100 pounds of ashes

Trigger warning: this blog post will discuss the death of my horse, Star. It is not my intention to make it, or you, sad, but I also do not want to mislead you – she is still, in fact, dead. Even at the end of the story. 🤷🏻‍♀️ no amount of glue, prayer, or drunk crying has changed that in the two years she’s been gone and I have no reasonable expectation that her circumstance will change at any point in the future (near or far).

BUT, the story of how I ended up with 100 pounds of ashes is sort of funny, at least in a morbid way (my favorite way!), so.. I’m going to share the story.

First, to be honest, it’s closer 60 pounds of ashes, but that doesn’t pack the same punch as 100 pounds. Pick whichever weight makes this story more exciting to you. 🤣

As a brief background, Star died from colic. Her guts twisted up in her belly, and clogged her up, until 25 feet of her intestines died. (Fun fact: horses apparently can live, in some situations, WITHOUT 25 FEET OF INTESTINE). She was taken into emergency surgery, where ultimately, I decided that as her BFF/partner of 15 years, I had to make a decision that was in her best interest, and maybe not mine. We let her go. Her quality of life, to that point, had been amazing, and I simply wasn’t willing to let the quality of her life diminish for my own selfish wants.

So she died – December 26th, 2019. It was devastating. Honestly, no matter how much time you think you have to prepare, no matter what the initial prognosis looked like, no matter the age, no one is ever prepared to say goodbye to their best friend. Ever. I was not prepared.. and she was 25! Not exactly a spring chicken. (Or even a chicken at all – this story is about a horse remember?).

It may surprise you, but I was actually relatively calm that entire day. ESPECIALLY CONSIDERING WHO I AM AS A PERSON. However; one thing I had never thought of/I do not think many people think of, until put in this situation, is how large a horse actually is. Star was exactly 1,124 pounds on the day she died. THAT IS A LOT OF MASS TO DO SOMETHING WITH.

Seriously, the options suck. First, decisions need to be made quickly. Secondly, no one should make these kinds of decisions while emotional and thirdly, THE. OPTIONS. SUCK.

Long story short, they put her down, brought me a chunk of her mane hair (which like 🥺), and then they are like.. “okay, now what do you want us to do with her?”

Strangely, they do not have a ton of storage space for horse corpses. So THESE ARE THE OPTIONS THEY GAVE ME:

1. We can get the BACK HOE and load her back into her trailer and then I could bury her wherever (provided I had a back hoe at the ready, which spoiler alert: I did not). Trying to imagine my parent’s HOA’s response when I dug up a 1000 pound animal sized hole under the front tree was also impossible. Obviously, this was a no.

2. Cremation is the other option. Which, as it turns out, IS QUITE THE PROCESS. There are a couple options.

Unbeknownst to me (but probably a no brainer to most) is the cold truth that the majority of crematoriums do not have a crematory space (I want to call it oven, but that feels disrespectful. I have no idea what it is called) large enough for a horse. So, for this option, we had to store her over the weekend and then she was going to be trailered to a special animal cremation station (I’ve always wanted to say cremation station 🤣), where she would spend hours becoming 100 (realistically 60) pounds of ash, at an exorbitant fee.

ORRR HERE’S THE REALLY COOL OPTION – the second option for cremation. They offered to do a “Head, Hoof, Heart” cremation.

Now.. first, to set the scene. My horse of 15 years, who I had been fighting to keep alive for like 18 hours now, and road tripped across Kansas for, died approximately 4 minutes prior to this conversation. We (my mom and I) are in this god-awful “sorry your horse died” waiting room, and they have all of these preserved horse legs, with the tendons/bones/muscles showing, just sitting around.

This waiting room must double as the “wow, your horse broke all the bones, tendons and muscles in its leg” room, because they had all the props.

So ANYWAY, I am sitting there, probably experiencing a little shock, with this damn preserved, and halved, horse leg in my face. And this poor, poor resident, who has already seen more emotion from me than anyone really deserves goes “.. Or we can do the head, hoof, heart cremation.”

Okay, remember, I am exhausted. So.. I look at her and I’m just like “.. that is truly an awful business name.” 😳

Update: not a business name. They literally only cremate the head, the hooves, and the heart, so the person ends up with a NORMAL amount of ashes.

The moment that this hits me, it hits my mother, and truly, thank the Lord for that, because I went red. Full blown: “I am going to beat the living shit out of you with this stupid, preserved, horse leg for even SUGGESTING that we will be chopping Star up.”

Bless my mom’s heart, she tried telling me that no.. they wouldn’t be chopping her up, they would just “put up dividers to keep the ashes separate.” 🤣 she tried, okay?

HYSTERIA ENSUED. I may or may not have screamed “you are not chopping her up” to any and all parties in the building. Important note: no one was struck with the horse leg at any time, despite my best efforts.

And with those as my options.. I paid an inordinate amount of money, to have every single piece of her cremated, together, as one solid horse.

To be honest, I didn’t realize how MUCH ash she would make (is that how that should be phrased?). But given the other alternative of driving around with her dead body or letting the vet school students go to town on her body with their reciprocating saw.. I was taking the ashes. So now, I have 60-100 pounds of horse ash, in a very nice wooden box, that I have no idea what to do with.

Do I regret it? No.

Do I wish I had thought through a final plan a little better? Yes.

Is she sitting in my parents garage? Yes.

Am I afraid to drive with her in case I wreck and she explodes on the highway? Also, yes.

Do I half-jokingly keep telling everyone that we are going to spread her ashes instead of flower petals on our wedding aisle? Yes again.

Guys, I can’t make this up. This is truly how I ended up with a gigantic box of horse ash, that I insist on carrying around and weeping over, when I have had a little too much wine to drink. It’s, no joke, 1/2 the size of me. If nothing else, I have to be getting stronger. 🤷🏻‍♀️

That being said, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Well.. that’s not true. I would GLADLY take her back, all 1,124 pounds, in all of her glory, and be her mom/best friend again, but like I said, I just don’t think it’s gonna happen. It hasn’t so far.

I miss her. Please don’t read this as a callous post. I miss her more than words can say, but I’ve gotten to the point where I have got to be able to laugh about it. Crying isn’t changing anything, and honestly, it’s the last thing Star would want.

So: the morale of the story? Not really sure there is one. I guess, be prepared for your large farm animals to die at some point, and maybe have a plan for their remains.. or at least.. budget accordingly. 😉.

Laugh with me, friends. You have to admit, it’s a little pathetic. No one should have 100 pounds of horse ash just laying around, but HERE I AM. Give me all your horse ash ideas… we have plenty.

Sunny daze ahead friends, I promise. 🐎❤️

Did you think you would get out of this without picture proof? 😝

Published by SunnyDazeAhead

Well... it's happening, due to high demand, and my monstrous ego, I've decided to blog. Simply put, I can't imagine who wouldN'T want to read my crazy antics and get to know the inner-workings of my semi-stable brain. Maybe, you'll laugh (hopefully, WITH me). Maybe you'll cry or maybe you'll get bored. It's really up to you what you take from this, all I can promise is brutal honesty, a heavy dose of sarcasm, some cuss words (I am who I am, sorry dad), and a little insanity. My mom has also recommended I share some of my recipes.. so maybe that too. The face behind the blog is... hard to put into words and words are "kinda" my thing. I am loud, I am outspoken, I am silly, I am sarcastic. I am wildly defensive of my loved ones. I have an anxious mind and I spend a LOT of time trying to keep my brain from spiraling into worst case scenarios. I work hard to keep my mind a happy, optimistic place, which I have come to realize is not my mind's natural habitat. I spend almost all my time with my three dogs: Lucy, Brantley, and Zeppelyn, who I am convinced are the greatest beings on the planet. I probably love my parents TOO much, but I am blessed to share a very close friendship with both and it is REALLY important to me that I never take that for granted. I love a boy, I have loved the same boy for years now, and I moved for him and honestly; home is where he is. Fine, his name is Matt and he is most definitely TAKEN, so back off ladies. I am a KC Native; a Jayhawk by choice, and an Omaha- Transplant. I spent my entire life telling everyone I was going to be a doctor, only to turn out to be an attorney in the scheme of things (I am proud of that, it is just not where I saw my life going). I am often convinced that I should have been born in a small town (John Cougar Mellencamp- Style) and any part of my heart not occupied by the dogs and Matt, is occupied by the late, but no less great Star, my horse/partner/best friend of 15 years. That's right, I am a former "Horse Hottie" and it is one of my favorite things about myself. Otherwise, I try to be a kind, generous, and a good person. Sometimes, I think I am misunderstood, and other times, I am understood a little too well. My face will tell you anything that I SOMEHOW manage to filter my mouth from saying. Oh, and I think I need all baby animals: zoo animals, farm animals, ALL the animals. That should pretty much wrap it up -- I'm Ashley; Enneagram: Whatever. In truth, I don't know what my mission is here. I don't foresee myself saving lives, talking people off the ledge, or providing sage, creative or original life advice. I am not a parent, so parenting-advice shall not be offered. I avoid controversial topics like the plague, I don't have the urge to lead you to the Lord (but he is pretty cool if you are open to the idea), and I have no idea on how to teach, craft, DIY, counsel, or even really advise. But I can repeat what I have learned, I can tell stories, and (sometimes) I can make people laugh. Writing makes me happy. I hope my writing makes you happy. So buckle up, strap in, glue your helmet to your damn head, empty your bladder and do whatever it is that you have to do to prepare for a ride.. a wild ride. A star-studded, bronc bucking, rodeo type of ride... my very favorite type. 💃🏼 Sunny daze ahead friends, probably. ❤️

4 thoughts on “100 pounds of ashes

  1. Am so sorry about your horse, losing anyone you’re so close to, whether human or animal is devastating. That being said, your humor is just out of the park. It made an otherwise sad post so so hilarious 🤣🤣

    Liked by 1 person

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