view sourceprint? 01 Ramblings from a Ranch Wife: Cricket

Random Thought:

"The darkest nights produce the brightest stars"

Thursday, July 31, 2014


The Cowboss and I roped together in a branding contest one saturday in March.  I used my favorite horse Cricket, and he did awesome.  I felt like I could rope bridleless and he would put me where I needed to be.  He was wonderful.  He has been my sidekick for years.  The horse I depended on to take care of me when I put myself in a bad place, bring me in for a heel shot when I can't think, ride, and rope all at the same time, gave me the courage to do what I didn't think possible, and wings, so I could fly.

Then on that following Tuesday Cricket colicked, and I held my breath.

Wednesday he was better, and I let out a huge sigh of relief.

Thursday I put him down, and I cried.

I keep telling myself how fortunate I am to have had him for 13 years and how lucky we were to have one last great ride, doing what we both loved together.  Honestly though, it hurts.  I feel like I've lost my best friend and can't get over it.  He was the one constant horse in my life.  I rode him through both of my pregnancies and gave he gave both of my boys their first rides.  When I needed to get something done or didn't feel my best, he was my go to guy.  I just knew he would be the horse to teach both the boys to rope.

When given the option of surgery or putting him down, I made the choice to put him down over the 5 hour trailer ride for surgery when the odds weren't in our favor.  He was in so much pain and kept looking to me to make him feel better.

I loaded him in our trailer and I drove him home.  I unloaded him in the drive way, and lead him just as slowly as he wanted to walk down in the pasture where he would have shade and a beautiful view of the Rubies.  Then I held his head and scratched the spot I knew he liked the most while the vet gave him the shot that took all of his pain away forever.  And I cried.  A lot.

I really hope he is with a girl in heaven who needed a good horse.  Who can appreciate him for what he is.  Look past his quirks and love him like I did, because he deserves that much.  Maybe someday I will find another horse just like him, who challenges me when I need it and takes care of me on the days I can't.  Until then I know I will have some hard days.

Saturday I rope in the first branding contest I've entered since I lost him.  I feel lost.  I feel like I can't rope, and I just really want to stay home and pretend that he is down in the field with his ears pinned back, glaring at any other horse who gets too close.  I could really use my copilot for one more ride.

Photo courtesy of Heidi Stevens


  1. Brought tears to my eyes to read this. Sorry girl, that's hard. I've yet to be faced with such a feat as this, but the day will come, I'm sure.
    Love the "Random thought" up there.
    Beautiful post.

  2. And hope you do well at the roping! I have that one horse I can rope on, and feel the most comfortable with.

  3. Each horse is so individual as your relationship with them you will find another horse but not another Cricket. Different is not bad, just different, but new memories and friendships can be made. It doesn't replace the old but perhaps softens the pain over time. Sorry for your loss.

    1. Thank you. I keep telling myself it can be worse, but still hard none the less.

  4. I feel your pain. We had too put down one of our awesome ranch horses a few months ago. So sad.
    I love how you described Cricket. They do take such good care of us when we put ourselves and them in so precarious positions. Love the quote too.
    Take care.

  5. Sending many hugs your way! My heart hurts for you!

  6. You did the right thing. I cried as I read this because I've walked that mile many times... from my first true love at 12 yrs old (a palomino gelding named Bullet), to my son's first true love (chestnut mare- Honey) and most recently, a 28 year old "lead cow" named Friendly. Each time I questioned God, then questioned whether I had what it takes to do what's right, and each time the animal that God blessed me with somehow conveyed to my heart that "it was time". It hurts like all hell. And it hurts every time they come to mind. Years later, it still hurts. That doesn't change. I guess in the overall scheme of things, it's that kind of love that makes us ranchers. Animal husbandry will sometimes wound us in ways only another rancher will understand, but the bottom line is still love.