Goodbye, Rita

Rita, the horse

Our Friend Rita

The two horses Rita and Shiton came with the farm. They’d been living here for quite a while when we arrived, and didn’t have anywhere else to go, so we were happy to let them stay. It seems that they were boarders here several years ago when their owner abandoned them, and our neighbors Marilyn and Allen took over their care out of the pure goodness of their hearts. All we had to do was let them be, and in return we got to enjoy the presence of two sweet, gentle beasts that showed us a lot about how to live. They enjoyed each other’s company, spent as much time as possible hanging out in the sunshine and frolicking in the grass, were always friendly with everyone, and  grateful for a stroke on the brow or an occasional peppermint. I don’t think they worried too much about anything, a characteristic that comes, no doubt, from living on borrowed time.

These creatures were a good decade past old, possibly something for the record books. But I guess the time comes for all of us. It was brutally cold the other night and a big snow was on its way when I went out to close up the chickens and saw that something was going on. Rita was down in the paddock and Marilyn was there trying to get her up.  Allen came right away to help, and though they were able to get her moving a little bit, she was obviously suffering. Ted and I watched as she struggled to stand, then put her head back down again several times. Javier the vet came quickly and confirmed the worst–colic. For a horse of that age and under the circumstances, there was no question about what was next.  We all said our goodbyes as Rita lay in the paddock one last time. Although we hadn’t known her long, she had been an important part of our first year at Three Graces Farm.

Allen found a nice spot in the woods for her the next day, just ahead of a foot and a half of snow that followed only hours later. There’s a small boulder there marking the head, and room for another. Shiton, Rita’s partner in life, is surely not far behind. He’s been wandering around confused the last few days. The snow is deep and his friend is gone, his spirit caught between worlds.

It’s been a long winter indeed, but spring is coming. Whether it’s here, on our own little piece of heaven- on- earth, or somewhere in the great beyond– all will be made new.


  1. Robyn says

    my heart is heavy…I know the heart felt pain of seeing our beloved pets in distress. Honestly, I am SO blessed (what other word can one use…it’s SO over used I can’t stand it…tangent!) but I do feel so happy that I got to know Rita and Shiton last April while “working” at Three Graces! I felt a kinship with them both. Sounds crazy but I felt a little like them…displaced in some ways and not sure of what the future will hold. Horses are such wonderful creatures.
    I feel for Shiton. My aunt had horses and Red died and was buried in the back of the property Tanny would just hang over the grave.
    Hugs to you all who cared for those sweet creatures…

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