A week ago now, I lost my horse to a tragic accident. 2:30 in the a.m. on the start of the long Victoria Day weekend, I receive a call from the stable manager who can barely get the words out, she’s sobbing so hard. “Wendy, your horse has been hit, Viva has been hit by a car. She’s in bad shape, she’s struggling, no vet can fix this, the police say they can dispatch her now for you. She’s not going to make it, I’m so sorry.” These are surreal words to digest and I’m struggling to wake up and make sense of them while I’m heading out of the bedroom and down the hall. She asks if I want to talk to the police officers on site and say yes of course. “Ms Lawson, your horse is lying in a ditch, she keeps trying to get up, but both her back legs are broken from the impact of the car that hit her from behind. She’s in a lot of pain and my partner has a rifle. We would be able to dispatch her on site and put her out of her misery if that’s what you want.” Well it isn’t exactly what I want, I want my horse back running in the fields with her buddies, I want my daughter to be able to see her, touch her, feel her warm breath once more on her face. I tell him “Of course, please end her suffering” The words feel like they’re coming from someone else, I’ve gone into auto mode and am looking at the whole situation from an outside point of view.
I dress myself and get in my car, middle of the night, very groggy and wondering if I should stop for some caffeine. I decide against it, thinking it would look bad, showing up with a Tim’s while my horse lies in a ditch on the side of the road. The road is quiet as it should be at this hour of the morning and I contemplate what possesses an 18 yr old to 1. be out at two in the morning (youth) and 2. how do you miss a large white horse and 3. was he texting or on his cell? and the big one 4. Why did he leave the scene and drive home before he called police. The 15 min drive seems to take forever and gives me way too much time to digest the unreal information I’ve just been given to process in the middle of the night.
I pull up to the scene and end up driving over the impact spot and where she fell after being propelled by the destroyed car. She managed somehow to run some more, another 50 ft down the road. Nothing is blocked off, nothing is cleaned, no pictures taken of the impact site, this looks like an after thought of what happens when a deer or moose are hit. Viva is lying still in a ditch on the side of the road opposite to the farm and about 100ft from the stable managers house. She’s not moving anymore. I don’t feel the need to go down in the ditch and be with her, she’s not there anymore, only a body, that once held her lovely soul. She’s been freed. There is a long gash in her side, probably from bumping the mailbox as she ran away. I can see one hind leg in a position it shouldn’t be able to be in and they tell me they shot her so she wouldn’t suffer. I feel like an actor in a movie, playing my part but not very well.
We mill about talking with the police, trying to understand what happened, talking with the stable manager. I suggest maybe we should cover her so she won’t cause more accidents from rubberneckers, something I feel the police should have offered. The police leave eventually and I join the stable manager in her home while we chat till dawn streaks across the sky. We go back out to the roadside and I take pictures of the scene from the first moment of impact to her final resting place. Ironically, the boys father offers to remove the horse for us as it’s part of something he can do with his farm equipment.
I have questions. Why are the police not questioning if this boy was on his cell phone? why is there no repercussion for leaving the scene of an accident? Where and why did the horses get out? (we discussed this, but I’m still not clear on how)
As time passes, I am more upset at the whole scenario. I need more info and I would love to have a street light put up as well as maybe some traffic calming or a stop light on White Side Rd. This is another stage of grief I guess, anger. This is where action can help us move on – understand and fix the broken parts that caused this tragic event in the first place.
I tweeted to the Mayor who expressed his sympathy and suggested I contact my Councillor. She’s not really my Councillor, as the accident happened in another district from my own. I haven’t decided which way to go to help improve things for others in that little section of bad road. I am currently making a hand-carved plaque to memorialize her life. Maybe to place at the stable to remind riders of the ever-present danger and that life hangs by a thread, so live life as if it’s your last day with your equine friend.
The ongoing sad part is – I’ll never get to say good-bye.