Am I the Only One? (warning, may be sad...)

fergusnc
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Am I the Only One? (warning, may be sad...)

Postby fergusnc » Sat Aug 10, 2019 7:47 pm

All is fine. We are hanging in there at Fergus' Farm. Our 5th dance with EPM and the related choke took more out of me than Fergus this summer I think, but I am working hard on me and getting a grip on what I really think may be what people call a midlife crisis. Maybe more on that some other day, still processing. I am working on rewiring my entire personality to a day by day approach to life, having gratitude for the progress and holding steady I see in each moment, versus focusing on the what-if or "other shoe" potential.

Unrelated to that though....

A long time ago the concept of cutting a horse's tail to make a keepsake was on my mind. I just couldn't stand the idea of that moment, and toyed with the idea of cutting some tail when everyone was happy and healthy. But then I thought about the jewelry, wearing it forever, how it would probably go in the trash when I die...we have no kids and don't foresee anyone else in the family or friends wanting it. Non-horse people have actually been really befuddled, sometimes a bit creeped out, when they hear about it.

Today it popped back in my head when I saw the cartoon of the two horses at the pearly gates, half their tail chopped off, and the poem that goes with it. The poem that basically says that if horses cross The Bridge with their whole tail, they weren't really loved. Of course that isn't how it's written, it's written that the ones with cut tails are the truly loved ones, but I absorb the flipside to that coin due to my mental state.

Again, it just doesn't seem like me. That tail isn't mine, it belongs to that magical beast I would be saying goodbye to. It's part of the gorgeousness, the pride, the personality. I know the body isn't who the fellow is, and it's "just" a body, but to me, it seems like for my guys, it should stay with them for all the reasons above. I already have a big tattoo across my shoulders to commemorate my relationship with all my animals. The idea of additional tattoos seems more right for me than taking the tail.

BUT...I don't know if I've ever read or heard of someone having the same opinion as I do. Which ultimately is fine, to each his own. But I was just curious if anyone else has ever chosen not to cut off some tail to save when they say goodbye to a friend?

And please do not think I am saying that the tradition of cutting the tail is anything other than beautiful and understandable for those who want to do that. I totally get it for those who want to do it. It's just not resonating with me, and feel like I may be the only one in the history of horses. So thought I'd ask....

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Re: Am I the Only One? (warning, may be sad...)

Postby PaulaO » Sat Aug 10, 2019 8:02 pm

I see nothing wrong with how you feel. I have a ring, a bracelet, and a watchband made with Bob’s tail, and now I never wear them. I love him no less, but the aching grief has passed. You have your tattoo and that suits you.

I refuse to read the sad poems, etc.about animals at the bridge. Stay clear of those. Nobody thinks any less of you because you don’t want to chop your horses’ tails.

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Re: Am I the Only One? (warning, may be sad...)

Postby heddylamar » Sat Aug 10, 2019 8:23 pm

Poems and horse hair remembrances aren't my thing either.

A photographer friend came out and took photos of Joy and I in the days/hours before she was euthanized. I treasure those, and have several large prints in my office.

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Re: Am I the Only One? (warning, may be sad...)

Postby Josette » Sat Aug 10, 2019 9:24 pm

Well I actually share your same feelings and sentiments. I did cut hair from my last two horses in recent years - but it was under extreme duress and I felt like I was violating them. I was unable to move forward and use the hair for jewelry or other artifacts. So I told my husband when I am cremated that I want those tail hairs included with me.

That said I really like your idea of a tattoo - I've just lost so many horses and pets over the years that I don't know how to include them. :cry:

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Re: Am I the Only One? (warning, may be sad...)

Postby fergusnc » Sat Aug 10, 2019 9:45 pm

Thanks guys. Over the summer I've had some thoughts about what isn't talked about in the horse world...fears and doubts from all areas/issues, the stress, the grief, the guilt, the differences of options about emotional aspects...I like that I have horse friends in various stages of ownership, farm ownership, training, retirement that I can talk with. I also really like having this group to come to when it's easier to type out the words. Again, thanks.

Josette, I went to an artist I'd worked with twice before..she is incredible. She doesn't tattoo words or text...she likes the art and the creation. I told her the phrase that resonated with all the animals...past, present, and likely future...in my life. Then asked her to represent it. The phrase was "true friends leave paw/hoof/foot prints on your heart". This is what she did. I've seen gorgeous portraits, literal pawprints from the clay print from the vet, etc., but have too many and wouldn't want to leave anyone out. And if the portrait isn't just right, it's not them, and it's forever.
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Re: Am I the Only One? (warning, may be sad...)

Postby Koolkat » Sat Aug 10, 2019 10:21 pm

I put down two mares 2 years ago this fall, one had really "big" hair. She was a dapple gray with a white tail. It was magnificent. When the vet euthanized her, she commented on her tail and keeping it. When I shook my head, she then said some people put them in their garden (vs. making jewelry, etc). Although I like the idea of being reincarnated as something green (particularly for myself), there is no way I would defile one of my horse's beautiful bodies. I'll always remember how beautiful they were and that's enough.

That's a nice image, fergusnc.

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Re: Am I the Only One? (warning, may be sad...)

Postby Josette » Sat Aug 10, 2019 11:51 pm

fergusnc - I REALLY like your tattoo!! I love that it includes cats, dogs and horses! It is a really beautiful tribute to the memory of multiple animals.

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Re: Am I the Only One? (warning, may be sad...)

Postby StraightForward » Sun Aug 11, 2019 4:17 am

As a non-tattoo person, I like that one!

I had some hair from a couple of my living horses stashed away (one I have to cut tons of tail hair each year, the other was a gob she got caught on the fence and tore out), and tossed it a month or two ago. I agree that their beauty can't be encapsulated in a bracelet. Yesterday I was brushing Tesla's tail and noticing the huge spectrum of colors it has; I doubt that would be captured in a piece of jewelry. I might have one made from a living horse if it had hair to spare, but taking the hair after they're gone feels macabre to me. If it feels right to others, that's fine, just my personal take on it.
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Re: Am I the Only One? (warning, may be sad...)

Postby PaulaO » Sun Aug 11, 2019 12:31 pm

My friend put some of Bob’s tail hair in the woods of Assisi when she went to Italy.

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Re: Am I the Only One? (warning, may be sad...)

Postby Hayburner » Sun Aug 11, 2019 5:07 pm

A good friend of mine choose not to save any tail or mane hair. I was with her for the euthanization, she had him cremated and before he was taken away I again asked if she wanted me to cut a little as a keepsake but she did t want to. She never rally said why...

I choose to save some mane and tail so get a piece of jewelry made, I too do not have children and no one will want it, it will go in the ground with me along with his ashes.

When I contacted his prior owner to let her know he passed peacefully, she asked if I saved any of the mane and tail and if I did she wanted some of it. She loved him as much as I did ....

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Re: Am I the Only One? (warning, may be sad...)

Postby Rockabilly » Sun Aug 11, 2019 11:09 pm

I think you must do what is right for you. No matter what anyone else thinks or does. It is a very personal decision only you can make and I would not let anyone influence me. For myself I did take some mane and tail of Billy. I even took his 2 front orthopedic shoes uncleaned. I didn't want them cleaned. The mane and tail are a comfort to me because when I bring them close to my nose I can still smell him. Many years ago I did take mane and tail from my living horses. I wrapped them carefully and my thought at the time was that I was taking them during good times and it would not make me sad.

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Re: Am I the Only One? (warning, may be sad...)

Postby silk » Tue Aug 13, 2019 2:15 am

I have both mane and tail from Indy. She is the only horse I have had to put to sleep. I doubt I will ever do anything with it except keep it. I don't like most jewellery made with hair and I don't need to carry her around with me.

Interestingly, while I do not like hair jewellery, I wanted to have Indy's hide tanned. She was put down at the end of summer and had her beautiful summer coat with its glorious dapples... She would have made an absolutely stunning rug. I'm sure it would have been a very awkward conversation piece, but, is a hide from an unknown animal really any "better"? In the end, my decision was made for me, as I was not able to get her hide for processing.

I am not sure what I will do when Scarlett goes - we are approaching 20 years together. Gone is gone, when they are gone, but, I haven't decided whether I need to keep a physical memento... I probably don't.

I also have a bunch of the softest, fluffiest baby mane from Confetti, who is still very much here. It was just what I cut off for her first haircut, and have kept.

My instructor kept tail hair and her instructor had some of it made into pottery.

Someone here, perhaps Xan, started a thread about alternatives to that horse-hair jewellery. There were some really lovely options on that thread.

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Re: Am I the Only One? (warning, may be sad...)

Postby heddylamar » Tue Aug 13, 2019 2:26 am

silk wrote:I also have a bunch of the softest, fluffiest baby mane from Confetti, who is still very much here. It was just what I cut off for her first haircut, and have kept.

I have a chunk of Maia's hoof from her first trim in a jewelry box ... I couldn't be there, and Mom decided that in lieu of the requisite inked human baby footprints a chunk of hoof would be a good stand-in :lol:

The tanned hide isn't odd, IMO. A friend and I were just talking about taxidermied cats. Her black and white bowtie cat passed away recently, and she regrets not having saved his hide. He'd have made a gorgeous bag. All of our other friends at lunch were :shock:

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Re: Am I the Only One? (warning, may be sad...)

Postby Koolkat » Tue Aug 13, 2019 6:07 am

Who am I to judge - Aunt Sylvia has been on the mantle for years.

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Re: Am I the Only One? (warning, may be sad...)

Postby Chisamba » Tue Aug 13, 2019 1:03 pm

I think after the fire, the thing I care about most is being able to offer my loved horses a kinder death. I couldn't give a rats arse about some kind of social media competition about what horse was more loved or better commemorated.

To me it makes no matter if the horse has a full tail, missing hairs, or not. The best life I can give, and the kindest death matter to me.

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Re: Am I the Only One? (warning, may be sad...)

Postby fergusnc » Tue Aug 13, 2019 3:37 pm

Thanks all. I guess it's one of those things where I wondered, "would you regret this after the fact if you didn't do it, and have zero shot to undo your decision?" and I really, really, really don't see that I would. But I had never, ever heard anyone talk about NOT doing it, so thought I'd ask.

I agree completely that it's what feels best to the person in the situation, but it's interesting to hear I'm not as alone in this thinking as I thought I was. And yes, good life and kind passing are the most important!

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Re: Am I the Only One? (warning, may be sad...)

Postby redsoxluvr » Fri Aug 16, 2019 5:39 am

I have had several horses pass and have never taken the tail hair. It makes me too sad to think of it. However, I will say that there have been instances where I found tail hairs in a tree or whatever after the fact and have taken them as a memento.


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