My husband's supervisor, an exceptionally sweet man, recently had to euthanize and then bury one of his horses. She was a 1200 pound cross-breed of clydesdale, thoroughbred, and quarter horse that he had acquired more as an accidental favor to someone. "She was really cute," he said wistfully, the silence and uneasy shifting in his chair following that statement indicating his sorrow, discomfort, and the momentary need to regroup. "What was so terrible was the ordeal of it all--burying her."
While I don't own a horse and never have, I have certainly been around the barn for enough traumatizing stories. A good friend of mine once had about 13 acres in central Mississippi. She said that they would leave the body out at the end of her land in the woods and let nature take over the work of disposing remains. My husband's boss said he learned next time to walk the animal to the edge of a five foot deep hole where it would be buried, as maneuvering 1200 pounds of lifeless flesh into the truck bed or cradle of a backhoe claw (or whatever had been used) was just enormous quantities of heartbreaking work. Of course, however, there are many times when there is no way to physically prepare ahead of time for the loss.
I cannot imagine having to say goodbye to such an outstanding creature much less having to walk the animal to her final destination, both of us knowing what was to come (and yes, they always know). Being there for the moment when life flickered out of those soulful equine eyes is sorrowful enough. My sincerest condolences to this gentle, gentle man that parted with his lovely creature last week.