Barn Manners: When a horse dies… February 17 2010, 0 Comments


Samantha and Lilly (2000-2007). We didn't have Lilly for long, but we loved her.

Samantha and Lilly (2000-2007). We didn't have Lilly for long, but we loved her.

Question: A horse in our barn died this week, very unexpectedly. I’m not really close with the boarder, but I feel really bad and want to do or say something. Any suggestions?

Answer: Yikes. Many of us have lived through this one, including Jennie Brannigan, who recently lost her beloved mount Cooper. A lot of things fall into the “don’t” category—things notto do or say to someone who has lost or is in the process of losing a horse.

People are naturally concerned and curious when there’s a vet in the barn attending to a critically ill equine. But try to be inconspicuous and encourage other people, especially children, to do the same. Hanging around, asking “How’s it going?” or even “Anything I can do to help?” can be a real distraction and unsettling to a horse owner who is likely struggling to make hard decisions and hold her emotions in check. If you see other people lurking, approach them and say, “Let’s give them some privacy, OK?” I’d even go so far as to tell other non-horsey moms and dads, “Please tell Meredith to stay out of that side of the aisle. Susan and the vets need some privacy right now.” Read the rest of this article on The Chronicle of the Horse.X