Remembering your mother-in-law’s birthday can prove a bit tricky, but the day we said goodbye to a special four-legged friend is often a date we have no trouble in remembering. Here is why it’s OK to still miss your horse

1. Fear can stop us from wanting to look back. You’ve maybe shut away in a box in the back of your mind those difficult memories determined to “move on”. It’s OK to open up that box when you’re ready and remember your beautiful horse, how they smelt, the noise they made when they saw you coming to the gate with their headcollar; the way you felt when out hacking on a beautiful sunny day. You don’t have to forget.

2. Sudden illness or accident may have meant a very unplanned goodbye. It can be hard to gain closure when you have been thrust into such a sad event. Grief unfortunately doesn’t come with a time limit and years on it can still be difficult accepting they are gone. Don’t be ashamed to still feel sad when you think of them or when the anniversary arrives.

3. You may have seen your golden oldie into their twilight years and were granted a peaceful goodbye, however nothing can truly prepare you for the loss of a best friend. Celebrate the time you spent together and enjoy the happy memories of all the fun you had. It’s OK to replay the videos of them playing in the field or that time you did well at a show together. They are your memories to enjoy for as long as you want, over and over again.

4. A new horse might be filling up your time and bringing you lots of new memories but you are allowed to still miss your previous horse. Your new horse isn’t a replacement but your next four-legged companion to enjoy life with. Don’t feel guilty if you find your mind wandering to old memories, your new horse won’t be offended…

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5. The sale of a horse perhaps from unforeseen family circumstances or maybe when it was simply time to let your horse go and fulfil someone else’s dreams can be just as tough to forget. Take heart that you made the right decision and found them a special home with someone that will love them as much as you did. Social media makes staying in contact easier nowadays so why not send a friendly message and see if they mind you keeping in touch.

6. People can sometimes find situations hard to understand when they themselves have not experienced a difficult goodbye. If you find yourself missing a special four-legged friend and are perhaps met with a response like, “but it was years ago now!” don’t ever be made to feel silly for remembering such a big part of your life. Whether it’s been months, years or decades, it’s OK to miss your horse.