Brookside Stables  Horses Are More Than Just Our Business
Wilmington, VT      (802) 464-0267

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Sassys Sugar
RIP our sweet girl
It is through teary eyes and a very heavy heart we share that our beloved Sassy lost her battle with laminitis on Feb. 5, 2013 Sassy's first trouble with laminitis was about 10 years ago which ended her show career but thankfully she battled through it. She battled like a trooper through a couple flair ups but the last was just to bad. For over a month her spirits stayed high and she told us not to give up, that she could fight once again for the chance to heal. This time proved to be a bit more then she could take. On Feb. 5th Sassy told Melissa she had had enough, her fight was gone and pain was more then she could bear. Being one of the hardest days of our life, we layed Sassy to rest with no more pain for her.  Below is a story Melissa wrote that I'd like to share here. It tells the special bond the two shared and I don't promise you can read it with out tears.
No one really knows the true depth of the love I have/had for my girl. Its deeper than just a girl an her horse, much deeper! From the moment I first laid eyes on that lil' mare in a stall at an action barn I knew she was destine to be with me! I went to her an she greeted me with warm wet kisses! For what seemed like hours I stood with her as she licked my hands. It was like the whole world had stopped moving except for us. I was an 11 year old girl with a broken heart at that time. I had just 15 days before suffered the loss of my first horse. But in the time I stood with her I forgot the hurt and was filled with joy.There was one thing stopping us though. Mom said she would not buy my horse at an auction, we did not know what we were getting. I felt my heart sink a bit. "But we are meant to be to together" I thought to myself. I went back to her a short time later, she greeted me like no one else who stopped to look at her. She had chosen me just as much as I had chosen her. Later that night the horses came into the arena one by one to be bid on. She came in an I watched the green young horse do as she was asked with fear in her eye. That was a scary scene for a young green horse to be introduced to. I felt sad as I watched her go back an forth past me wishing there was a chance she could be mine. Again the world seemed to have stopped. I knew nothing more than just the bond I already felt with that horse an the desire I had for her to be mine. Suddenly my dream came true! My grandmother who was seated in front of me turned to me and said "You got your horse". I couldn't believe it, tears ran down my face! My mother had been bidding on her an I didn't even notice. She saw the bond that was forming between us and decided to take a chance. I rushed out of the arena an to her stall. She was the most beautiful animal and she was mine! That night started the best relationship I could ever ask for. When the night was over, we loaded her into the trailer. It was dark in there but she trusted an got right in. She wanted to go home. I learned later in her life that she did not like to get into trailers an we spent many hours working on that. We got her home late that night/morning (on her 6th birthday) and settled her in. Day after day I spent with her preparing to leap into an adventure new to us both. It was time for her to learn to be ridden and it was time for ME to teach her. I knew it would be a long road but I didn't care. I already loved her an nothing else mattered. We worked hard day after day, me teaching her an her teaching me. I was proud of who we were becoming and I grew more an more protective of her with every day that passed. On days that I could not see her my heart hurt and I feared that hers did too. When I was on vaction all I wanted was to get home to her, to know she was safe and happy. This feeling never changed! For 14 years this is how I felt when we were apart. After all of our hard work I decided we needed to take another huge step. We were going to show off the team we had become! We were going to a horse show, not just any ol' back yard horse show but a class A double judged show! A huge event for a young girl an her young horse to jump into for their very first. But we were ready, we had worked hard, hour after hour, day after day! Everyone told us not to get our hopes up on how we would do, but we didn't let that get us down! We went in there an gave it out all in every single class! A young girl an her young horse did alright at their very first very large event. Reserve Champion for our division. That means second best out of all the horses an handlers/riders! I was so proud! We continued to work and work, getting better and better each day! But we of coarse took a few breaks from our hard work to play a bit an do some silly things! We loved to ride in the deep snow and play. One winter there was so much snow we couldnt get the load of grain an bedding to the barn. Sassy an I took care of that! Sassy wearing nothing more than her winter blanket and a bridle stood an waited for me as I loaded up the sled with a bag of shavings or a couple bags of grain an straped it on. Then I would grab the rope jump on her back an we would drag the sled to the barn to unload. There aren't alot of horses who would be willing to do this without thinking the sled was going to eat them. But Sassy did it, she did it because I asked her to an she'd do anything I asked! For Three years we worked to become the best that we could be! Returning from every show sporting either a champion or reserve champion ribbon. That lil girl sure was a Champion. In the summer of 2003 our world stopped! Sassy suddenly became extremly lame. The Vets said it was laminitis. I didn't really understand what that was, but I knew it put her life in jeopardy! I was terrified! How could this happen? I was so protective of her an so careful to keep her healthy! Although we'd only been together Four years we were inseperable! I did everything I could to help her recover. It meant countless hours without sleep, hours of care making styrofoam shoe's duct taped on, changing them multiple times per day, watching her diet like a hawk, and standing by her side through the her pain, keeping faith that everything would work out! It was a long road but it did work out! She was ok and to my amazment she returned to soundness, an amazing feat considering the damage that had been done! Our relationship grew even stronger after that! I saved her life an she knew it, she was greatful for it! Our attention left the show ring after this and focused souly on our friendship. Everything we did was just for fun although we did return to the show ring one last time in 2004 just to prove we still had it! We did just that, as we walked away with Champion! We retired on that day and Sassy became my pet. We would ride on occation, but our favorite thing to do was sit on the lawn an eat chips an candy an drink soda together! Sassy loved people food, there were very few things that she refused to eat! Mountain Dew was her favorite! She could drink it by herself. I would take of the cap an she would take it in her teeth, tip up her chin, pour some into her mouth, and lower her chin back down to give me the bottle while at the same time soda poured out of her mouth an flew off her tongue as she licked her lips. People loved to watch her do this, it always got a laugh! Although Sassy was retired from the show ring it didn't stop us from showing off a bit! When we used to do day camps at the barn I would get Sassy all decked out in her show tack an ride her for the kids so they could see what I western pleasure horse looked like. As the years passed an our students wanted to show, Sassy helped me teach them about halter classes. Even though she'd been out of the show ring for years and had not been asked to perform, a quick tune up was all it took to be back at our best. She knew the drill! I didn't have to tell her what to do, She already knew. I just had to tell her when to do it. In the summer of 2010 Laminitis reared its ugly debilitating head again. Leaving Sassy in severe pain once again. I stood by her side again, even slept by her side when that was the only thing that would comfort her. I feared that that would be the end, that she could never recover a second time. But again I did everything the vet and farrier told me to and she did it, she recovered! She did not return to total soundness this time but she was able to run an jump an buck when she wanted to, and she was happy with that. She spent the 2 years following her recovery keeping busy keeping my colt in line. She was always a grumpy girl who didn't want other horses in her space but she was gentle with Bug. She would tell him to go away or stop acting like an idiot, but she was never mean about it. Even as he approched 4 years old she had quite the job to keep him straight an she still did it with as much tenderness as when he was the tiny 2 week only baby she first met. She knew he was a foolish baby who just needed some wise guidence. As winter of 2012-2013 set in I could see she was having some troubles with the hard uneven ground. Somedays were ok an other were bad. She spent some of her time in the barn an on the good days she'd go outside. The first snow storm of the season was the icing on the cake. Something about the snow made her extremly sore. Thats when I knew I was going to face that evil monster once again! But we'd beat it twice before! We could do it again! We were armed with the weapon of experiance! I put my heart an soul into her recovery! For weeks, day an nights I cared for her trying to nurse her back to health. Just as I thought we were winning again something changed she started going backwards. It became clear to me that the chances of us over coming this round was very low. My heart was crushed! I laid in her stall holding her head soothing her the day before I knew the fight was over. I could see so many emotions in her eyes that day. She was tired yet she still held on because I was there with her. I hated to leave her alone that night, but it was winter how could I stay in the barn all night, I would never be able to stay warm enough. I worried all night long, I hoped the morning would bring improvment. I was sad to find that improvement was not what I got. She was worse. I tried everything to help her an nothing worked. I soaked her feet in ice water to relieve the pain but she told me no. She was a pro at having her feet soaked an she would stand for as long as I wanted her to in a bucket even if I walked away, on a normal day. As I sat there on the ground holding hugging her leg she would reach to me an nudge me, but it was different than normal. She was telling me something. Her eyes were tired an sad, she knew I could stop the pain an she was asking me. It broke my heart, I felt as though I had failed her, there had to be something more I could do to make her better. But there was nothing, I had already done it all. It was time for me to say good-bye to my best friend. She had a good afternoon that day, I gave her a large dose of pain meds to make her last hours more comfortable an she enjoyed a bale of hay the way she liked it best (the whole bale, strings still tied) a bunch of sugar, a whole bag of carrots, an whole bag of skittles an a ton of other candies. For a few moments I saw that sparkle return to her eye, but I knew it was only the high dose of pain killers an the treats causing that. It was the hardest choice and the most painful choice i've ever made in my life. But I loved that girl with every bit of my heart an I could not watch her hurt and be sad at the same time. She stayed strong for me! She never wanted to leave me this soon but for some reason I guess thats the way it was meant to be. She was an amazing animal. She could talk to me as if she had words an I could trust her as though she were human. She didn't need a halter an lead rope, she'd go anywhere I wanted her to just because I wanted her to. She knew what i meant when I talked to her, she understood me an I understood her! If anybody doesn't understand the feelings I have for this lil girl, think of it this way. How do you feel about your Children? Thats how I felt about her an still do. I have never felt that feelings I do with her with any other human or animal. I worry if she's cold or if she's to warm, if she's feeling ok, if she's safe, if she's being cared for right when I can't be there, if she has everythiing she needs to get through the time i'm gone. If she was outside and the weather turned bad I would drop everything to get to her an get her into the safety of the barn. I will never feel that way again. This was a special once in a life time love. I will never stop protecting her. She may not be on this earth any longer but I will protect her spirit, her memories, and her body for the rest of my life!