Saying Goodbye to That Horse

That horse - the one horse that either ignited the equestrian fire in you or fueled the fire when you finally had one to call your own. We all have that one horse we’ll never forget even after we say goodbye and it’s hands down one of the hardest goodbyes a horse person will ever have to make. Be it the simple lesson horse who got you started, the stubborn son-of-a-gun that was the first to give you a real challenge, or the first you ever truly owned, it’s an impossibly hard farewell. Sometimes we have more than one experience with that horse, sometimes we only have the one, but repeating it certainly doesn’t make it easier. For those who’ve recently been through this, bare in mind that it’s for the best whether it was rehoming to a new little girl or boy to love them when you grew too old to have everyday to spend with them, leaving the stable for any number of reasons, or putting them down because they grew far too old for their health to keep up with. Don’t let that loss put out your fire. If anything, use that to make it burn brighter. It’s going to be rough for a while, believe me, I’ve been through that ride too, but it gets better as long as you don’t let it put out the fire. You’re going to want to scream and cry. You’re going to want to shout that it isn’t fair, but that passes. It’s easier for people who own other livestock and have already developed the, “it’s not a pet, it simply serves a purpose,” mindset, but even for them it’s still tough. You can grieve, but don’t forget to turn that loss into a driving force. Use it to dive headfirst into something related. If you had to let them go to go to college, turn that into finding a place near your college that’s looking for an exercise rider. If they were put down, use that to test the waters and see if veterinary care is something you would do well at. If it was leaving the stable, turn that into finding a new one closer to you that would be willing to trade work for riding time or where work is riding time. See if training is something you have a knack for. There are so many things you can turn that goodbye into, don’t turn it into abandoning something you love because of this loss. Take it from me, it can either drive you even further into agriculture and the amazing things that come with it, or it can push you out of agriculture entirely if you let it. Don’t let it.

Taylor Selby-Pineger, Iowa Representative

If you have any questions about how to cope with saying goodbye, or about agriculture in Iowa in general feel free to email me at

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Breanna Viles