Saturday, October 25, 2008

A little while later....

...... and I’m not entirely sure what is going on in my head, but I don’t expect that I should be able to understand it either.

My best boy is home so I get to chat all day when I’m here, and I have managed to get a grip and go back to work; the trouble is I’m working ridiculous hours just to fill up all the time that I would normally have made spare to spend with Herbs.

I had changed my job situation to ensure that I got less stressed and had more time to spend with Herbs but the devastating situation I am now in is in danger of changing so that I fill up time and end up working my socks off just because I have the time to, rather than managing time and getting the balance right.

I lost my boy one month ago tomorrow and it feels like a thousand years because my life has changed so much. The beautiful flowers, cards and messages that people have left for Herbs are still in his stable and it has been important to me to make sure that he has fresh flowers over his door; tomorrow I am going to try to find another beautiful red rose to put there.

One thing that has evolved is my obsession with animal programmes on TV. I always loved them, but now I’m completely obsessed and a new programme on the mounted police has just started so I can’t miss that.

I struggled recently when I agreed to look after two friend’s horses whilst they were away for a day. Firstly it was difficult because it was my first time properly around horses, and secondly it was difficult because they were not my boy and suddenly I had to consider / deal with / accept completely different behaviour and manners from these horses and fundamentally, I didn’t understand them and found that very hard.

When you spend all your time focusing on one horse, you realise how much you don’t understand and cannot relate to any others. I knew my boys mannerisms inside out. I knew when he wasn’t right even when other experienced horse owners thought he seemed fine – there is nothing amazing in that, except that I am proud to have had that relationship and proud that we were as close as close can be, and that I wasn’t just another horse owner who didn’t really know her charge.

Two months on...

It is so very true that everyone is individual when it comes to how they deal with their grief when they lose someone who was so special to them. Whether that is a person or an animal (who are mostly far better people than humans) matters not a jot, if you loved someone unconditionally in spite of them making you cross occasionally as well as providing you with so much love in return, you will be beside yourself with how to deal with the loss.

After Herbs came home and Bren and I felt we had my baby back we began to settle ourselves a little and I turned my attention to trying to make something good come out of losing him. That came in the form of The Herbs Trust, which started off as just an umbrella name that I came up with to hold the funds which I decided would be given out over coming years to horses that need it.

Herbs was insured for veterinary fees and “loss”. The “loss” bit is something I never really thought much about except once when my premium went up quite a lot and I realised that I was paying more than some people I knew and that this was because Herbs was insured for a reasonable amount of money so that I would receive funds should Herbs be “lost” to me. I thought at the time that I should not bother with the loss insurance because I would never want the money as Herbs was priceless. It’s easy to think that I thought that after everything that has happened now, but that is truly what came to my mind some months, maybe even a year ago.

As it was, I didn’t do anything about changing the insurance and so I received a payout from the insurance company. It is just not right in my mind that I should keep that money, and so I am contented to have decided that the money should be put into a separate bank account, and even if it takes me 10 years to spent it, I am determined that every penny of that money will be donated to horse charities and causes specifically involved with enriching the lives of horses that are not as fortunate to be loved as much as Herbs was and always will be.

I decided that the first thing I would do is hold a show in honour of Herbs and this was set for 29th June 2008. The number of entries was overwhelming, to the point where it was getting scary that we would be able to complete all the classes in one day, and clearly the judges would be quite worn out after judging for at least an hour and a half for each class!

Well, everyone at the yard was so excited about the event and I received £158 in entry fees (and some hadn’t paid yet!) so the day looked like being off to a really good start.

The rosettes arrived 3 days before and I was really pleased with them and two trophies arrived duly engraved with “A Handful of Herbs Summer Show” on them so we were close to being all set.

Then, the scum of the earth came to our yard during Friday night / Saturday morning one/two days before the event and stole almost everyone’s saddles and bridles.

Well, of course the yard was in turmoil, the break in was brutal and whilst some people were lucky enough to keep their tack, some were even insensitive enough to ride out on the Saturday morning whilst others were still reeling from the shock, feeling violated and trying to work out how to deal with insurance companies.

In amongst the drama, people were talking about what would happen with the show and frankly I felt there was no option but to postpone. Not so. After a chat and a vote, it was clear that no one wanted to let the bastards give us any more grief than they already had and so a quick change saw us holding just two classes. In Hand, and Gymkhana – but both to be led / in hand classes with head collars or bridles only and NO SADDLES permitted.

The show was an amazing success. Everyone from the yard came together and had a great time, and the horses looked fabulous. We raised a whopping £410! To top it all, my friends had clubbed together and organised for a canvass to be printed with a picture of Herbs. It is absolutely beautiful and now on the wall at the end of the hallway – the first thing I see when I come through the door.

The show proved to be the start of a very successful fund raising scheme, and to find out all the latest information on what is happening with The Herbs Trust, go to where you will find details of the events that have been run, together with money raised and donations given. I am so proud to be able to do something positive for my boy, after feeling so devastated.

Herbs now has some lovely pictures permanently pinned up outside his stable, and his name painted on the floor where it was written into wet concrete some time ago, and there is a brand new notice board at the yard, especially for information about The Herbs Trust and to advertise events that are happening at other yards.

As far as I am concerned, Herbs lives on through The Herbs Trust which is one of many ways for me to remember the most amazing friend I ever had.