heart.

  14. Karen

    May 8, 2012 at 8:44 am

    My heartfelt sympathies to you. Many of us have been there and know the grief and heartache one has to endure when we lose a cherished horse. They leave a huge emptiness in our souls.

  15. Cindy

    May 8, 2012 at 8:45 am

    Stacey, You, Jessie & boys are in our prayers. I can only imagine what sadness you are going through right now. We are thinking of you & hope to see you & Popcorn soon.

  16. Lisa Quinn

    May 8, 2012 at 8:45 am

    Stacy, I’m so sorry. Praying for you
    “The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles.
    The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those who are crushed in spirit.
    The righteous face many troubles, but the Lord rescues them from each and every one”
    (Psalm 34:17-19).

  17. Patty Williamson

    May 8, 2012 at 8:45 am

    There were so many lovely words left by people on your last post. I couldn’t contribute anything more than I’d read. My daughter and I have lost a number of horses to sudden severe illness too, and it is very hard. My last was my mustang mare, Mustang Sally, who was at our young friend’s getting trained and was w,t,c (and not bucking/shying which was an issue previously) and jumping a course of small jumps when she colicked and twisted. It had been very hot, then suddenly cooled off so I’m thinking weather had a big part in it. She was going to be my trail riding buddy til I got too old to ride (I’m 52), and also a buggy horse. My other horses are still here and I hope God lets me keep them for many years; this poem touched me as it did you. God bless you and your human and equine and canine family. Love, Patty

  18. Debra

    May 8, 2012 at 8:45 am

    Time is for real a healer…it passes before you know it.

  19. Sandra Schmitt

    May 8, 2012 at 8:47 am

    Stacy, my heart goes out to you at this difficult time. A loss of such a loved one, person or pet is never easy to deal with. I still watch you and Roxy often and it still brings tears to my eyes, the relationship ya’ll had. You’re very talented and have so much to offer so take the time you need and then get back to it. We’ll be watching for you. 🙂

  20. Chanida

    May 8, 2012 at 8:49 am

    A couple of years ago I lost 3 horses in a single year, it is heartbreaking. Just 3wks ago I lost my precious boy. He was old, I’d had him for 22yrs, but like you say his paddock is empty, I keep wanting to make his feeds up & expect to see him greet me in the morning. My heartfelt condolences are going out to you & yours, & remember that every time the breeze blows they are all running along beside you…

  21. Jenny

    May 8, 2012 at 8:49 am

    My thoughts are with you; it never gets any easier… but then, what sort of person would we be if it did?

  22. Marcia

    May 8, 2012 at 8:50 am

    My heart is broken for you. To pass the torch to God and give him back is the hardest thing to do.
    Bless your heart Stacy.

  23. Missy

    May 8, 2012 at 8:50 am

    Please visit
    SO many resources for exactly how you are feeling. All of us there have been there. I’m am so sorry.

  24. Angel Pride

    May 8, 2012 at 8:52 am

    So sorry for your losses. Losing a pet is so hard. I k.ow exactly how you feel. Hang in there. Take Care!!!

  25. Kassie Tabor

    May 8, 2012 at 8:53 am

    Praying for you Stacy. I still am not over having to put my “first horse I bought myself” qrt horse down almost 3 yrs ago. You are right, when it is not expected it is so much harder!! When the beautiful life ahead of them is meant to be spent in heaven vs here on earth with us it is difficult!

  26. Cooper

    May 8, 2012 at 8:53 am

    God Bless.. you are in our thoughts and prayers!

  27. CJ

    May 8, 2012 at 8:55 am

    So very sorry for your losses … they leave their hoof prints on our hearts…

  28. Wendy

    May 8, 2012 at 8:59 am

    I am so sorry for your loss. I find that it doesn’t matter if the death is expected or unexpected – there is still the pain. I’ve had to ask myself if I would have rather avoided the pain and not done what I do – my answer is no and I know that yours is too. The world is a better place because you do what you do and share – the good and the bad. Thank you for sharing the poem – I am going to use it to create a memorial corner for my school to honor mine who have already gone on. Keep on sharing as you make your journey – it is real life and so many people need to know this side of horse ownership. It always helps to know you are not alone.

  29. sandbean

    May 8, 2012 at 8:59 am

    That is such a beautiful poem… I am so sorry for your many recent heartbreaks. Your horses obviously loved you so much and would love to be there for you right now if they could. I lost my very special horse after Congress in 1990 and I still cry for him. I also lost my dad in 2007. I have loved horses since I was a toddler and I am so lucky to be able to go out in my pasture and hug the 3 I have now. They are majestic animals with such grace, spirit, and individual personalities. Although I don’t show anymore, you alone have inspired me to ride more and reminded me how amazing the horse/human connection can be. Thank you Stacy. Prayers and hugs for you and your family and your 4 legged friends.

  30. C.J. Darlington

    May 8, 2012 at 9:00 am

    I am so, so sorry. Losing our four legged friends is one of the most heart breaking things we experience in this life. Vaquero will be waiting for you to ride him up in heaven.

  31. Theresa

    May 8, 2012 at 9:01 am

    Stacey, I am so sorry for your loss… so sad.

  32. Belinda

    May 8, 2012 at 9:02 am

    So sad to read your blog. Losing a special horse is such a sad thing to go through. We do eventually find it easier however that little empty space remains there forever, I too have been through this and it brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it many years later.

  33. Lyle Decaire

    May 8, 2012 at 9:04 am

    Stacy, you have certainly had a very difficult 5 months. The loss of animals and people who are so close to us is very painful. Over the years we have lost many sled dogs, three years ago I lost my first horse and 16 years ago we lost our oldest daughter in a car crash. People speak of closure and time healing wounds. I can tell you that all time does is dull the pain and there is no real closure. The best we can do is take the love we shared with the ones we have lost and give it forward to the others remaining in our lives. It is the only way I know to honour what they gave us and to respect their memory. The grief of your loss is shared by all with whom you have shared your experiences and accomplishments.

  34. Lila S.

    May 8, 2012 at 9:07 am

    I’m so sorry you’ve had to go through all of this in such a small amount of time. Nobody deserves that, especially not you. You’re so strong to be able to go through this and write about it. I had to leave two horses this past summer, nine months and three days ago, and I’m still devastated, and they didn’t even die, so I can’t imagine the pain you’re going through. My prayers and thoughts are still with you and your family.
    All my love,

  35. Jan Hempfield Gompf

    May 8, 2012 at 9:10 am

    So sorry Stacy for your loss. We lost our paint Blue Ribbon 2 years ago. He was 32. He was a part of our family 31 years. We knew the days was coming. I’m sorry you had to make the choice for them, it’s a hard thing to get over. We thought his pasture buddy would help us throught, but he chose to go to Blue 10 days later. He was only 13. It’s been rough. We made it. You will too. Good Luck and best wishes.

  36. Rudi Supan

    May 8, 2012 at 9:13 am

    Stacy, I know how hard it is to loose a friend like Vaquero. I lost my last horse in 2010. He was fine the night before and the next day I had to put him down because the vet could do nothing for him and he was in such pain. I lost 2 horses in the last 5 years and it is horrible to walk to that barn and not hear the soft nickers of hello from our stablemates. My thoughts and prayers go out to you to soften the pain. Thanks for sharing that beautiful poem also.

  37. Linda Wilkinson

    May 8, 2012 at 9:16 am

    Stacy, No words can express our sympathy! We are so sorry for your losses and will continue to lift you up! As you have always done what is best for all your horses, this too was a true selfless demonstration of your love for Vaquero. He was truly an amazing horse and definitely his mother’s son!

  38. Melissa Holley

    May 8, 2012 at 9:20 am

    Stacy, You are one of the strongest people that I have seen with horses. The passion that you and the horse have together while doing your performances are amazing. I have dealt with the pain of losing animals especially my horses. I had two horses that were 35 years old when they passed which was expected but they passed in just a matter of two days apart and then I have a gelding that passed just about 6 months ago. I feel your pain one hundred percent and I wish you the best with your findings and getting through this rough patch with your animals! Your are an inspiration to me!! Love you Stacy!!

  39. Gail Foust

    May 8, 2012 at 9:21 am

    At this time I know words are not enough but cling to the Lord and He will bring you comfort that no human can. See you soon at the shoot. Gail

  40. sarah jane

    May 8, 2012 at 9:29 am

    i send you a lot of love and power! you are my inspiration

  41. Theresa

    May 8, 2012 at 9:31 am

    Awesome… shared a bond with Vaquero that will never end.

  42. Lori

    May 8, 2012 at 9:31 am

    Yes, empty stalls are hard to look at and also it is difficult not hearing the horse nickering or calling to you when you walk into the barn. Sometimes the silence seemed worse than not actually seeing my horse. I have lost three in three years, two older horses in their 20’s and a young horse I had to put down before his third birthday. I do not regret trying to help them or spending money I didn’t have to give them a chance even though people thought I was crazy. It still hurts no matter how long you know its coming, whether its a sick horse you try to help for a short time or a foal you try to give a chance at life to be a pasture pet only to have to put them down. It still hurts all the same and my heart goes out to you. “The wind of Heaven is that which blows between a horse’s ears.”

  43. Peg B

    May 8, 2012 at 9:33 am

    You are not alone in your grief. I like to think of my horses spirits up there with my dad and favorite dog. All that love shining down on me. And yes, it makes it very hard to go out and feed the herd everyday without those special ones out there. I’m hoping another special one comes along but if it doesn’t I just thank God for the ones I had. At first I thought about getting rid of all our horses, but really you never know which one will spark the fire next. Hang in there.

  44. Betty Ainger

    May 8, 2012 at 9:34 am

    What can I say that has not already been said. What you feel has already been felt.All we can do is support each other with thoughts and prayers. My prayers are with you at your time of sadness.

  45. Jennifer Daniel

    May 8, 2012 at 9:34 am

    Stacy, I am praying for you. God will give you the strength through this. One of my favorite scriptures in times like these is “In our weakness His strength is made perfect”. We don’t know the “whys” but we still know “who” to turn to. He promises in Romans 8:28 that “He will work ALL things together for good to those that Love Him and are called according to His purpose. We know you are called and that you Love Him so this too He will bring some good out of somehow as only Jesus can. Love and Prayers to you.

    Jennifer Daniel

  46. Chris B

    May 8, 2012 at 9:35 am

    Stacy, I am so very sorry for your loss. I lost a very special horse when I was 15 years old and I know your pain. Since then I have had them in my life but not one of my own. 5 months ago I got a 2 year old filly and I question myself on how I could let so many years go by without having such a wonderful special connection in my life. They truly are a part of your soul.

  47. Amy Licata

    May 8, 2012 at 9:36 am

    I loved your poem post… Believe in it. See your stalls full not empty. EVERYTHING happens for a reason. There is a plan… In your sadness lies the answer… I wish you peace… found in all of your amazing memories…

  48. Mahayla West

    May 8, 2012 at 9:38 am

    Stacy, I’m so sorry. I can’t even to begin to imagine your sadness. Neither Vaquero or Roxy will ever be forgotten! Keep trusting in God and He will help you through it. Praying four you and your family!!

  49. Debby Driskell

    May 8, 2012 at 9:42 am

    I think Gretchen Jackson said it best with the loss of Barbaro……..”the price you pay for love, is grief”. Deepest sympathy.

  50. Wendy Clark

    May 8, 2012 at 9:43 am

    Stacey, I am so sorry for your losses and your heartache. May you find Solice in all the horses’ lives you touch. God bless.

  51. Monica

    May 8, 2012 at 9:44 am

    There is a time for all things in life . . . You would not feel this sadness now, if you had not felt the joy they gave you – it’s worth it and we all know it!

  52. Shelley Sloane

    May 8, 2012 at 9:48 am

    So sorry to hear of your loss. I certainly can empathize, I have lost many animals from my life in the last couple of years, seems like one every six months. Keep your chin up and remember the wonderful times you had. They will always be with you as long as you hold them dear in your heart.

  53. Ruth C Messare

    May 8, 2012 at 9:49 am

    Stacy, thoughts and prayers are with you. Hang on to His promises and the Great Comforter….”.though I walk through the valley of shadow of death,I will fear no evil,for you are with me,your rod and staff,they comfort me” PS 23:4 Love & blessings

  54. Karen

    May 8, 2012 at 9:49 am

    The love for a horse & the saddness that goes along with lossing one is only truly understood by fellow horse lovers. My thoughts are with you Stacy. Time does heal all wounds, but try to fill the emptyness with a new prospect. It won’t replace him, but it will help.

  55. Linda Hill

    May 8, 2012 at 9:49 am

    Hello Stacy I am so sorry that you lost such a beautiful horse. The 2 of you were like one. I love the video of you riding him and no bridle. I pray that GOD wil give you peace and comfort. I to lost a horse but not by death we had to move then from where they were being kept and 2 went fine but mine refused to leave . She was unable to be caught, But she left me with one beautiful memory . Watching her run with her tail out then she jumped a 5 foot fence like a pro. IT was beautiful. I know its not the ame but ihope this brings a smile to you. GOD will take the pain away. But always keep him aliv einyour heart with your memories.

    Linda Hill

  56. Laurie

    May 8, 2012 at 9:53 am

    Many years ago I lost a dog that I had loved since before husband and children. She had lived a good long life, but it was still so hard. Her last day was spent with me and my children telling ‘Jessi’ stories. I said to my son, “why do I have these animals when I love them so much and it is so hard when they go”. With the wisdom of an 8 year old, he said, “you have them for all the joy they bring you while they are alive”, and so we go on, giving to and loving these animals despite the grief we feel when they leave us too soon. Take care, the memories of these beloved creatures will be with you always, and they will know they were treasured and loved.

  57. Carol Rushby

    May 8, 2012 at 9:53 am

    Stacy, you and your two special horses brought tears of joy to us all every time we watched the videos of your performances. Now I am crying for you and with you for your dreadful losses. I wish I could lift you up the way that you and your horses lifted me and so many others, but all I can do is cry with you and send you hugs and thanks…..

  58. jandlranch

    May 8, 2012 at 9:54 am

    I know it hurts and am so sorry that you are going through this. Last month I had to make the same decision for my wonderful gelding Pete. We spent nearly 20 years together. I miss him so much. Yesterday I walked in the barn and saw his bridle hanging there and it hurt. I don’t know if I could ever put it on another horse. I have many wonderful memories and will cherish them all. Prayers for your healing. Lisa

  59. Laura Scott

    May 8, 2012 at 9:57 am

    So very sorry Stacy, for all those losses. A horse is a best friend, companion, therapist and partner. Each one holds a special place in your heart. Feel the love being sent your way and when enough time passes… as the saying goes, get back on the horse. There will never be another Roxy or Vaquero. Yet you have a long career ahead of you and though it will be a different relationship with the others, you have a lot of fans out there who are looking forward to more great rides, not to mention the special horses that need your guidance, skill and talent. Till then, take your time and honor your grief. A wonderful website to honor Vaquero and Roxy is Sending you love and healing prayers.

  60. Mary Sue Faries

    May 8, 2012 at 10:01 am

    That poem was perfect for you….especially the line “I’ve looked the wide world over in my search for teachers true. And from the throngs that crowd life’s lanes, with trust, I’ve chosen you” I have no doubt that God has chosen you for many great things!!! There is a song by Christian artist Ray Boltz called “Thank You” that talks about all the people who will come to you when you enter Heaven, people you’ve never known or met, and thank you for giving to the Lord, because they were a life that was changed because of you. It is a perfect description for you as I’m sure there are literally thousands of lives out there, that you’ve never even met, but that have been changed by your influence and your steadfast faith. How great your reward will be for allowing God to work through your life to touch others!!!!! I’m sorry some of it has to hurt but please, please don’t give up!! God is working through you to make life better for the horses and the humans, alike! Hugs, Prayers and…THANK YOU!!!

    • Stacy

      May 8, 2012 at 6:05 pm

      I know that song. I think I will go listen to it again. Thank you-

  61. Amy Kuehl

    May 8, 2012 at 10:03 am

    Stacy…though we don’t know each other we share the same love and admiration for the horses in our lives. I am brought to tears with each word you write expressing your saddness over the past 5 months. An empty pasture, empty barn or empty stall can be the hardest part of losing our equine partner. I lost a Quarter Horse gelding at 8 years old in 2003 to colic named Cody. We had such a special connection and he taught me so much, and just as we were beginning to “fly” together he was gone. Everytime I would look out my front window at his shed and I didn’t see his large brown eyes peeking around the corner at me, my heart broke all over again. After a few months I bought a little palomino QH gelding and though he is a great little horse, he’s not Cody. I love him everyday for all his great qualities and his quircky personality but there is still a sad place in my heart that will always belong to Cody.

  62. Katherine

    May 8, 2012 at 10:04 am

    Like I said in my last post, I can’t even begin to imagine what you must be going through. Something that has helped me deal with the empty stall over the years when horses have past (and I lost one in January… I do feel your pain) I move my other horse into the empty stall. I know it sounds silly because there will still be an empty stall, just not from a horse that has passed. It doesn’t take the pain away and the loss is still there, but it does over time help your heart hurt just a little less because that empty stall isn’t staring you in the face. It has really helped me over the years get past the gut wrenching time directly after I have lost one. We all love you and are here for you!

  63. Dennis

    May 8, 2012 at 10:05 am

    I am very sorry for your losses. Your recent blogs, while sad, have been necessary for you to deal with your grief, while at the same time educating other horse owners and potential owners of what is inevitably in store for them. My prayers are with you, your family, and Popcorn.

  64. Michelle

    May 8, 2012 at 10:06 am

    I cried when I read your post Stacy. He was a special horse and my heart breaks for you. On behalf of horsemen and women everywhere, thank you for sharing your journey even this one with a sad end. We all learned from it.

  65. Jan Fletcher

    May 8, 2012 at 10:06 am

    We are here for you,
    my distant friend.
    We hold your hand in the darkened forest
    as you lead your companion one last time.

    We tie white feathers into the mane,
    to help speed the flight for this final journey.

    We stand with you,
    at the edge of that forest,
    as your companion steps into that open meadow,
    surrendering at last the limits of this place,
    free now,
    finally free.

    We walk with you,
    along the meadow,
    stealing glimpses of your noble, dear one,
    running along side on the edge of the horizon,
    leaping hills, mountains, cloud banks, and then,
    into the golden eye of the sun.

    And we stay with you in the silence,
    for you are never alone,
    and with you,
    we remember.

  66. Kate Donahue

    May 8, 2012 at 10:12 am

    Stacy, I am so sorry to hear about Vaquero – I think that having your heart broken by saying goodbye shows that it does what God has intended for you…you have Loved and have been Loved by so many – four-legged and two-legged creatures. Sending you big hugs -may your heart heal as time and memories fill you up again. Xo

  67. Jessie

    May 8, 2012 at 10:13 am

    I am so very sorry you have had so many losses in a row–it really does make things harder because you haven’t had the time to emotionally come to terms with the last loss when the next one hits you. The feelings are compounded and you find yourself in a deep hole. In 2008 I had so many losses: I lost my beloved Sheltie to cancer; I leased three horses to one lady and only got one back alive, badly emaciated; I had to put down a mare because her arthritis had gotten too bad; a sweet mare I had rescued and had given to a friend to try to finish rehabilitating her had to be euthanized; the very first mare I bred and raised was lost to colic while at the trainers; another colt I bred and raised ran through a fence breaking his leg; and a stallion I rescued and gave to a lady in California passed away. It was a really rough year. My point in writing all this is that although it seems like so much right now–it makes you feel like an emotional zombie–be patient with yourself and allow yourself all the time you need. Times like this make you want to make rash decisions or just quit horses altogether, but just know those feelings are natural and eventually the anger and hurt will fade. The hurt never goes away all together, but there is a point when it does become bearable, and then the love and the memories you have made emerge stronger than ever.

  68. Margie

    May 8, 2012 at 10:16 am

    I feel your pain and am so sorry for your losses – that is a beautiful poem Maria has shared with you – they have been the luckiest to have you in their lives. 🙂 Mx

  69. Melody

    May 8, 2012 at 10:17 am

    I am sad to hear about Vaquero- You were given many gifts hold the memories tight for they can’t be taken from you. Celebrate their lives and live each like it is your last. I am sure the stall will be occupied again some day. Popcorn still needs you and others as well. Your blogs will be happy again someday. They walk with you in spirit.

  70. Dawn Beard

    May 8, 2012 at 10:17 am

    Thank you for sharing Stacy. This is the most difficult time… when we have to say goodbye. It does carve a hole right thru us. Grief is a feeling like no other. But grief with loneliness may be worse, if that is possible. Your gorgeous Vaquero runs free in Light, in magnificent grace, in beauty and love. He joins all your sweethearts in the sparkling winds and fat grass of Creation’s pastures. I have to think a well loved horse looks back and thinks of ‘what a lucky guy (or gal) I was to have lived with them!’ Love knows no boundaries in space and time. It all ways lives on.
    After a while… it will get easier. Hugs to you and yours.

  71. Kathryn Lee (@KathrynLee32)

    May 8, 2012 at 10:20 am

    Part of life, especially owning horses/animals in general, is saying goodbye. It is never easy and we never want to let go. He was a very special horse, and I know he knew he was loved. Praying for you in this difficult time.

  72. Gabrielle

    May 8, 2012 at 10:50 am

    I can say I know how you feel, after I lost my “old man”, I called him that because he had the spirit of an old man and it seemed all he wanted to do was be with me, and I promise if this horse could come inside and sleep in my bed with me, he would do it in a heart-beat!
    Like always before work i went out to his pasture to play with him and just love on him, i never rode this horse with a saddle!, i even thought about calling in “sick” to work so i could just stay out there with him, but i didnt, however i did promise him id bring him home his favorite treats as my way of saying sorry i did not stay. I was late to work that day, and all i could think about was him, then not even an hour later my dad called and said “red”, his real name, is down and we cant get him up! I left work and rushed home, calling every vet with-in west Tn on my way, I spent every second outside with him, not leaving his side for anything other than to get him a warmer blanket, when the vet arrived we learned he had a stroke and there was nothing we could do..
    I still cant go out to his pasture.. and this was January 7th 2012 , im just now able to tell his story and the part that will always break my heart, ive got a 2 year old niece, and she called him “her horse” she rode him all the time with me (bare back) and now every time i see her the first thing she says is ” i want to see my horse again, where is he?”

  73. Gayle Carbone

    May 8, 2012 at 10:53 am

    It’s heartbreaking. I know that I have felt so alone during my own grief. I hold dear to the memories they gave me and give my love to another, because my life feels empty if I don’t share that love with another horse. God Bless you as you mourn and heal.

  74. dfarmhorses

    May 8, 2012 at 10:57 am

    Stacy, I feel for you more than you can imagine. I also found myself at Roode and Riddle in December with a horse that was 8 who had the promise to be an unbelievable jumper but was showing string halt signs. I too went through the different tests you did only to find out he also had a genetic bone deformity and I had to put him down. Then just 2 months later my most special horse who was ready to make his debute in the international show ring suddenly had severe neurological signs (like your video of Vaquero) and I immediately brought him to RREH (I couldn’t believe I was there again!) and he had EPM. So he also was on the IV drip and what all. I am fortunate that he is still alive but will be a pasture pet from now on. It seems this is a bad year for horse loss- several people I know have also lost more than 1 horse each this year. All I can think is there must be a lot of horse lovers in heaven right now enjoying some nice horses 😉

  75. Kim

    May 8, 2012 at 10:59 am

    Hugs and prayers, Stacy!

  76. Kristi

    May 8, 2012 at 11:02 am

    I’m so sad for you Stacy. My heart is aching. I know the strong bond we have with our beloved horses. I’ve watched you perform and was always amazed at what you do. It always brings tears to my eyes. You are truely amazing. I can’t even imagine the type of relationship you must have with your horses to do what you do. Love and prayers being sent your way.

  77. horsehavenabc

    May 8, 2012 at 11:03 am

    One of the greatest gifts God has given me is laughter through my tears… when I can be grateful and enjoy ‘what is’ at the same time that I grieve for ‘what was’ I receive healing. So that is what I wish for you – Laughter through your tears.

  78. Anita Dolan

    May 8, 2012 at 11:05 am

    I am SO sorry Stacy. What a difficult five months you have had . . . know that you did everything humanly possible for Vaquero and try to find some peace in that. We are ‘loaned’ our horses for sometimes a short while, and it is our job and responsibility to do our best for them, love them, and care for them until they are no longer able to be with us. Many people are thinking of you and praying for you during this difficult time. I hope you feel our strength, love and support, because, as fellow horse lovers, we can all relate to how you are feeling and we hurt with you.

  79. Edward H Ross

    May 8, 2012 at 11:05 am

    The loss of a close friend or pet is always very difficult, You have to look at the bright side and remember the great times God gave you to share together.

  80. Martie

    May 8, 2012 at 11:12 am

    Such a beautiful poem. My Zoe’s stall remains empty. I still cry when I think about her. My husband built by hand, a memorial for her; Zoe’s pond. A place I can go to reflect on the memories. This past year, I felt a twinge and I felt she was telling me it was “Ok”. You see, I haven’t ridden since I lost her in 2007. We are expecting our first foal on the farm in 2013. I feel the rebirth of hope and am looking forward to loving again – that special love and bond. Most of all…. I look forward to riding again. I’ve learned that we are allowed to be stewards of God’s precious creatures. It is an honor. If we do our job well, it is supposed to hurt when they leave. But, in time we learn to understand. It is a lesson our Heavenly Father wishes us to learn to. I pray that in time, peace will fill your heart instead of the hurt.

  81. Rosemary

    May 8, 2012 at 11:14 am

    I lost my horse in January so I know exactly how you feel. It seemed so unfair at the time that everyone else at our barn still had their horse. Vacquero and Roxy are in heaven with my Grady, eating alfalfa:)

  82. Helen Frame

    May 8, 2012 at 11:19 am

    Stacy, all who know you and knew yourr horses Roxy and Vaquero for me feel your broken heart as our hearts feel broken too… are a very special human being with the most incredible horse sense and the way you touched your horses and allowed us to witness is a memory I hold close on my heart and I work hard at giving that touch to my horse….with all your love you will fill that empty stall

  83. Susan Acree

    May 8, 2012 at 11:20 am

    I, too, have experienced this devastating and unexpected loss. I have started a blog called the Equine Grief Relief Forum to help all of us through these terrible times.
    With love and support,

  84. jo

    May 8, 2012 at 11:24 am

    Stacy,nothing can be said to ease the grief and heat break you are feeling…..I know the feeling all too well. Time will help,but the empty stall will always remain,no matter who resides in it.
    I GOT TO THE POINT WHERE ” NO MORE ANIMALS” , but you know that will not happen: Here is something somebody sent me once upon a time and you may have read it, but it bears repeating:


    When your day seems out of balance
    and so many things go wrong….
    When people fight around you
    and the day drags on so long…

    When parents act like children,
    in-laws make you think ” Divorce”…
    Go out into your pasture…
    and wrap your arms around your horse.

    His gentle breath enfolds you,
    and he watches with those eyes.
    He might not have a PhD,
    but he is, oh so wise !

    His head rests on your shoulder.
    You embrace him oh so tight.
    He puts your world in balance,
    and makes it seen all right.

    Your tears they soon stop flowing.
    The tension is now eased.
    The garbage has been lifted,
    and you’re quiet and at peace.

    So when you need the balance
    from circumstances in your day…
    The best therapy that you can seek…
    is out there eating hay !!

    Author Unknown

    You will remember the good times.
    They can never be replaced.
    They were one of your children.


  85. Dee

    May 8, 2012 at 11:24 am

    That poem is actually a poem in your post is called “For All Parents”. It was sent to my parents, from a friend, after my younger brother was killed and by strange coincidence, May 7 it was 29 years ago. It helped them a great deal with the loss! I hope it helps you with yours as well!!
    I believe everything happens for a reason, it may not always be apparent to us. I hope as time goes by and the hurt is less, that you kind find the good in the past few months. Remember all those times and get past the pain, try to forget the painful images left and replace them with beautiful ones of your rides and shows. Let that be how you remember!! Peace and prayers go out to all they have touched.

  86. Sandra

    May 8, 2012 at 11:25 am

    I’m so sorry for your loss. The empty stall, unused water bucket, leftover halters are so painful. I’ve had to deal with horses I was close to passing on, but I’ve been fortunate because it was expected (old age) for most. After I traveled and offered over 100 hours of care for a sick mare at a rescue, she simply could not recover, and we lost her.The day before she died, she came over to my lunch table and had lunch with me. Your horses were lucky to have you in their life, and I look forward to brighter days for you ahead. Thank you for sharing.

  87. Wendy Russ

    May 8, 2012 at 11:31 am

    I thought of you last night when I walked into my barn and gave notice to my empty stall. We lost Echo just a couple of months ago. Even tho he was 26 he was gone so suddenly and his empty stall was shocking to me. That 1st day I just sat in the barn and cried. I have now made it somewhat of a shrine/grooming stall where I have pictures and memorbillia of Echo and River who he is now burried beside. It makes me feel good to see the stall now and remember the good times. You sure had them with Vaquero…. may you never forget even as your sorrow eases.

  88. Joanne

    May 8, 2012 at 11:48 am

    Stacy I’m so sorry for your loss I too know what your heart is feeling….I lost one to a storm he was 24months old . Finding him laying there I lost it crying and holding him my husband had to pull me off of him! I will never for get him R.I.P Thunder .

  89. Leslie Zvolanek

    May 8, 2012 at 11:50 am

    I wish my/our words could ease that deep, horrible heartache – Just know how I feel for you – It’s undescribable – I’m so very glad you are focusing on the blessings, the gifts, the lingering touches in you, of all these blessings – which, at least sometimes, will bring back your own heartaches … God be with you, all, and my support, here, as little as it may be

  90. Barrie Getz

    May 8, 2012 at 11:54 am


    Words cannot express the feeling a horse-mom endures, when they lose a beloved partner. I’ve been around that bend many times before… and each time I hear of the passing, of a fellow equine; I cry. God works in mysterious ways. He brings before us, the beauty and grace of beloved friends; our horses… then when we strive for excellence; he grants us with the ability to soar beyond our means together! But when he feels as though, our friends have served our lives, with enough purpose… enough laughter… enough love… they are whisked away from here, and given a chance at another wonderful life in Heaven.
    My heart cries for you, Stacy… for all of the beloved friends you’ve loved, and lost. For all of the spectacular rides, both Vaquero and Roxy gave you — allowing the rest of us to dream alongside you… No greater gift in the world could have been bestowed upon you; than the chance to share such a small part of your life, with those two incredible equines.

    To quote the brilliant Enrique Iglesias, in his song “Hero”….

    “Would you dance… if I asked you to dance…
    Would you run, and never look back…
    Would you cry, if you saw me crying…
    Would you save my soul tonight.

    I can be your hero baby….
    I will kiss away your pain…
    I will stand by you forever…
    You, can take my breath away.”

    Horses are magical… and they will “always” be there, watching over us; long after they’ve gone home to god. I believe in that, and I hope you can someday feel the same. Vaquero and Roxy will always be with you; watching you with the youngsters; and in the ring with you on your many incredible rides to come.

    God bless,
    – Barrie Getz

  91. Eileen

    May 8, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    Stacy, I hear your sadness and felt it myself as well. Having a faithful companion leave the Earth before us can “drop us to our knees”….I know I did. I keep her halter, bridle and saddle with all the great memories to behold…let those who’ve past live forever in our hearts…

  92. Smoki

    May 8, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    For Stacy – I have watched you ride and train via youtube, etc. I am an older woman who will never have the talent and chances you have had, but feel like I have shared a little (and learned a lot!) watching your performances. I purchased one of your horse balls for my horse – we had so much fun with it. Lost it in a fire last year (thankfully no horses or hay lost!) but I do plan to replace it. I have reposted the poem from above on fb, as I felt it needed to be shared to my friends who have lost horses they loved, I hope that’s okay. I know how hard it is to lose one that you have worked with and loved. God Bless.

  93. marla

    May 8, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    You truly have care, compassion, love…. Horses are a huge part of my life and having one pass on leaves a huge void in life! I am sorry for your hard bumpy few months!

  94. Candace

    May 8, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    That poem was perfect and beautiful.. Made me cry.. I’m so sorry for your loss

  95. sandy vickrey

    May 8, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    Love to you, Stacy. We know too well “the empty stall.”
    Gary and Sandy Vickrey
    Cedaredge, CO

  96. Sheri

    May 8, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    My heart aches for you. The video of him at his stall and brought me to tears. I can’t imagine the whole in your heart right now but in time God will bless you with another that will need you as much as you will need him.

  97. Julia

    May 8, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    Oh no! I had hoped whatever it was he would recover and although I don’t know you or Vaquero I am so sad for you! I can only imagine the grief. I’ve only had my own horses for five years so it is a grief I know I will have to experience and I doubt I am in any way (or ever will be) prepared for. My prayers for you!

  98. Brenda Fehr

    May 8, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve lost your beloved Vaquero. I’ve also dealt with this very same thing. Two years ago, we lost a beautiful red roan yearling filly (registered QH) who had all the same symptoms. She was diagnosed with the same condition, a bony growth that went into her spine. We immediately had her euthanized for her sake, it wouldn’t have been fair to even think of keeping her alive. Hard as it is, you did the right thing for your horse. May God fill your heart with his everlasting love and comfort.

  99. Debbie Knebel

    May 8, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    Stacy, my heart aches for you. Reading of your loss brings tears as I too, have an empty stall that was not anticipated. I know your faith is strong. God has used you to bring about changes in some people’s methods with animals but most importantly to bring others to know Him. God is Love! I pray that His love and comfort surround you and your family and bring many others to fill the empty stalls. After losing my dear Sunday on Feb. 7, I choose to move his brother into the empty stall. I think we are both comforted by the move and I pray that God allows us both some time before we are confronted with another loss. Thank you for sharing your heart and the poem with us all. God bless you!

  100. sonja

    May 8, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    Stacy I am so sorry for the losses you have had lately. Just remember that you will see them again one day. Your Dad and all the horses that been a part of your life will be at Heavens Gate when you get there. What a Great time that will be.I maynot be able to ride here but when I get to Heaven I will be with the horses just where I want to be. I know I will see you there too.I smile and cry every time I watch you ride cause thats how I want to ride some day. You and your horses touch so many lives even if we think Its to sudden for them to go. Our horses are like our children we only get to borrow them for awhile and we need to love every minute of it no matter how long it is. God knows how much you love them and will be there to confort you all.You and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.

  101. Holli

    May 8, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    Our old show gelding coliced and had to be put down a little over a month ago. It was devastating. I refrained from telling my non-horse friends how difficult the loss has been, because, honestly, they wouldn’t understand.

    It is reassuring to know that I am not the only one that mourns the loss of our horses so deeply and truly.

    I will share with you what my dad said when we had to put our gelding down. “If you never have something, you never lose anything.”

    • Stacy

      May 8, 2012 at 5:18 pm

      I’m adding that to my collection of quotes.

  102. Linda Mason

    May 8, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    As devastated as I was to hear the news, and as I sit here crying…. I cannot imagine the pain you are feeling. I’m praying for you, for you to have peace. Over the rainbow…. we’ll meet again.

  103. Tina Karlen

    May 8, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    Stacy, I am so sorry for your losses, and yes, I have walked that mile in your shoes, and it is never easy. You are so right about the empty stall being the hardest thing to face, and how the other horses that need and love you can help to get past the pain.

    I wanted to share this, even if it makes me cry every time I read it.

    and he looked deep into my eyes
    and he said YOU have always been the center of my universe, I have loved YOU always.

    I pressed my head into his and assured him that I was here as I had always been here.

    and he looked deep into my heart
    and he asked me “How much do you love me?”
    and I stroked his face smoothing closed his eyes and I replied
    “With all my heart”

    and then, he looked deep into my soul
    and he asked me
    “Do you love me enough to let me go?”
    And I held him close and replied softly…………….. YES.

  104. Jeanette Rodriguez

    May 8, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss Stacey. I have been there. Vaquero will Never be forgotten. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  105. Elaine Gray

    May 8, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    So sorry for your loss Stacy. Such a hard decision to make but you found the courage to do the right thing by him. My thoughts are with you. Elaine Gray, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. x

  106. Annie Conn

    May 8, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    I am so sorry for your losses, Stacy. We horse people know actually what you mean and are so touched by your honestly through these tough times. We all know there are no words that can really help. But death is a transformation we all know you will transform this in to something beautiful. You and your horses are in my thoughts.

  107. MyDorena

    May 8, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    Someone used to tell me that whenever any being, human or animal, dies, they all get to the same heaven. They are all free to go wherever they please and when you die, those who have been special to you and to whom you have been special, they’ll willingly come to you and stay with you forever.

    So, don’t look back at the empty stalls but look forward to seeing them all again one day

  108. Jackie Turnbull

    May 8, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    My heart breaks for you Stacy over the loss you have suffered this year of your 2 great horses. Having trained horses most of my life and make my living with them as you do, I understand the emptiness that is left in the stall and your heart. The Lord blessed you with talent and wonderful horses to express your God given gift with and he will continue to do so. I know you know this and will take the time to morn and find solace in knowing what a blessing you have had and will have again in the future. Thank you for sharing your experience and thus helping others who will ride down that path.

  109. Ralf Schulz

    May 8, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    stacy we love you! thanks for your help and inspiration!!Don`t give up!!god bless you!!!

  110. twodoglady

    May 8, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    The poem leaves a message…….to continue to love, to go forward, to look back with enjoyment and also sorrow. You Stacey are made of flexible willow, you will remember and you will hurt for a time be it long or short. You will face the empty stall, you will at some point put another in that stall. You will carry on the legacy of Roxy and Vaquero…….because even though these friends are gone you will not be sad because they are over, you will smile because they happened to you and you have the skill, ability and talent to begin again. That is what life is…….this is the season for mouring, but this too shall pass and you will feel whole again. As you have told us all, Smile, because it happened. I will pray for courage and strength, for comfort and steadfast faith, that soon you will be able to move forward.

  111. Micayla

    May 8, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    I believe that with the bad, a greater good is coming. Sometimes we have to lose the most important things in our life in order to re-evalute things. But with God’s grace, a greater love & good always comes out of dark times. I will be praying for courage and faith for you, Stacey. You have encouraged me without words to start training a mustang cross mare that was becoming dangerous because I wanted what you & Roxy had. Chica is no registered horse but she has more heart than 1,000’s of horses I’ve met. She helped me heal when I lost my papa just several months back and it’s amazing to have people tell me that they didn’t expect a 16 yr old girl that could tip the scales at 90lbs soaking wet have such a bond with a horse. Thank you for encouraging me to try working with Chica. I hope that brighter things are coming for you. ❤

  112. Karen

    May 8, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    I’m so so sad to hear what has happened. I watched you at Equine Affaire with him. I have been following your posts and when I read yesterday’s, I cried with you. I pray God give you the strength to endure. Grieving is important. It surely gives me a different perspective as I go out to my barn… God Bless.. Your fellow mounted shooting friend, Karen

  113. Jan Bradbury

    May 8, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    Not much left to say; others have said it so well, so many different ways. It just seems important for you to know our hearts ache with your loss, reminded of so many of our own. The price is high, and it doesn’t seem fair they age so much faster than we do, let alone to lose them so early or in their prime. It is the price we willingly pay over and over, for the wonder, pleasure and love that God packs into a horse for us. God is good, and He will see you through, Stacy.

  114. Dawn Pohl

    May 8, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    Stacy, sorry for your loss. I truly understand the sadness. When we lost Whizard Jac I was not able to go to the barn for a year. I was so lucky to have a sweet partner (my husband) to go take care of things out there. But not a day goes by that I don’t miss him. He is buried by my studio so I nod to him each day when I head out there to work/play. Dawn

    • Helen Chamberlain

      May 19, 2012 at 9:44 pm

      Dawn, while reading these blogs of all the special horses that we have been blessed with… I spend everyday being thankful for the mare that is in my barn !! My Whizard Jac mare that I bought from you !! Beautiful Lil Whiz… love her so much it scares me !! Vaquero was truely special… like Whizard Jac !! When they are gone we think that that hurt will never stop… but thankfully… the love never ends !! Life renews !!

  115. Amy O'Connor

    May 8, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    My heart breaks for you Stacy. Loss is never truly expected, only known. Thank you for sharing your beautiful horses and your wonderful talent with us for so many years. I wish it could have been longer for Vaquero, but he had a lovely life with you and will be forever remembered in the hearts of many. God Bless You.

  116. helen mausecz victoria australia

    May 8, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    I have had to give 3 of my horses the “green dream” and each time they looked deep into my eyes with such love and the question “do you love me enough to let me go ” the answer had to be yes because otherwise I would be wanting them to stay because of me and that would be purely selfish.I still shed tears over them the most recent was my old man Raf AND AT 38 I guess you could say his time had comeand even though the decision is hard when they look at you with such trust and love and ask that question with their eyes how can the answer be no .Heaven has a fabulous herdno two ways about it ! .The prayer of St Francis is Lord help me to accept the things I cannot change……..Courage to change yhe things I can and wisdom to know the the difference .Stacey you certainly had this courage for trying and the wisdom to make the right decision ,from many miles away you are in my thoughts and prayers in this time of grief

  117. Nancy Mcmillan

    May 8, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    So sorry for your losses. It is hard to lose a partner, someone who listened to you when nobody else would, the ones that fulfilled your dreams or promised a bright future. They were there for you and made your day brighter. Although you are griveing now, just ask yourself, would your life be better if your paths had never crossed. You know the answer. Keep that thought close, it will help you to remember all the good things.

  118. sweetlillena

    May 8, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    We all mourn with you for these great horses. Thanks for sharing them with us. This post was moving to me as an equine veterinarian and horse owner. I remember a quote from Pete Kyle’s website-“Savor the memories”.

  119. Bonnie Daines

    May 8, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    To live in the hearts of those we love is not to die. … God Bless

  120. Marilyn Coussoule

    May 8, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    So so sorry for your loss, Stacy. You and your horse friends have been such a wonderful inspiration, it’s hard to see such tragedy. I hope your memories and the love of the horse community helps some. We all cry with you.

  121. Jan Eiler

    May 8, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    Stacy, I am so sorry for your losses. It seems most everything has already been said in the notes before. I too, have lost some of my best “friends”, some of them were older, my golden mare was 20, and some were younger, however it always hurt. My father-in-law told me “It is better to have a death outside the home than in the home”. He was a farmer for many years and always had animals on the farm, he started farming with horses, and he had a dairy herd. Although I still felt bad and hurt inside, it made me stop and thank the Lord that my family was safe. In that way, I could find some peace. Friends, i.e. horses, dogs come and go through our lives, but family is forever. I know you grieve your losses, but thank the Lord you have your beautiful family with you and give your boys hugs. Family love will help you through this. My prayers are with you and yours!

    • Stacy

      May 10, 2012 at 10:18 pm

      My husband kept saying that too. It is true, I don’t even want to imagine losing a child.

  122. Gwen

    May 8, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    My heart aches for you. I can’t even imagine having so many horrible losses in such a short time. Even the pain of losing them one at a time has been enough for me to consider giving up them all together at least once. I pray that the pain will lighten for you over time, and that you can go years without losing another partner and friend.

    I am a firm believer that God intends for us to learn from every person and every experience He brings into our lives, including those with our horses. May you always remember what you learned from them and the joy they brought to you before the pain.

    As you struggle on those difficult days, remember also how many others have also learned from you and your amazing horses. I had the pleasure of taking my 10 year old daughter to see you at Equine Affaire. To be honest, I had to drag her away from the barrel racers to attend your session but I really wanted to see you. In then end she was the one laughing the hardest at your stories and hanging on your every word. You changed a life that day, you really did. You have inspired her so much, that when she was given an assignment at school this week to do a report on a famous Ohioan, she chose you. Know that you make a difference. You really do. To her, it wasn’t your amazing ride on Roxy, or your stellar reputation, that captivated her – it was the fact that you were a normal everyday kid like her who made her dreams come true. So, thank you. Thank you for not giving up and making that painful trip past his empty stall so that you can continue not only to teach us but to inspire us to dream bigger and work harder. We feel your pain and pray your load lightens soon. 😦

    • Stacy

      May 10, 2012 at 10:17 pm

      From a kid who is living her dream, thank you for this reminder. Say ‘hi’ to your daughter for me…I used to barrel race too!

  123. Mary

    May 8, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    Glad to hear your heart has not hardened. Sorry to hear about all of the loss. The great thing about going to the barn is there is always someone who will listen.

  124. Angie

    May 8, 2012 at 10:46 pm

    How heartbreaking! Last year I lost my 14-year-old equine friend after a 4-month battle with an infection. It was my first experience losing a horse. I felt so helpless. I had done everything I could, but it wasn’t enough. Thankfully I had another horse that I could focus my attention on. Some days it really helped just to have another horse to throw my arms around. At least you have Popcorn to help you through your saddness. My heart goes out to you.

  125. Vicky

    May 8, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    Stacy, I am so sorry to hear this sad news. It has been a very hard few months for you I know. Take the time you need to heal. You know that even though it hurts when they leave, if you hadn’t had them in your life there would have been a larger empty spot in your heart. The loss we feel when they are taken away just shows how much love was there when they were here. Hugs to you!! He is in a better place now where he can run with his friends and be free of pain. We will all meet him, Roxy and Bay some day. .

  126. Anne Goddard

    May 9, 2012 at 12:13 am

    Blessings to you and angels guide your path. . .so very sorry you have lost your beloved horses. . .

  127. nldperformance

    May 9, 2012 at 12:48 am

    So sorry for your loss! Its been a tough year for everyone! It can only get better from here!

  128. Heather

    May 9, 2012 at 1:06 am

    Did varaque have to be put down? I am so sorry for the last 5 months. Best wishes to you and your family. I know how much you loved your horses and am so sorry…:(

  129. Breeanna Markowitz

    May 9, 2012 at 1:32 am

    Stacy you are my role model and my idol of the horse world. I met you for the first time at equine affair this past month and I was so excited and still am every time I look at my poster of Roxy on my wall that you signed. “Ride with faith” every time i go into the arena, and even every time I get on one of my two horses i think of that and that’s exactly what i do. I know what it’s like to go through the loss of a horse, i lost what i considered my first horse (she wasn’t my first but the first i had to work in order to pay for and the horse i learned everything on) a year and 3 months ago. I lost her Feb 23 due to colic. it was a heartbreaking experience and a lady at my barn who recently brought home a rescue (long story) told my best friend’s mom who’s house i boarded at that if i lost Barbie she would give me Carmella. All i kept thinking was i don’t care if Barbie can never show again, i don’t care if she can never be ridden again, all i want is to be able to go in the barn and her to be there for me when i’m having a bad day. the next morning my dad and i decided it was best for her to put her down. i ended up getting that horse, she was 8 and never taught to do anything but walk (and even that was difficult) i have had her a year and almost 2 months now and she has come a long long way. she’s taught me so much because i trained her myself (unlike barbie). i now have an english horse that i got for christmas who was off the track. he’s the most loving and caring horse i have probably ever seen. Good does come from tragic things, though i lost the horse who i thought would be the only horse i would ever love my entire life, i gained 2 amazing horses who surprise me more and more every single day. I still think of barbie every day, and I don’t think that will ever change, but I remember the good times and I see a little of her in my two horses and that keeps me going.

  130. Tracy Chapman

    May 9, 2012 at 7:56 am

    My heart is breaking with you Stacy. It has been hard reading your blog this past week and a bit but I can only imagine how much pain you are feeling in real life…..The horses you have had and lost are richer for having you in their lives as a teacher, carer and passenger. It is clear they were loved, respected, cared for and safe….I can only guess that their last moments – although sad – were delivered with kindness and love. I have loved and lost too many animals in this life of 45years…Each one of them has not been easy to let go but I am the richer for having them there for their time, no matter how short and they have all died peacefully and respectfully with all the love I could muster. It is lovely to see such honest and pure emotion….You write as you ride – with grace, honesty and beauty. You know that your raw emotions will come to pass but it will NEVER take away the time you shared with your horses and you are a richer person for that….We all are…..

  131. Andy

    May 9, 2012 at 8:06 am

    Stacy I too have had the heavy heart of an empty stall all too often. I have buried 4 of my old friends, and that empty stall is gut wrenching. My stall bothered me so much, it was the first stall upon entering the barn, that I took it down and parked the lawn mower there.

    I couldn’t keep looking for that sweet face and welcoming nicker…. so I tore it down.

    My heart goes out to you and your recent loss… you have suffered so much loss of late. But you must know you did all you could, and you gave him the diginty and respect he deserved in the end.

    Hugs to you and yours.

  132. Dee

    May 9, 2012 at 8:26 am

    So sorry you are going through this. I have lost two horses unexpectedly in the last couple of years. It’s amazing how huge a hole a horse can leave behind. I’ve lost many, many dogs and cats over the years, but although well loved, the loss can’t compare with that of a horse…

  133. Bonnie Kalmar

    May 9, 2012 at 8:59 am

    I am so sorry for all of this! I had a bad year like this when I was 15 – I lost my first horse, my mother, & my dog in a span of 5 months. It was so painful. It’s true that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger… but geez, it’s not very much fun going through the process. The beauty of this is that there are horses that are waiting to be great, and if there is any horsewoman who can do it, it’s YOU, Stacey Westfall! Not all people have your gift! When you finally fill that empty stall, it will be with a great one because YOU are a great one. Good luck going through the grief process and post all the sappy blogs you would like. We are hear to listen!

  134. Missie

    May 9, 2012 at 9:51 am

    I’m so sorry Stacey. It’s the burden we take on ourselves when we care for a being with a live expectancy less than ours.

  135. Lisa and Boomse (MI Percheron in training)

    May 9, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    Those of us horse (animal) people know all too well, Gretchen Jackson, Barbaro’s owner said it well, “grief is the price of love”. You were blessed to have horses like this in your life and indeed what you showed to the world with Vaquero and Roxy (and Popcorn) are the hoofprints they have left on our hearts too. I do thank the media age and my DVD collection, since you and their beauty will live on. It is a bit heart wrenching what songs you happened to have picked for their standout bridleless performances. A divine hand, perhaps?

  136. Vickie

    May 9, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    Like so many others have said so well, my heart goes out to you. You and your horses have been such an inspiration to me and if you even get one tiny bit of the easing of your pain from all these posts it will be just the tip of the iceberg of what you have given us. Losing a horse leaves a very large hole in one’s life that only time can start to close…. take care, Stacy, and know that you have many many people wishing the best for you.

    • Stacy

      May 10, 2012 at 10:09 pm

      They do help. Really, they do. Thank you everyone.

  137. mirjam bauer

    May 9, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    Dear Stacey,
    My friends and I just had the privilege in seeing you in Ohio at the horse Expo. When my friend called me today to share the news about Vaquero, I was shocked. I watched the video on your blog and cried my eyes out, not only for you but for myself. This past March, on my birthday I had to put down one of my horses. He was 26 with health issues so it was no surprise but he also was my baby. I swear you can never prepare yourself for such a moment. My heart goes out to you!! I am so sorry for your loss and wish you all the strength in the world.

  138. Wendy Stommel

    May 9, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    Stacy,,, I know how you feel!! When I had to put my mare down 20 years ago,, it broke my heart!! I stopped riding all together and stopped going to the barn. I now wish that I stayed involved with horses!!! Over the past 2 years I became involved with Freemdom Hill Horse rescue and now Lilly Pond Foal Rescue in Maryland. I adopted 2 horses from Freedom Hill and 1 from Lilly Pond Foal Rescue! I know one day I will have to face that type of heart ache again! However life and horses do go on!! You are an amazing rider and your horses need you!! My mom always says Everything happens for a reason!! We may not know why at the time and we may never know!! I walked away 20 years ago and I now wish I had forced myself to ride again back then!! Trust me when I say “stay involved”!! Your other horses need you and you need to continue to ride!!! Your other buddies crossed the rainbow bridge and are now running and playing in green pastures, pain free!!! You are a huge inspiration to me and I am sure many others!!! Be strong and as they say,, when you fall off that horse get right back up and ride!!!! Many thoughts and prayers are with you!!! Wendy

  139. lindakaplan

    May 9, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    On losing those we love – We’ve all been there or will be if we are fortunate to live long enough. Living is hard .Losing a loving friend and companion, harder. Stay strong.

  140. Theresa Carey

    May 9, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    That poem is the most comforting thing I have ever heard. I keep re-reading it, and cry every time. But, it is a healing cry, thinking of not only your loss, but, my own from the past. Thanks for sharing. I hope you heal quickly and continue to enrich the lives of horses and people without hesitating to love completely (and risk losing again). Praying for you, and those effected by this loss.

  141. janelittledeer

    May 10, 2012 at 12:08 am

    Very sad. I feel your pain. May you have comfort in the knowledge that everlasting life is just begining now for your beloved horse! He will send you “signs” from the other side! Be open to them! You will know in your heart when you experience these signs. Love lives on forever. One day we will be together again…in a perfect forever after! Blessings and healing energy! ❤

  142. Connie

    May 10, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    I am very sorry to hear of your loss. I have lost three of my babies this year. One expected and two shocks. The emptiness is horrible even though I have others. It
    will get better. We will move on. And someday if we are the people our pets think we are we will be together with them again. If you do not already know the poem search “Rainbow Bridge”.

  143. abbey good

    May 12, 2012 at 6:31 am

    so sorry for your loss.. 😦 your so lucky you still have popcorn and a stable full of horses. I recently lost my horse too, and i miss him so much. The problem is, my stable is empty now. No sweet horses like popcorn to cuddle with. Always be thankful for every single horse you have, and i know you are, and seeing how much you love them all just makes me so happy. ❤

  144. Erin/IAm

    May 12, 2012 at 8:17 am

    The poem is beautiful…thanks for sharing that.
    My heart goes out to you and your family. I was once told that when we leave here, our human connects come to greet us, but are usually ‘run over’ by our animal connects…Always makes me giggle picturing us horsie folk passing on with a stampede parade of 4-leggeds who went before us…horses, cats, dogs…ya know we’ve got/had them all!:) Our human angels better make lots of room for our brood of critter greeters, huh?

    Every now & then, a warm snort will cross your cheek or hand, or you’ll feel a ‘lean’ on your shoulder…They are there.:)

    Sendin’ the Love to All…All Ways & Always!

  145. Helen Chamberlain

    May 19, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    While reading these blogs of all the incredible horses that we have been blessed with… I spend everyday being thankful for the horses that are in my barn !! Vaquero was truely special !! When they are gone we think that that hurt will never stop… but thankfully… the love never ends !! Life renews !!

  146. Jody Brittain

    May 25, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Very beautiful poem! Send hugs, and prayers your way.

  147. Priscilla Brown

    June 10, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    It saddens me to read of your loss and opens old wounds of my own. The special love and bond one can have with their companion, their buddy and yes an ear when you are sad. So sorry for your loss. Great videos of Vaquero playing with his buddies in the mud, great memories you will always have of him. My tears and prayers are with you.

  148. Maureen Johnson

    July 2, 2012 at 11:44 pm

    i am so very sorry for the loss of such an amazing natural and connected partnership. I’ve experienced such loss and know the depth ………………..

  149. David Hatten

    July 3, 2012 at 8:57 am


    My heart goes out to you for the loss of both of your precious horses. For many of us, animals are a part of our family and the loss of one of them hurts just like losing a family member.

    As you go through this period of grief, focus on the great memories you have of them and then look forward to the next horse that God will give you to love. There is another horse out there that needs the love that only you will be able to give them. God is preparing you and the horse for each other. Even though this new one will not replace the other two he will be so unique in his own way and he will consume your heart just as the others did.

    Mourn…be strong. God’s horse is waiting for you.

    David Hatten

  150. Lina

    July 8, 2012 at 3:43 am

    Hi stacy

    I want to share with you a poem that has been very comforting to me. It´s also a reminder that we must cherish and learn from the friends we have in our lives right now.
    The poem is really about people but I think it also applies to our animals.

    When somone comes into yor life…

    People come into your path for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
    When you know which one it is, you will know what to do with that person.
    When someone is in your life for a REASON it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.

    They have come to assist you through a dificulty…
    To provide you with guidance and support…
    To aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually…
    They may seem like they are a godsend, and they are.
    They are there for the reason you need them to be.

    Then without any wrongdoing on your part, or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.
    Sometimes they die…
    Sometimes they walk away…
    Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand….
    What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled…
    Their work is done.
    The prayer you sent up has now been answered and now it is time to move on.

    Some people come into your life for a SEASON.
    Because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.
    They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.
    They may teach you something you have never done.
    They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.
    Believe it, it is real. But only for a season.

    LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons.
    Things you must build upon to have a solid emotional foundation.
    Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person, and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.
    It is said that love is blind, but friendship is clairvoyant.

    Thank you for being a part of my life…
    Whether you were a reason, a season or a lifetime

    Regards Lina

  151. Selene

    December 16, 2012 at 5:54 am

    August 20, 2012, I put down my baby girl Bug, she was a dream I had since I was 16, to raise my own foal. May 2011 I aquired her momma pregnant with her, and my life changed, then due too complications from a umbilical hernia?, I lost her, I have know idea how you did it with 3.

  152. HELENA

    September 27, 2013 at 6:11 pm


  153. Hillary Riley

    January 17, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    I am glad to know that I am not the only one that grieves so deeply over the lose of on of my equine babies. Horses were my first children and teachers in my life. I have had horse in my life for the past 33 years and those years were mostly filled with the joy of the ride, achievements in the show ring, or the pleasure of seeing some one else brought to he horse world. I’ve lost 3 in my lifetime. Chocolate was my first pony. I admit when Dad and I bought him, we knew nothing about horses. He died a few years later from EIA. When I was 17, I had my first real heart break. Her name was Skipper and I had her since I was 8 years old. She started off as Dad’s two year old and I just kinda took her from him. She had a filly named Dream that was right at weaning when she coliced and died. I found her in the turn out that morning. I couldn’t function and wouldn’t go anywhere. I even gave Dream away because I was so upset. I got Dream back 4 years ago, and she was pregnant but we didn’t know how far along. She had an amazing paint filly we named Comet. She was always gentle, fun to train, and we all had such high hopes in her. She was the last foal me and Daddy bred before he passed away on 2-20-12. She started losing weight a few months ago and I had her teeth and throat checked. Then she became way to picky of an eater. I checked with the vet and he said it was EPM, and we started her on the meds. She died a week later on Christmas Day this year. My heart is in so many pieces. I can’t stop crying, and I know things like this are gonna happen when you raise or train any kind of animal. I just can’t get over this one.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: