Today we lost one of the most loving, kindest, and giving mares I’ve ever known. Momma Sue will always be a part of this rescue – her presence here will be felt, always. She raised not only her baby, Aaleyah Belle, but two orphans, Buttercup and Silver Belle as well. She watched over them, loved them, and taught them how to be a horse.
Momma Sue came to us along with her hours hold filly on May 3rd, 2008. We picked them up after receiving a call that they were both going to be shot if we didn’t take them. Aaleyah Belle had been born with a wry nose – you can read their story on the website. http://beautysequinerescue.org/aaleyah_belle.htm. Aaleyah Belle was named after Eight Belles, another brave and beautiful TB filly that lost her life that day in a race that will forever be etched in my mind.
Momma Sue was in deplorable shape when she arrived – she’d given all she had to her baby. She was weak all over but her hind quarters and spine told an unknown story of injury. Perhaps it happened during her racing career? Her registered name is “Currently Sue” and she was born in 1992. She had 2 wins in 15 starts and won 2 races which earned $14,636 for her owners. Here, she won our hearts.
Over time, Momma Sue put on weight and her condition improved but there was always a problem with right hip.
Buttercup (orphan to a nurse mare) came to the rescue only a few days after Aaleyah and her mom arrived. Aaleyah Belle and Buttercup became as sisters in no time. And where they were, so was Momma Sue.
Some weeks later Silver Belle (orphan to a mare that died from unknown causes – has the same sire as Aaleyah Belle) came to the rescue with life threatening injuries. Momma Sue took her under her wings too. Momma Sue and her three girls.
She watched over all three of them as though they were her own. We’ll be forever grateful to her. And when we see them, we see Momma Sue in all of them.
Momma Sue was proud of her babies. And we will always be proud of all of them.
Where ever the girls were, Momma Sue wasn’t far behind. You could see and feel the love, wisdom, and warm light in her eyes – especially when she watched the girls as they grew. Perhaps the recent return of Buttercup and Silver Belle in March were all part of God’s plan. It was a blessing having all of them here together again, even if only for a few weeks.
Over time Momma Sue’s hindquarters became worse. Last fall Dr. Ryan treated her with 2 different types of injections in her spine which helped quite a bit. Dr. Das tried to work on her but Momma Sue was too uncomfortable. We put her on a diet and tried to get her weight down be more mobile. In December she was treated with one of the medications again and she did seem a bit more comfortable. Within the last few weeks she started to decline and she began to have trouble getting up.
We had her treated again with the 2 types of medications on May 10th. It was clear when Dr. Ryan administered them that Momma Sue was pretty uncomfortable. After, she had one day she seemed better and we prayed for continued improvement but it wasn’t meant to be. You can see how the muscles in her hindquarters were atrophied – and her chest muscles were large – her front legs and body worked overtime. She got to the point where she would struggle to get up and you could see the anxiety in her face and the soreness in her body grew worse. The light in her eyes was growing dim.
This morning she was down again and it was clear that she was tired and ready to be released of her pain. We loved her enough to let her go.
She looked at all three of her babies, then she looked directly at Aaleyah Belle and nickered, and then she turned and walked me up to Frosty’s Knoll with her head high.
We stopped on the way up for some treats and extra TLC. There is no doubt that Momma Sue knew she was loved here. Everyone loved Momma Sue.
Momma Sue was laid to rest just to the northeast of our dear sweet Nick. She is at the top of Frosty’s Knoll overlooking down over the babies that have crossed Rainbow Bridge.
I share the story below every Christmas but now when I read it I will remember Momma Sue along with Grandma. Grandma was another kind and giving TB mare that raised Chloe (a nurse mare foal). Grandma crossed Rainbow Bridge due to similar issues as Momma Sue.
“Only for Love”
The young couple had made their usual hurried, pre-Christmas visit to the little farm where dwelt the elderly parents with their small herd of horses. The farm had been named Lone Pine Farm because of the huge pine which topped the hill behind the farm, and through the years had become a talisman to the old man and his wife, and a landmark in the countryside. The old folks no longer showed their horses, for the years had taken their toll, but they sold a few foals each year, and the horses were their reason for joy in the morning and contentment at day's end.
Crossly, as they prepared to leave, the young couple confronted the old folks. "Why do you not at least dispose of "The Old One." She is no longer of use to you. It's been years since you've had foals from her. You should cut corners and save where you can. Why do you keep her anyway?" The old man looked down as his worn boot scuffed at the barn floor and his arm stole defensively about the Old One's neck as he drew her to him and rubbed her gently behind the ears. He replied softly, "We keep her because of love. Only because of love."
Baffled and irritated, the young folks wished the old man and his wife a Merry Christmas and headed back toward the city as darkness stole through the valley. So it was, that because of the leave-taking, no one noticed the insulation smoldering on the frayed wires in the old barn. None saw the first spark fall. None but the "Old One".
In a matter of minutes, the whole barn was ablaze and the hungry flames were licking at the loft full of hay. With a cry of horror and despair, the old man shouted to his wife to call for help as he raced to the barn to save their beloved horses. But the flames were roaring now, and the blazing heat drove him back. He sank sobbing to the ground, helpless before the fire's fury.
By the time the fire department arrived, only smoking, glowing ruins were left, and the old man and his wife. They thanked those who had come to their aid, and the old man turned to his wife, resting her white head upon his shoulders as he clumsily dried her tears with a frayed red bandana. Brokenly he whispered, "We have lost much, but God has spared our home on this eve of Christmas. Let us, therefore, climb the hill to the old pine where we have sought comfort in times of despair. We will look down upon our home and give thanks to God that it has been spared."
And so, he took her by the hand and helped her up the snowy hill as he brushed aside his own tears with the back of his hand. As they stepped over the little knoll at the crest of the hill, they looked up and gasped in amazement at the incredible beauty before them. Seemingly, every glorious, brilliant star in the heavens was caught up in the glittering, snow-frosted branches of their beloved pine, and it was aglow with heavenly candles. And poised on its top most bough, a crystal crescent moon glistened like spun glass. Never had a mere mortal created a Christmas tree such as this.
Suddenly, the old man gave a cry of wonder and incredible joy as he pulled his wife forward. There, beneath the tree, was their Christmas gift. Bedded down about the "Old One" close to the trunk of the tree, was the entire herd, safe. At the first hint of smoke, she had pushed the door ajar with her muzzle and had led the horses through it. Slowly and with great dignity, never looking back, she had led them up the hill, stepping daintily through the snow. The foals were frightened and dashed about. The skittish yearlings looked back at the crackling, hungry flames, and tucked their tails under them as they licked their lips and hopped like rabbits. The mares pressed uneasily against the "Old One" as she moved calmly up the hill and to safety beneath the pine. And now, she lay among them and gazed at the faces of those she loved. Her body was brittle with years, but the golden eyes were filled with devotion as she offered her gift ---
Because of love. Only because of love.
Author – Reverend David L. Griffith
Momma Sue raised three girls because of love. We helped Momma Sue cross today because of love. Only because of love.
I can never express the love, respect, and gratitude felt for Momma Sue. We had many talks on days when she had trouble getting up while waiting for medication to kick in and I will miss them. It was hard watching her decline, we did all we could, but there was no magic potion to make her better. We appreciate everyone for caring about her and to those that were her angels and helped with her care.
Run pain free Momma Sue. Your girls will be in good hands. You taught them well, they knew your love and always will, and we know you’ll be watching over them. You are our new and brilliant star in the heavens tonight – we love you Momma Sue - always.