dancing horses

dancing horses

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


First of all let me say how honoured and touched I am by the support I've been getting from all my family, friends and strangers. It seems that my blog post has gone out into the wider internet and has had thousands of views.

Through my blog post and through FB dozens have strangers have reached out to offer condolences. I want you all to know that it helps. It truly does. Ed and I are still shattered but the support makes it bearable.

As a result of so many people sharing my story I was contacted by two radio stations to do my story. I didn't want to. the thought of speaking about it was horrible. But I wanted to get the message out about controlling and training dogs.  So I agreed. The first was last night. I was able to get my full story out and after the host called me back. He wanted to make sure that I was okay.

This is the one I did this morning: http://www.cbc.ca/informationmorningns/informationmorningns/2014/12/16/spanish-horse-suffers-disturbing-death/

It was much briefer and I thought I was composed. Turns out I wasn't. It was awful. I was awful. But if the causes just a few people to take more care with the dogs they choose and the training they do then it's worth it.

The night of Steele's death I went out to the barn to check on Irish. The barn felt colder and emptier. He was standing in his stall with his head hanging. His hay was untouched. I hadn't offered him grain but had given him alfalfa. That was untouched. He lifted his head and looked at me and I saw my sorrow reflected back. I cried again. I went and put some of his oats in a bucket and held some in my hand.
"you have to eat. I don't want you to colic"
He softly took some and chewed. I stayed out there for a while, slowly filling my hand with grain while he slowly ate. When he stopped I put it the rest on top of his alfalfa. Before I left I turned on the radio. I'm not sure if the noise was of any comfort or not but I believed that it wouldn't hurt.

After a sleepless night I went back to the barn. Ed offered to go but I needed to do it.  He had eaten some hay and some of his feed. I mucked out and then went out to secure the small paddock. When I let him out he trotted to the fence, looked towards where Steele had run and whinnied. He looked at me and then spied d'Arcy, my BC. He leaped away and ran back to his stall. I realized that he wasn't seeing the dog he grew up with and who shared his paddock. He was seeing a predator and he was terrified.  I took my dogs back to the house.

Ed and I went out and repaired the fencing. I could follow Steele's path: he ran through two fences and two gates. I took photos before we repaired it and then turned on the electric. I then let Irish out. He seemed to settle at first but then he started running the fence line calling. All morning he rotated between running and calling and standing there with his head hung low. I went out to bring him in and had a moment of panic when I couldn't find him. He was in Steele's stall. I closed him in and gave him hay. Which he ate. He seemed happier in that stall so I left him there. I then called the vet who prescribed some sedatives for him. Cynthia came to help and he seemed to relax in her company more than with me. I believe that we were just feeding each others sorrow. She could treat him more normally. In fact she was a balm to both of us.

Irish is responding well to the drug - he's eating and drinking but that is a short term solution. I realize that I need a companion for him. I can't even imagine another horse in that stall but it is not about me. My vet says he has a horse that could help I just need to figure out how to get him. I know I have a trailer but I feel in no fit state to drive myself, let alone take responsibility for a horse. Then there's the bills. I have a bill over $500 for the vet and I have no idea what the excavator cost. I have no regrets but because of a careless dog owner I have a substantial bill and broken heart. Steele paid with his life and I would give anything to have him back.

However we will figure it out. We always do.

I also have to figure out what to do about this blog. I'm not ready to let go. My journey with my dancing horse is over but not over. If that makes any sense at all. I wouldn't expect too much coherence. However, I don't want him remembered for his death but for who he was. My funny, beautiful, infuriating, perfect, argumentative companion.  I would say that he was going to be a star but he already was. Like Achieve1dream said "I never met Steele but I loved him anyway." http://rdxhorses.blogspot.ca/2014/12/rip-steele.html

We all did. and it's helpful for me to know that.


  1. I'm so very sorry for your loss. Steele was beautiful and obviously well loved. Why isn't the dog owner responsible for ALL the costs incurred from this senseless tragedy? They're his dogs loose on your property and I can't believe he's not stepped forward and offered already.

  2. It was a very good interview Teresa. I am a horse person and I share your pain. It is hard enough to lose one's friend but to have it happen like that! My thoughts are with you your husband and Irish

  3. I am very sorry I will miss seeing him out my kitchen window. He was a beautiful horse and will always be remembered

  4. You were so strong and brave to do the interview. Imagine the other horses you have helped by doing it.

    I enjoy reading your blog and I hope you keep writing. Sending big hugs :)

  5. I'm sorry that Irish is suffering too. I'm amazed that you were able to get the word out about keeping control of dogs so soon after the accident. We in the horse blog world talk about how loose dogs affect our horses often, but I've noticed that the rest of the world still seems clueless.

  6. I'm sure it was very hard to do the interview but if you've educated some dog owners it was worth it.

    I hope Irish starts feeling like himself soon. It does take time because they grieve too. I'd try and contact the dog owner and see if he would be willing to help pay some of the bills. It's worth a try. He should have offered already but a little push might help move him in the right direction.

  7. Your interview was very good - far more composed than you think. (((Teresa))) My thoughts are with you, Ed, and Irish.

  8. When I lost my mare to colic last year, the support of my fellow bloggers (most of whom I've never met) helped me get through. I, too, struggled with knowing what to do with my blog, but in the end decided to keep it up. I might not post as often, and the content has changed with the addition of our new horses, but at least I still have all of my posts from Estes and when I'm missing her terribly or need a smile, I can browse my archived posts, which brings me some comfort.

    I do agree with Grey Horse Matters - I would be reaching out to the owner of the dogs. His liability (or homeowners) insurance should be taking care of the cost incurred by his reckless animals.

  9. Hi Teresa, We don't know each other, but as horse lovers and horsewomen, we are one community. I agree with the other posts, the owner of these dogs should have already come forward to pay these bills (and more). Perhaps Ed could deal with him and get him moving in the right direction. However, if he doesn't, I would like to offer to help you with a donation towards the bills. You can email me at 'akelter@centralns.ca', or PM me on my Facebook page Andrea Kelter. Also, I regularly haul a 34 foot travel trailer, and if you need help picking up a companion horse for Irish, I will be more than happy to come help out. I have a Ford F-150 fully set up for hauling - it will have no trouble with a trailer and a horse. Although I did not know your Steele except from his beautiful photos, I was blessed to have a "Steele" of my own for many years. Allan (my Steele) died of health issues related to old age a few years ago, and even today, the pain is as raw as it was then. I am so sorry for your loss, and if I can be of help...please let me know, and I will be there.

  10. Oh Teresa, what a horrible accident, and a horrible thing to have to deal with. While you might be feeding each other's sorrow some, I'm glad you and Irish have each other. When you're that heartbroken, it helps to know someone else is feeling the same. Even when that someone is another species entirely.

    I'll have my fingers crossed that things work out for you. The blogging community is a good one, and I'm glad to have had stories of Steele to read and to share in his fun life. He did have a good life with you, that's for sure.

  11. Sending hugs, love and support.

    You, Ed, Irish, and d'Arcy are all in my thoughts.

    Love you,

  12. I am so very sorry, Teresa. Steele was such a promising young horse and you were doing an incredible job training him. Try to remember that last ride through the woods with him. No one can take that accomplishment away from you.

    Loose dogs scare the hell out of me.

  13. The owner of the dog should be held accountable for every single expense you incurred as a result of this horrific accident. The bills are the last thing you should be worrying about during your time of mourning...

  14. I am so sorry for your loss Teresa and in such a horrible way...HUGS..

  15. I'm so sorry for the pain you and Irish are in. I'm still having trouble comprehending that he is gone. I've thought about you all day today. I wish there was something I could do to help you through this. I think you did a great job with the interview and I really hope it reaches a lot of people and makes a difference. I agree the owner of the dogs should have to pay the bills. I really hope you can work something out because even though it wasn't intentional it is still their fault. We are responsible for our dog's actions and they should have to pay. I'm so sorry you're having to deal with all of this stress on top of your grief. If you need anything just let us know and know that we are thinking of you. Thank you for sharing the beautiful video.

  16. You held it together really well on that interview. Amazingly well. I hope you don't mind that I wrote about Steele and used a picture from your blog. I'll take the picture down if you want. He was gorgeous and I will miss him and your stories. Please find a reason to keep this blog going.

  17. I learned of this tragedy through Annette and I am so sorry about what has happened. Steele was such a beautiful boy. One day at a time is the best you can do. You have my sincere sympathies.

  18. I too join in with the many that have expressed their great sorrow in the loss of your much loved Steele. Why is it the innocent that suffer for the irresponsibility of others? So not fair! I would recommend that you send your bills for the veterinarian and excavator to the owner of the dogs or at least take him to court to get these bills paid. It is he who should pay -- not you! Are there any ordinances in your area against unleashed dogs? I know this is a time to mourn your loss -- and the rest can come later. Take care ~

  19. Beautiful video. He was a lovely young horse. Xoxo

  20. I'm so sorry for you loss Teresa, I wasn't aware of your blog until I read about your tragedy with Steele. I'm just at a loss as to how sad it all is...and for no other reason than irresponsible dog owners. Only time will help heal the pain of your loss but you shouldn't be dealing with financial issues as well. Yes the dog owners SHOULD step up and pay the bills incurred because of their actions (or lack there of) but I would think they are also legally responsible. Wishing you and your family love and healing.

  21. I'm so sad for you, but I'm also angry. I can't BELIEVE the dog owners have not contacted you further after the event. Further in shock that they haven't offered to pay any of the bills. So upset for you.

  22. A friend sent this to me when I lost my beloved cherished mare to a fatal accident. I could go on and on about how I've been in your shoes and feel your pain but I won't. I'll just say that as I read your story my heart was breaking for you and I had tears in my eyes. I truly was physically feeling your anguish and rage.I took me months to come to grips with her loss and to deal with the grief and emptiness she left behind. This little poem was the first thing to make me smile while at the same time it made me cry. I like to think that "my lady" is indeed right next to me all the time now.





  23. Again, so sorry for the loss of Steele. There are usually many horses in our lifetimes, but occasionally the "one" comes into our lives and makes us a better person. I believe Steele was your "one"...and I personally would hate to see you stop writing. xoxo

  24. I am so so sorry for your loss. I cannot even imagine what you are going through. :(


Thank you for leaving a comment. I love the feedback.