Yesterday was an exquisitely beautiful day. The last day of February was mid-50s with warming sunshine as well as the occasional breeze kicking up a notch to remind us we are still in winter’s bluster.
Yesterday the decision to euthanize Josh was made. We decided. We nursed. We cried. We loved, and then he was gone.
It is with great sadness that I share this news. It was determined Josh was suffering from a rare and aggressive cancer. It was overtaking territory along his vertebra, and rapidly marching toward his spinal column. His pain and physical suffering – based on the veterinary assessments – were mind-boggling to truly comprehend.
This horse initiated a massive paradigm shift in me. I never thought I would know enough, be savvy enough, be equestrian-y enough to have my own horse. Josh dared me to scoff at these insecurities and to move beyond my own obstacles in favor of melting into the immense joy I amassed these last years “owning” this horse. Emily Osborne and Terry Lewis were never far when I went wayward. When I lacked confidence, experience, or knowledge, they more than carried me through.
Josh impacted so many people. A stoic, generous herd leader, he was definitive, clear, and exercised a remarkable sense of fairness. He partnered with countless riders, and formed a deeply special and long lasting relationship with Leila Ashkeboussi. He could be massive and inaccessible. He could be large and cuddly. He could be silly and comical at times. He could be athletic, hard working, graceful and poetry in motion. He showed all these facets to the people who interacted with him. He never wavered from being of a particularly sensible and sound mind, and an equally loving heart. He amazed me with his tolerance for my poor skills and sloppy mistakes while simultaneously requiring I show up with my best version of myself e-v-e-r-y s-i-n-g-l-e t-i-m-e. Anyone who has led him may know first hand what I am describing. He would not walk with you until you decided you are worth walking with.
I can not fully express the deep gratitude and awe I feel for Dr. Suzy Welker of Damascus Equine. Her deft and gentle hand is kind, compassionate, professional and deeply knowledgeable, and an absolute treasure to the veterinary community.
Josh, like yesterday, was exquisitely beautiful. And I am far closer to being in his league of wonder by virtue of knowing him.