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Run free, Comet

Prayers for Comet, who heads to Greener Pastures this morning to join so many loved horses who have gone before. His Cushings is progressing rapidly, he has stopped taking his meds, is barely eating, and his weakness and balance problems are progressing at an alarming rate, from a slight wobble ten days ago to stumbling while walking straight to nearly falling while turning. We are heartbroken but it is time.

Comet Sr. (as he came to be known since we already had a younger Comet when he came in) was with GSH a short two and a half years. Brought in to be a Bug Club pony due to his previous owner's divorce and inability to afford his treatment for Cushing, Heaves and a partially fused arthritic knee, Comet arrived with an unexpected limp and was never ridden as expected. He had been a therapy pony for a paraplegic girl, but when she outgrew him, her father took him to auction where a local person purchased him to give him the retirement he deserved. Then he came to GSH.

Though Comet was a medium pony, standing about 13.2, his personality was bigger than the largest Percheron. He was intelligent, opinionated, stubborn and playful. He would stand quietly and was the first horse many volunteers and Bug Club kids learned to groom, pick feet, and give baths, while still being stubborn and pushy with his caretakers just because he could. He was a prankster, who could open and close doors and gates, and would often sneak behind other horses and shut their stall doors, locking them in. More than once evidence was found that he'd let himself into the feed room, had a snack, and then somehow got out again shutting and latching the door behind him. Eventually we found a clasp he couldn't get undone, but we regularly found Comet hair on the latch to prove he was still attempting to do so. His Cushings, Heaves and arthritis were well controlled with supplements and daily pain medicine, and for over two years he was able to just be a horse in our senior paddock.

This winter was harder on him, and we debated all winter if it was time to let him go. Then, about a month ago, he started refusing to eat if his supplements were in his food. At his age, with his health, we followed his lead, removed his supplements, let him eat what he wanted, and monitored him. As we suspected, without his Smart Pituitary, his Cushings rapidly took over, and in the past ten days he's slowly turned his nose up at most of his feed, started losing weight and muscle, and neurological/balance symptoms rapidly progressed. We settled on Saturday, April 28, to let him go, but the symptoms progressed rapidly and we began to fear that the 28th would be too late, as his slight wobble turned into stumbling and nearly falling within 10 days. For his sake, we pushed the date up, and this morning Comet was set free of pain and is now happily chasing babies (his favorite activity) in Greener Pastures.

Comet's passing will leave a big hole in the barn, but underneath our pain is the deep knowledge that it was right.