My Beautiful Zelda is Gone


For the last three weeks, Zelda has been fighting to recover from an episode of laminitis. Over the weekend, a cellulitis infection caused her to spike a fever of 104, which triggered a second episode. Monday night she was in a lot of pain; my vet was with us until 11 p.m. Tuesday, x-rays confirmed the worst possible outcome: significant rotation and sinking of the coffin bone. It didn’t help that she weighed nearly 1600 pounds. The vet blocked her feet and we walked her to a beautiful field where we took away her pain.

I’ve been reluctant to write about this. I kept hoping for a happier ending. I’ve been spending five and six hours a day at the barn and the thought of coming home and writing about it was more than I could face.

I will write more soon, once I’ve been able to process what happened. I’d never dealt with laminitis before and she’s lived out 24/7 for years without any issues with the grass. I’ve since heard that this year vets are seeing a spike in laminitis, even among horses who’ve never had a problem. Perhaps the rain we had along with the hot days and cold nights, created a super sugary grass. Zelda could also have had an underlying metabolic condition. My vet had suggested that once she was stabilized, we test her for Cushings and for Equine Metabolic Syndrome. Sadly, we never got to that point.

I know we did everything we could. My vet team, my farrier, and so many people who came with supplies, provided moral support and a shoulder to cry on. My community rallied around me and I can’t even begin to thank everyone for all their support.

Zelda was 20, not a bad age for a horse, and I’d owned her for 10 years. She had only good homes with people who loved her. In fact, Zelda charmed everyone who met her. I feel lucky for the time we had together, but had planned on having many more years and many more adventures with her. I will miss her forever.


16 thoughts on “My Beautiful Zelda is Gone

  1. I am so very sorry for your loss. It’s never easy to say goodbye. My vet told me last year that she was seeing a lot of laminitis in my neck of the woods, Central Virginia. We have high iron content in the soil and had a fairly mild winter and lush Spring. Too much iron can cause laminitis so I’m wondering if that may have been a contributing factor in this area.

    1. Thank you. It’s so hard to know why it happened. Of course I wish I’d done something different to have prevented it from happening, but I know I had an amazing team of people working to save her.

      1. I was writing of my heartbreak for you. I was there about 20 years ago and am still subject to tears when I think of him. Majic colicked from allergies. Long story, much effort and eventually loss. He was 23 but such a healthy Arab that is was a shock to lose him. {{{HUGS}}}

  2. Ten years is a long time to love and care for a horse. I have enjoyed reading about Zelda and seeing her pictures through your blog. She had such a kind eye. I am not surprised by your comment that everyone who met her was charmed by her presence. I also personally know the pain of choosing euthanasia for a horse experiencing laminitis and the shock of trying to process how it all happened. It’s just a really hard thing, and I am sorry that you experienced this with your Zelda. My condolences.

  3. I’m so sorry for your loss. Zelda was beautiful and you took such good care of her, exhausting every effort available. Saying goodbye to someone we love is never easy. May you find peace knowing you did everything you could. Please accept my sincere condolences.

  4. I am so sorry.

    I wish horses could live forever since it is so darn hard on their humans when they die.

  5. So sorry for your loss. You’ve always been so open about sharing how you managed her care through the years. It’s helped educate me and I appreciate how much Zelda taught me just through your posts.

  6. I’m so very sorry. She was beautiful and a lovely girl. I like how you shared she only had good homes with people who loved her. That is a sweet, small comfort. Hugs from IL. ❤️

  7. I am so very, very sorry for your loss. I really enjoyed reading about your partnership. It was a beautiful partnership. You were an amazing steward to her care and comfort. Godspeed, Zelda. <3

  8. Sorry for the loss of your beautiful friend. She had an amazing blaze and color. It looks like a wild child looking off in the distance.

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