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March 18, 2014: Signy’s St Patrick’s Day Birthday

Today was the day that we usually celebrated Signy’s birthday, because she was born and bred in Ireland. I called her my lucky Irish Icelandic. For sure, she was well traveled, going from Ireland to California to New Mexico to Colorado to Alaska, back to Colorado and then back to Alaska.

One of my favorite memories of her was when we put her in the two horse trailer, for the ride home from Colorado, this after having purchased her. She, Siggi, and Raudi all poked their heads out the window. Signy seemed particularly happy – it was like she was for sure, finally one of the gang.

On the drive home and today, Pete’s been filling me in on what happened

Alys and horses and Rainbow at the Mitchell Townsite in Colorado.

on the eve of Signy’s death. Suffice to say, Pete did a remarkable job in an instance where fate had already dealt a hand. He determined early in the day that she was sick because she lost an interest in eating. He blanketed her, walked her, and finally called Dr. Wellington who said to give her more Banamine.

Pete walked Signy some more. She got no better, so Pete again called Dr. Wellington, who came out very late in the evening. Signy went down as he was walking her back down the road in the direction of home. She was given pain meds and IV fluids, but nothing really, could be done.

I have this theory that (as do most horses) Signy knew it was her time, and chose to go down in the road, so as not to upset Hrimmi, her daughter.

Getting Signy off the road was (as I was later to understand) a very involved and time consuming process. Pete had to dig out our trailer, and he had to use the tractor to get her into the trailer. Dr. Wellington took her remains, and Sunday, yesterday, did a necropsy.

He told Pete that he found food remains in her abdominal cavity. Her gut was twisted, and perhaps perforated. She might have had an infection. Andrea Brodie, Signy’s breeder, also speculated that the intestines might have moved up into the diaphragm area.

It is odd – Signy was so healthy beforehand. Had she been sick, we would have been able to brace ourselves for the outcome. But had she been sick, she would have suffered for a longer period of time, and we would not have wanted that.

Pete said today (in reference to Signy’s passing) “That life will be different.” I don’t know about the future. Right now, all I feel is a great sense of loss. It is so very strange to go down to the horse pen and not see her there. The little bay mare always hung back when I doled out the food, mainly because Raudi decreed that it be this way. So I always made it a point when I fed her to go over to her and give her a scratch and tell her what a great horse she was. Towards the end she actually believed me.

I had some unresolved issues with Mr. Siggi, which were related to my inability to know how to train a pacey horse. But I had no unresolved issues with Signy. She was our best riding horse and a joy to ride and be around, from the day we got her. And she was Pete’s buddy.

Dr. Wellington took Signy to an area outside the landfill so I did not get to say goodbye to her. I have a few hairs from her tail – sometime this spring, I will write up a eulogy and bury her tail hairs on our property. In my heart she will always remain my lucky Irish Icelandic.

Next: 78. 3/19/14: Adaptability