Goodbye to Maggie

Passed away 9/1/22


This was Maggie's shy face

Last Wednesday night, September 1, I had to put Maggie down. It was hard and so stressful for her, because I didn’t make the necessary decision sooner, before her fear overcame her sense. Maggie had been blind in one eye for most of her time here, and in the last months was losing sight in the one she had left. No injury, just milking over. And like every mare I’ve ever had who went blind, when that last bit of sight goes, so does their mind. Lola, Ally, all the same. The panic is dreadful to see.

I had just that afternoon been discussing with Melinda (Joey’s Home Animal Rescue) that I had to make the decision for her soon, as she became more erratic every day as her vision in her last remaining eye got worse. Came back to feed that last night – found her standing outside Woodie’s stall, although her gate was open, and confused. She wouldn’t let me touch her – flinched horribly, circled and moved so unpredictably she crushed me into a fence once, and almost ran me down another. I stayed distant and tried to calm her, and direct her into her house where she had clearly in the previous week felt safe. Instead, she swerved and tried to ram her way into Woodie’s stall, knocked down the pipe corral on the front of Beppe’s stall and tried to run thru it, staggering tangllefooted, and almost jumped to get out of it, into Woodie’s stall where she simply started to run, and rammed thru the fence between Woodie’s stall and hers, and kept going and rammed into RJ’s stall, then into Renee’s stall and tried to runout but hit RJs front panel and knocked it down – she was bleeding from many cuts on her legs and chest, and simply would not stop -all the horses were upset at the crashing. I stepped back, left her trembling in the aisleway where she began to pace, and went to put food in front of everyone to try to calm things. And I knew I could not let this go on.

I had already known she would not be able to go to the new place with us, but had hoped she had a little more time. But I couldn’t allow it, or ask her to try to hold it together for even another day. I felt her distress and fear myself. I ended it for her. And I swear, all of us breathed a sigh of relief. I should probably have done it sooner, when conditions were better. But it had to be.

And so sadly, I can’t say that her friends appear to be too distressed. I honestly think her growing fear and panic communicated itself to everyone, and made her hard to be around. It’s a measure of what good friends they were to her, that they tolerated her clingy ways. I put Woodie in her stall, rather than rebuild the fence between his and hers, and he’s doing well there, as is RJ. Often I see the boys standing together, Renee nearby.

Maggie was alleged to be a former camp horse – but honestly from day one here she was so reactive and so fast and so huge, I could never imagine kids riding her without some pretty hairy disasters! She wanted to be good but from the second she saw Woodie, she was so enamoured that being separated from him at all made her – well, dangerous. She would whirl and spin on the lead, trying to see where he was, calling more and more frantically. He always seemed a little oblivious – tolerant of her but not really involved. But as long as he was near, she would behave for me, or the farrier or vet. She lived these last several years for Woodie. I suspect her fears related to the blindness were worse than I knew, but he gave her the courage to hold it together. Until Wednesday.