I wanted to live my entire life and never have to write this post, but the best horse I’ve ever had died on early in the morning on December 20th.

While I was 2,000 miles away visiting family in Mississippi, he started colicing. When he didn’t come around quickly at the barn, my trainer and I agreed he should go to the clinic. There the original prognosis was good, and I want to bed at midnight my time concerned but knowing he was in the best care possible. Two hours later, the vet called me back and said he took a turn for the worse. He was trembling, sweating and it was time to go into surgery to figure out what exactly was happening.

I, of course, agreed and waited for hours for the call.

When it came, the first words out of his mouth were the stomach had ruptured. When I teach creative writing, I always put red slashes through clichés like my heart was beating out of my chest, but that’s exactly what my did. When he said ruptured, I felt it grow twice its size and thud as the vet kept went on to describe the large impaction behind the stomach.

I knew what ruptured meant, but I also didn’t. I pressed my palm down under my heart and kept listening for the phrase that was going to save this nightmare, but it didn’t come and I finally squeaked, “So you had to euthanize him?”

“Not yet, but there’s nothing we can do.”

He said he was sorry. I thanked him, hung up the phone and fell apart.

I’ve only had Simon for six and a half years, but I don’t know what I’m going to do without him. I’ll be honest — life without nerd horse seems a little impossible right now. Since Tim died, he’s been the brightest and most reliable thing in my life.

I have great friends,  I know on paper my life looks like I’m living the dream. This becomes extra clear to me when people (often well meaning blog readers) suggest I shouldn’t be sad, because I have so many great things in my life. And it’s true, I have a lot to be thankful for, but that doesn’t begin to fix the giant, weeping holes in my heart.

Simon was more than a horse to me. He was my partner, my friend. He was the personification of every equestrian dream I ever had as a kid, or really even as an adult. In our last show together, which I started to blog about, we got 3rd in a hunter derby field of almost 3rd and we won our 2’6″ medal finals. I promise y’all I didn’t win because of my exceptional riding talents. I won because I had a teammate who loved to show more than I did, covered up my mistakes and was proud of his extremely mediocre mother. It’s not even been 24 hours, and I already miss the feel of cantering him up to an oxer. If I had my leg on and my hands up, Simon would have done anything for me.

Life isn’t fair. Horses doubly so. I think my beloved nerd horse was more sensitive and fragile than I ever realized. The worst part of this grieving is that I wasn’t with him at the clinic before he went under. Three weeks ago, I put my hand through the bars of his stall and scratched under his chin a little. I told him I was going on a long trip. Told him to be a good boy and listen to his trainers, which I know he did. Quickly tapped my hand on his shoulder as he turned to eat his hay, said I loved him and I’d see him in a month.

Although I wasn’t at the clinic, I know exactly what he looked like when he was sick and trembling before surgery. I’ve seen it. It breaks my heart that I wasn’t there to tell him everything he meant to me.

After everything I’ve lost, I don’t believe in much anymore. I don’t believe that everything happens for a reason. There is no master plan. I don’t believe in heaven. I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t believe I’ll ever swing a leg over him again or lean on his broad shoulder for a quiet moment. Humans and animals are organic bodies filled with energy. I think that energy sticks around. With Tim, I was lucky enough to acutely hold it some after he died. Now almost four years later, it feels farther away. Not gone, but not as with me as before.

Simon was a quirky horse. He had a bit of a spook at the strangest things. If I had to guess, his energy is terrified of where I’m sitting right now. It probably wouldn’t make it past the driveway, but I hope I feel him again some day. Probably in an empty ring full of jumps, because that was his favorite place.

After Tim died, I felt like I had to tell everyone I was okay. I’m really not okay right now. I’m taking small steps to get there, but I will tell you about one more thing.

At the last horse show when I realized we were getting called back for the handy round at the hunter derby, I got back on Simon to wait for our turn. It was at least the fourth or fifth time me or the trainer climbed on him that day, and I know he was tired. It was dark, with just a few street lights shining down outside the arena. The temperature dropped, and I draped the fleece cooler Tim got me for Christmas over his haunches and my legs. While we waited, I stared down on his braids and scratched his withers where he was always itchy. The cooler warmed us up as we walked slow circles around the parking lot, and I was flooded by this warmth. Tim would have been so proud of us, zipping around all the high options confidently and getting called back for the handy. I was proud of us too, but mostly I was incredibly thankful to be competing at a night class at a finals horse show with the best horse I would probably ever have. Anything else was a bonus.

Because really, that’s how it was with Simon. He was the first horse who ever truly loved me. Everything else was a bonus.

Simon. Something So Right, JC “Williebered”
March 14th, 2006 – December 30th, 2018

© Heather N. Photography

68 thoughts on “Simon

  1. i’m so sorry Lauren, there are no words. Simon was such a special horse, and his partnership with you so obvious and trusting and loving. you are in my thoughts <3

  2. Lauren,

    I’m so so sorry. You have lost more than any person should have to endure and I know this year has been especially hard. It seems like some years are just sh**ty like that, but that doesn’t make them any easier to experience.

    I’m not sure anyone can counsel you on the grief process, but be gentle with yourself. You were the best mama Simon could ever have asked for, and though you may not believe it, some of us will hold onto the thought that you will see him again someday.

    Hoping 2019 will be far far different than the current reality. Hugs!

  3. ❤️
    Lauren, you WILL see Tim and Simon again, and you Will ride Simon again among the streets of gold in Heaven!!

  4. Lauren, I can’t pretend to understand what you are going through right now. I don’t know you personally, but as a longtime reader of your blog, I have been privileged to learn about you and Simon. My heart aches for you. I pray that you will find hope in this difficult and sometimes very dark world. You are talented and strong, and to be honest, have been an inspiration to me as I read about your life. I know this is easy to say from my end, but don’t lose heart. I believe there is a heaven and that we will see our loved ones again. It is something I cling to. Again, I have no idea what it is like to be in your shoes right now, but I am thinking of you, praying for you, and sending all the love I can.

  5. It’s JUST NOT FAIR AT ALL. I am heartbroken for you. Everything else is just bonus is the BEST sentiment. I hope one day you feel Simon’s presence again through another set of eyes.

  6. Can’t believe it. Don’t want to believe it. I am so sorry for all the losses. Don’t want to tell you some cliches. It hurts, it’s awful. I hope in a couple months it hurts a little less.

  7. I am so sorry. You’ve had an incredibly awful last few years, stuff that I can’t even imagine dealing with. So just know I’m rooting for you.

  8. Oh, Lauren… I am absolutely heartbroken for you. I just cannot believe the cruelty of the universe sometimes, and want to scream and cry, “IT’S NOT FAIR.” I don’t know what to say except I’m so terribly sorry and sending the warmest thoughts for solace and healing. Simon, may you rest in peace and explore those endless green pastures… you were well and truly loved by your person.

  9. The bay thoroughbreds that love us…, it’s so painful to feel this. I totally understand how you feel this hole, this place, this empty space. I’m so glad you had Simon and will continue to carry him forever. I’m so glad I got to meet him and experience both of your friendship. I could write a lot of things I’ve written before and that we’ve discussed but I think most of all I will just wait to hug you in person when you return and help you out any way I can. Have a safe journey back and let the friends and family you see alongside the way envelope you with love.

  10. I am so very sorry, Lauren. There are many horses that we meet in our lives… but there are maybe one or two that become such a part of our lives that they completely define the time period they occupy. Simon was definitely one of those special ones, and I am so sorry you lost him.

  11. I am so so sorry. No words can help in your time of grief. But do know, he was as lucky to have you, as you were to have him. Your time together was just much too short.

  12. There are no words to convey how sorry I am for your loss. It just isn’t fair. Simon was one in a million, and I still fondly remember riding him. I know he was very much a cornerstone of your love, and his memory always will be.

  13. Thank you for sharing so eloquently. Remember that in this blogging community it will always be safe for you to admit you are not OK. I hope the love and shared grief we all feel for you helps in a small way.

  14. Nothing about this is fair or right. I am so sorry. And I’m so grateful that I was able to know him not only through the blog but also in person, and even on his back. He was a special, special guy. <3

  15. There is nothing to say. I’m so sorry. He was a heart horse among heart horses, I know. I lost my saint of a horse right after our best season ever. Derbies, medal finals, all that. It makes those memories bittersweet forever. F**k, I’m so sorry. The world makes no sense sometimes.

  16. Lauren, your pictures and words about your best boy are beautiful. I’m so sorry. I was 2,000 miles away when my horse DC had to be euthanized. I understand a little bit that angle of loss. I’m so happy I got to meet Simon. Hugs to you. If you ever need to talk, or anything… you’ve got my number.

  17. When I got the call that my horse of a lifetime had died I fell to the floor screaming – the grief was so powerful I could barely breathe . I am so sorry to hear about Simon. Everyone grieves differently – nothing anyone says will make you feel better – take your time and do what’s best for you.

  18. I’m so incredibly sorry. I truly believe that the most important thing to our animals in the end isn’t whether we’re physically present (although I know we all want to be there with/for them). Rather, it’s the quality of life we give them and the bond that we form with them while they’re here. We can’t always choose how or when the end comes for our beloved pets, but we can always control how loved they are and how good their time on earth is. It’s obvious to me that Simon knew love and contentment and never wanted for anything in his time with you. You didn’t need to tell him everything he meant to you in the end, he already knew.

  19. My heart breaks for you. Grieve however you need to, it’s ok you’re not ok. I had someone tell me “everything happens for a reason” after my first horse dropped dead. I wanted to punch them. I’m with you on that. We’re all here for you, however you need us to be. Hugs.

  20. My heart is absolutely broken for you. I have tears in my eyes as I type this, even though I’ve never met you or Simon. But I know the heartbreak of losing a special horse, and I’m so, so sorry. I also know there is nothing I or anyone else can say that makes the heartbreak better. But know I’ve been thinking about you ever since I saw your post on Instagram yesterday. Hugs!

  21. Lauren I have followed your story from across the globe. At the darkest time in my life it helped me realise there was still beauty and life in the world. When I saw “Simon” at the top of this page the cliche happened here too. I felt as though my heart stopped. I am so sorry you have lost so much. Im so grateful for the last few months where everything fell together for you and Simon. Go well Nerd Horse.

  22. Oh Lauren, I’m so sorry. I’ve read your blog consistently for the last few years, but today was my first time checking in in almost a year–my stomach fell when I saw this post at the top of the page.

    Simon was such a special horse in ways that only you would know, but I delighted in following your journey together over the years. I may not have any words to help you right now, but please know that there is a tremendous outpouring of love coming from this little corner of the earth.

    Hugs <3

  23. Lauren – you have lived every nightmare. I am so so so sorry. This is bullshit and not fair and all our hearts are breaking with you. I am so sorry.

  24. Several years ago I stumbled onto your blog, and always loved reading your posts. This is the first I’ve commented…and I want to say how very sorry I am for you and the loss of your sweet boy. We never, ever have them long enough. I lost my gorgeous girl in August, also to colic, and I’ve been completely devastated ever since. It’s kind of strange and weird how we can compartmentalize our grief, so we can be “okay” around the people that just don’t get it…but that grief is ever present, sitting just below the surface at every turn. You’ve had so much loss in the past several years, and there’s nothing anyone can say to make it better, but please know that this internet stranger thousands of miles away feels your pain and is thinking about you.

  25. Oh Lauren, I am weeping again with you. No, there are no reasons or designs for the chaos of life and loss, I agree, that would be more cruelty that a person could bear. I read once that “to say time heals all wounds presumes grief is finite.” I suppose that everything is finite, but grief doesn’t feel that way, at least not to me, and so I say there are no limits or rules to how it may be navigated.
    I am so very sorry that you couldn’t be with Simon at the hospital, but I am certain that he knew how much you loved him & that you were as much a part of his life as he was of yours. Some may call me sentimental, but my certainty comes from seeing that truth in my own chestnut partner’s eyes many times, unmistakably clear, along with unfailing forgiveness for my many shortcomings: you & Simon shared that same bond, so I know that he carried it within him too. Sending my love to you. <3

  26. This is the worst, worst thing. I am so sad for you and angry too. Curse you, colic – you have stolen another beloved horse and broken another heart.
    We howl with you, Lauren.

  27. This is a beautiful tribute and I’m sorry you ever had to write it. Simon was lucky to have you and you him. Sending love and vibes for peace. ❤️

  28. Lauren,
    I am so sorry for your devastating loss.
    I’m a long time reader and admirer of your writing.
    Many times I have received comfort from reading your posts, and also gained valuable insight.
    I am so very sorry that you’re going through this.
    Please know that you are in my thoughts, and that I wish you peace and comfort.
    You gave Simon an amazing life. And you both shared A mutual bond of love. Nothing can ever change that fact.
    Again wishing you peace and comfort

  29. Lauren,

    I have truly enjoyed your blog and like others, this is the first time I have ever commented. Words cannot express my sorry to read this post.

    You are an amazing very strong young woman, a very talented writer and I hope you find the solace you deserve.

  30. I checked in hoping for a part 2 of the last post, or a New Year’s post. Reading this put a hole in my heart, but I’m glad you wrote it.

    My first horse, really a pony, had to be euthanized due to laminitis after about 1 year with me. My parents have recently sold the property where she lies, but I would occasionally put flowers on her now invisible grave until I married and moved away. She was a flaxen chestnut Shetland/Falabella cross that was every bit of her name, Bossy. I was eight or nine, and although I was not as attached to her as you are to Simon, it still amazes me how much it hurt and occasionally still does. I have yet to find my true “heart horse”, but the ones I’ve had I still love.

    I do hope you have a much brighter 2019. 2018 is a black page in your book, something 2017 was to us – we lost two family members in two months in the second half of the year.

    You’ve had a hell of a life in recent years. But don’t give up. Grieve as long as you have to but you must move on, too.

    I hope to never know what it’s like to lose my husband. I’ve lost cats, dogs, a horse, and I own a senior gelding that I’m not expecting to last more than five more years. In the last few years you’ve lost far more than I ever have and I do hope that there is another “heart horse” out there for you. Maybe not this year or next, but I hope you find it.

    And I hope you publish your book, too.

    My sincerest condolences.

    RIP Simon and Eliot.

  31. I am a long time lurker and had to come out of lurkdom today to say how very, very sorry I am to read about Simon. I know he’ll leave a giant hole that will be hard to fill.

  32. I’ve been reading your blog for the last 3 years (It was the blog I ever read regularly) but I don’t think I’ve ever commented before. I am so, so sorry for your loss. Especially so soon after Elliot. Reading about your partnership with Simon was always a highlight of my day. I wish you all the peace and comfort that is possible.

  33. I’m so very sorry Lauren. That’s a horse owners worst nightmare, being away when IT happens. If any one tells you not to be sad, you can throat punch them. Losing your heart horse is one of the hardest things. But do let your friends be there for you. They mean it and they love you. You’ll get through this, and it will get easier. But until then, it’s ok to embrace the sadness.

  34. “NO!” out loud, and only because work is quiet today did nobody notice. This is terribly awful and unfair and just wrenching! I have never met you or Simon but I feel your pain and am screaming inside. I know my pain does not ease yours, but I would send you whatever comfort I can. The only reason I feel your loss is because your writing talent is so prodigious that I could feel the connection between you and Simon from reading your blog over the years. Please keep writing, even if it’s just for yourself. Hug Pascale as often as you need. I hope that the memories will bring smiles instead of tears one day. And that your heart, which has had way too many giant holes blown in it, will heal enough to let more love grow.

  35. Another longtime lurker who wants to say how terribly sad I am to read this post. I feel like I learned from you and Simon from afar. No words suffice. Wishing you gentle memories.

  36. OMG, Lauren, my heart just breaks for you. Our horses are such big animals, it really feels like they should be invincible, immortal, unbreakable. I lost my TWH mare, Vannah, to squamous cell carcinoma on August 28th, 2018. My barn manager kept me informed, but I was still taken by surprise when I went down on the weekend. If I had known it was so bad, I would’ve had Virginia Tech come out sooner. I still feel guilty that she suffered for a week longer than she should have. That’s something I have to live with and forgive myself for. Giant hugs to you from West Virginia from me and my Sunny-bunny mare.

  37. I lost my quirky bay thoroughbred over Thanksgiving to a colic/rupture. I feel your pain and know that there is nothing I can say to make it better. Hold tight to your memories, cry a lot, and don’t feel bad for not being okay. You’ll get there, just as I will. Much love and many hugs to you.

  38. Words can’t express how sorry I am. There are times when all we can do is cry, take the next breath, and keep putting one foot in front of the other. Love from me and my Larry-horse.

  39. I’ve been rechecking for the second post about the show . . . part one was so joyful and I really enjoyed feeling triumphant along with you and Simon, because you’ve shared your journey so thoughtfully over the years. I’m so sorry for your loss, and that you weren’t able to be there. That adds another grief-wrinkle, I know. I’ve read your blog for years because you’re an excellent writer, first, and second, you choose to chronicle a life with animals, and all that this entails. You’re a rare gem for those of us who also live a part-horse, part-dog, part-human life. I lost both of my dogs this year and have two tottery old horses that I watch with trepidation. I’m not so sure about heaven either, but I recently learned that the Rainbow Bridge idea is from Norse mythology. It takes on a whole new patina if you think of Vikings running to meet their favorite Icelandic ponies and elkhounds, no? Take care of yourself. My heart goes out to you.

  40. I am so glad you turned comments back on for this, although my heart hurts so much that this post was made at all.

    I wish I was good with words, or could find the right phrase that would ease your pain, or that you could find some comfort in. Sadly, I’m just not that skilled.

    However, my heart is with you as you navigate a new and different kind of grief in your life. I’ve only ever lost one, and I was no where near as close to her as you and Simon were, so I cannot fathom how you’re feeling.

    But, know that we’re all here for you. That as horsemen and horsewomen, we understand and mourn your loss and the pain you’re going through.

  41. I have so enjoyed reading about your journey with Simon. My heart is hurting right now for both you and him (so sad about the colic) as I read of his passing. Sending you Jedi mind hugs and peace. Thanks for turning the comments back on for this so that you can receive my best wishes for you.

  42. I am so deeply sorry for your loss – So many have shared such wonderful thoughts. A loving, caring group follows you. I sit with a heavy sad heart and wonder at the will you muster to keep moving each day. Your losses have been huge and you have shared so much with us, the reader. I am grateful for your sharing. Hopefully knowing that you are accepted and cared for by so many brings you a sense of connection during this time. I am one of many who sits silently, thinking of you, taking deep breaths with you, waiting with you for as long as it takes.

  43. Words can’t even describe how much this sucks. I’m crying for you. I wish that this didn’t happen. I’m so sorry for your loss… and all I can hope is that you can find some sense of peace and comfort in this time of sorrow.

  44. I’m sitting here crying reading this post and all the comments. Seriously. Crying. Tomorrow is 6 months since Izzy coliced and had to be put down. That pony and I had gotten quite close in the one short year we had together. Like you and Simon, we had just come off of two good shows. Nailed down some wicked scores in dressage and Poof. Within a matter of hours it was all gone. She was gone. And there was nothing anyone could do about it. I know exactly how it feels.

    My heart aches for you Lauren. One of my friends would do enough swearing for all of us. It certainly applies here. Another friend said it sucks on so many levels, but I’ll spare everyone of her graphic description of just how much it sucks. (BTW she Nailed it.)

    Simon knew he was loved in his time with you. He had all he could ever want. If there is a Heaven, he will absolutely be there to greet you. With all the love you have for him, remember the good times. All the joy and smiles he gave you and everyone around him. (((Hugs)))

  45. Long time lurker here…

    I hate reading this so much. No one deserves losing a best friend, but especially not you. Reading this brought back all my own memories of loss from 2016. I had all the same feelings you do of hopelessness and despair. Here is my post on it:

    It is not as well thought out as yours though. You really did nail it. Re-reading my post I could tell I was writing with shaky hands and flooding eyeballs…

    Thanks for sharing your story and Simon’s story with us. He lives on now in all of our hearts and minds.

  46. I don’t have anything different to say than what everyone said above, or anything that can make it hurt less, but I’m so sorry for your loss. Simon has been one of my favorite horses to read about and you two had such a beautiful bond. I’m glad that your last show together was so special. Huge hugs, and I’m so, so sorry for your loss.

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