"Love My Way, It's a New Road"


Oh, they say she died one winter
When there came a killing frost
And the pony she named Wildfire
Busted down it’s stall
In a blizzard he was lost
She ran callin’ Wildfire
She ran callin’ Wildfire
She ran callin’ Wildfire

Michael Martin Murphey

Only on this blog can I confess the horrible/morally questionable things I do. This post is no exception. This has nothing to do about sex, but it is about family and the horrific lie I am about to perpetrate. Settle back, it’s another one of Maggie’s stories.

19 years ago, I bought a horse for my then 6-year-old daughter. I was bamboozled by a trainer about how we would “share” the horse 50/50 so she could use him for lessons. It was only a ploy to get me suckered into the horse ownership world. Don’t get me wrong. I was a horse crazy kid and having a daughter with that same gene was fabulous. She rode and was able to do everything I didn’t. I lived vicariously through my daughter for years.

Wildfire is an awesome horse. We got him on the young side, but he is smarter than you can imagine. Together they learned to jump, dressage, trail riding – whatever she wanted to do, that horse willingly learned with her. He kept her on her toes with his feisty personality and the ability to make sure she would fall off on a regular basis, but he also made sure she was never hurt.

Once she went off to college, I had a conundrum. He was about 18 years old – too old to be sold to someone and of course, Taz wouldn’t hear of it. So Wildfire went off to college, because Taz’s college town was surrounded by country where he could live a great retirement. I found him a luxurious retirement farm who has provided him with the best care imaginable….at a cost. It has been 7 years of retirement and I have spent about $36,000 on a horse who is now approaching 30 years old and blind in one eye. He is still fit as a fiddle. His monthly board fee is standard and anything less will equate to substandard care.

I just spoke to his caregiver, who I completely respect and trust. I handled all of Wildfire’s upkeep issues, so Taz had no dealings with the caregiver. I have been struggling with broaching this subject for about a year. I can no longer continue paying for Wildfire’s upkeep. I need to cut expenses wherever and whenever possible. This $425/month cost is ridiculous, but sentimental. The caregiver cannot take on his upkeep just to have him hang around. In order to keep Wildfire from becoming a can of Alpo, I have to have him put down – killed to be brutally frank. I feel awful. The caregiver has promised that this conversation will stay between the two of us. I will tell Taz that he died of natural causes. She hasn’t asked about him in over 6 months. I don’t get regular updates. I feel like I am throwing $425 into the fire. It has to stop, but I feel awful. The horse is healthy, albeit old. He frolics and lives an idyllic life with friends in a beautiful pasture.

I tell myself that the alternative for Wildfire is horrific. Due to his age, he would end up on a feed lot or some substandard horse rescue operation that can’t afford him. Forever homes for old horses are few and far between. He has lived a great life and I have protected him for about 20 years. It’s time to let go. My plan is to tell Taz that he colicked (bad intestinal issue that kills many a horse – he has suffered from this in the past occasionally). The caregiver will tell no one the truth. It will be between me, the vet and the caregiver. Now the question becomes when to do this. I think it will happen by November. I plan on being there because if I am going to do this, I want to say good-bye. Ugh. I hope my karma can sustain this blow. Time will tell.



Comments on: "Wildfire" (22)

  1. Such a tough, tough decision. I’m sorry you have to be the one to make it.


    • Right? I don’t know what else to do. The Ex would have killed that horse about 8 years ago. He never liked him and the feeling was mutual. Wildfire tossed him one time during a beach ride — the Ex tumbled off into the water. This was after Wildfire had stomped his foot excitedly in the water. God, that horse was awesome back in the day….


    • Right? I don’t know what else to do. The Ex would have killed that horse about 8 years ago. He never liked him and the feeling was mutual. Wildfire tossed him one time during a beach ride — the Ex tumbled off into the water. This was after Wildfire had stomped his foot excitedly in the water. God, that horse was awesome back in the day….


  2. I am sorry that you feel you can’t talk to your daughter about this.
    Also… she is now an adult, about to get married, and seems to have a no-nonsense approach to life. Maybe if you discussed it with her, she could take on the costs, or find another solution? Or at the very least understand that this must be and be able to say goodbye too?

    I don’t mean to sound judgmental, because I am not. I can feel the pain in your words. It’s just that I come from a family with lots of secrets, from things from my grandparents’ past that I’ll never know now, to the fact I spent my last vacation with my aunt, to the fact my ex is suing me for divorce because I had an affair. I can’t tell my mom this, because I don’t want to hurt her. But it is hard to always remember that I can’t talk freely around her. So I shut down. And don’t tell her anything. It’s a lonely place to be, for both of us.

    I wish you didn’t have to go through this. Secrets have a tendency to come out when you least expect them to… once thee divorce is final and my kids are older, then maybe I can tell them about this. Explain why it was a necessary step for me, for my survival.

    But for now… it is hard. Made harder by the fact that I can never know for sure that their dad isn’t telling them behind my back.

    So.. if you can avoid it… don’t start a secret. That would be my advice :-/

    Good luck, whatever it is that you do!
    (PS: and I’m glad you feel safe to say this here!)


    • I totally appreciate what you are saying and telling her is probably the right thing to do, but what if that backfires and she resents/hates me for doing this? Yes, she is a mature woman, but this is her pet. I had to put our dog down when she was 2-1/2 because it bit her and another child. Rather than tell her the dog was killed for being bad, we told Taz that the dog had been sent to a farm. She believed that until her teens and when she learned the truth, she was indignant until she thought about why we told that white lie. Then she found it funny….I’m still hearing about it in a teasing manner.

      I have to think about telling the truth. It could set me free or set me on fire….

      Liked by 1 person

      • I totally understand what you are saying.
        But since she is a mature and grown woman and this is *her* pet… She is old enough to understand that your finances since the divorce don’t allow you to continue paying for it. And it is, after all, *her* pet, so she should chip in or at least be willing to discuss the consequences if she won’t/can’t. If she is not willing to pay, and doesn’t even inquire about the horse any more, maybe she isn’t that attached to it and won’t mind letting him go, thanking him for the good times had. If she isn’t ready to face those consequences, then maybe she needs to find other solutions on her own. From what you told us about her, she sounds very able to do that.

        I may be completely out of line, but I have a feeling that part of the problem is that you want to protect your baby, because no matter how old she is, she is still your baby, and it’s hard to see them as anything else, at least from what I understand/start to experience.

        But I do understand what you say about being set free or on fire. I know very well, I live it every day. :-/

        As I said.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I was thinking about your first comment while I went for a run/walk and I agree with what you are saying. I think I need to stay true to my new commitment to tell the truth – always.

        I appreciate all your comments – you are never out of line!! Thank you!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m glad you feel this way. Nothing like a good walk/run to help sort out our thoughts 🙂
        Good luck with that discussion then!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. At her stage of adult life, it’s hard to imagine letting your mother continue this financial burden. You generously allowed her the wonderful experience of growing up having a horse. So many girls can only dream of such a thing. If she’s adult enough to become a doctor and get married, she’s adult enough to figure out what’s feasible for her horse. I know your instinct is to protect her, but think about it–she’s dealing with life and death situations on a daily basis. Let her deal with this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So true – I agree. The more I hear from everyone, the more I realize I need to talk to her and get her input. We have previously discussed how to handle his end of life if he would become sick. Now I need to talk to her about the reality of the situation. Thank you!!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. sassygirl40 said:

    I agree with the others. You have been amazingly generous to be paying this amount for so long, and really, you should not have to any longer. I would be honest with her and let her either take over the payments or she can choose not to. Regardless, she is an adult and this is her pet. Good luck! It’s not a fun conversation to have 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Madeline Harper said:

    I’m late to this post and wonder what you decided? I think this is a really tough decision. My brother had to put my mothers dog to sleep some years ago and never admitted to what he did to my mom.

    I think honesty is the way to go, but this is, for sure, a very tough conversation and I wish you the best of luck.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. […] As Ben Franklin said, “Never a borrower or a lender, be”. I have trimmed expenses, except that damn horse. The Hunter chips in and when his new job lines up, he’ll contribute more. But I know that winter […]


  7. […] Taz about Wildfire and it was not pleasant.  In case you missed the story behind Wildfire, click here.  Based on my Dear Reader comments, I decided to try the honesty approach and broach the subject […]


  8. […] of over $46,000 during that time.  If you want to read about my earlier turmoil over this, click here and […]


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