5 pieces of advice for coping with the grief of losing your horse

  • When a horse dies, it can be as traumatic and raw for the owner as losing a best friend or family member. But there are ways to lighten the sense of loss, says animal communicator and intuitive healer Zoë Henderson

    1. Give yourself permission to mourn

    Sadly, the attitude of some people is that ‘it was just a horse, why are you so upset?’ This is ignorant and unhelpful. There is no such thing as ‘just a…’ when it comes to our animals — who may have been our friends, our companions, our teachers, and our carers and healers. You have every right to be distraught at the loss so allow yourself to mourn, to grieve and cry.

    2. In memoriam

    Do something of service in your horse’s name. Perhaps a donation to an animal welfare charity, paying for a park bench, or having a tree planted in a public space or wildlife sanctuary. You might also like to have something personal to keep like a piece of jewellery made from your horse’s hair, or getting a horseshoe made into a special keepsake.

    3. Watch for messages

    In the first few days and weeks after your pet’s passing, you may notice a flash in the corner of your eye that reminds you of a swishing tail, or you may get a hint of their smell. It is not unusual for special memories of our equine partners to return in this way.

    4. Write them a thank you letter

    Get a pen and paper and write your horse a letter thanking them for all the joy and laughter they brought to your life. Write about the funny times and the sad times, write about their habits, their likes and dislikes. Write about the times you remember most fondly and about how they came into your life. Write about the lessons they taught you and how they enriched your life. Keep writing till you’ve nothing left to say. Hide the letter in the bottom of a drawer and read it again many months later when the grief has subsided.

    5. Release the guilt

    Some people feel terrible guilt when a horse passes, especially if it involved euthanasia. I assure you that there is nothing to feel guilty about. Our animals are much wiser about life and death than humans.

    About the author

    Based in Englefield Green near London, Zoë Henderson is an intuitive healer, animal communicator and the author of Hands On Forever, a book that tells the story of her life and healing gift as well as offering tips on how the reader can heal themselves and loved ones. Find out more at intuitivehealer-horsewhisperer.com

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