My new normal

Pat Nulis

On May 29th, my life has changed forever. It was on this date that my heart horse Cappy passed at the age of 29.  To be quite honest, living without him has been harder than I ever would imagine. It's also something that I've never experienced before. Although I've have had family members passed away, the grieving emotions that I have felt for Cappy don't even come close to what I have experienced in the past.

Cappy was the ying to my yang and my best friend. I realize for some people who are not horse people (animal lovers for that matter) could understand, but when you don't have a close family connection, sometimes animals fill that void and the emotional connection is just as deep if not deeper and that was the case for me. I also realized that a lot of my identity was with him and that my life was directed around him. For years we did not do family vacations both because I did not want to be far from him and I also needed to take care of him. I also had the financial responsibility of all of his expenses: board, vet, farrier, supplements, monthly medications, chiropractor etc. The budget was tight, compromises and concessions had to be made but that was a responsibility of having a horse that my I was only to happy to assume.

I can't go in a barn or go to a show anymore. I actually feel like I'm suffocating and I cannot look at a horse and this is so foreign to me. I HATE my new normal. Life is so different now. For the last 10 years I went from going to the barn 6 - 7 days a week to not going and spending time with him. My days always consisted of him. I miss everything about him: his neighs, him looking at me, his smell, him being dirty and having to wash him only to see him get dirty shortly thereafter. The only thing I have left of him are my pictures of us, my memories, his ashes, the little piece of braided mane, his brush and the ribbons we won. His brush is on my desk and everyday I smell it. I can smell the Laser Sheen I used to use on him.  The smell is slowly disappearing. 

I've considered shutting down my business. The reason why I started this business was because of him. Staying focused has been a challenge and the emotions of it all are quite overwhelming at times. I've decided not to for only 2 reasons. The first is I want to continue creating memories for people who buy my products for their horses. I want to bring a smile to their face when they see their pads and for them to evoke a special memory that they can have forever.  I've also had emails from people reaching out to me asking me if I can donate to their causes and although I cannot help everyone, it gives me great joy in helping them as much as I can. The second reason is because I hope to help other equestrian organizations who do equine therapy or to help horses rescue organizations.  As crazy as this sounds, I think Cappy would be happy to know that I'm helping other horses and I'm holding on to that.  

What I do know for sure is that I will never have another horse. I know never is a long time but I believe that with every fiber of my being. I've waited 30 years for Cappy and there will never be another horse like him. The connection is too deep and it would be unrealistic for me to think that I could ever replicate it and even if I could, I just really don't want to. I know he's in heaven. I pray that he feels well and free to graze and canter in great big beautiful fields. When my day comes, I will be buried with him in my tack trunk along with my dogs that have that have passed away. I made sure that the cemetery that I purchased my burial plot allows this to happen. I just hope when it's my turn to leave this earth that he'll be waiting for me so that we can be together again and continue our journey.



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