When I opened the bag, tears immediately began to well in my eyes. It had been 10 months since my beloved equine partner of 16 years, Katie, took her last breath. Now I was looking at a bag that contained all that was left of her – her tail and her forelock. I knew that it was time…time for me to revisit her.
As I ran the soft hair of her forelock through my thumb and fore-fingers, the tears began to fall. I always loved her jet black forelock, and the way that it cascaded between her pricked ears and then fanned above the perfectly placed white star between her soft brown eyes. Here, today, her forelock is still clean, still deep black, still soft, and still part of her; yet she is not part of it any longer. How many times did I deftly pull that hair out from under her brow band after securing the bridle over her ears? How many times did I braid it for a horse show? Often I simply ran my fingers through it, never considering the day when she would be gone.
When I think of these things today, I am reminded that to have experienced the memories is a beautiful thing. To be able to look back upon them with something tangible in my hands is an even more beautiful thing. Now, these pieces of her can be with me forever, as a reminder of one of my very best friends.
But, is having these pieces of my beloved Katie in a bag tucked away somewhere really the best way to honor her? Or are there better or more unique alternatives? I spoke with Christine Johnson, General Manager of Eden Memorial Pet Care, to get some ideas as to what could be done to preserve Katie’s memory even more.
Custom Horse Hair Jewelry
There are things that can be done with the parts of our horses that most of us like to hold onto – the tail, forelock and mane. Christine suggests looking into creating something with the hair that can be used, worn or enjoyed on a daily basis. Also keep in mind that you don’t have to wait until the end to have some jewelry made. Christine recommends, and has worked with, the following companies that provide unique and creative services with the same care that she takes in her own practice.
- Tail Spin is a company that creates unique and wearable pieces from your horse’s own hair, including bracelets, necklaces, key chains or tassels.
- Passages International actually takes your horse’s hair or cremains and fashions them into beautiful keepsake jewelry pendants.
A couple other options that I came across on my own are as follows:
Christine recommends that you or your vet remove the tail/mane/forelock prior to the arrival of the Eden Memorial Care pick-up team.
Unique and Special Cremain Urns
So, what do you do with the actual cremains of your equine friend? Christine has many suggestions for preserving memories with the remains received after cremation. “Keep in mind that cremains of a horse will usually fill a 5 lb bucket.”
Several horse urn options are available through Eden Memorial Pet Care. Christine shared her thoughts regarding urns. “For those who want to keep their horse close by, Equine Urns are a popular option. Equine urns are quite large – usually approximately 2ft by 1 ft – they fit well in a hallway or in a corner of a barn.” Christine continued, “Equine urns can have engraved plates made, photo tiles, and even horse shoes attached to the outside.”
Personalized Shadow Boxes
If room is a factor, but you still want to keep a part of your friend close, a smaller keepsake container option is a shadow box. “Typically shadow box size ranges are from 4×6 to 11×14. One side holds a photo and a portion of the cremains. The other side is a shadow box to put memories, including ribbons, plaques, halter plates, or buckles in,” Christine explains, and suggests looking at Majestic Casket & Urn for these practical and beautiful options.
Gone but not Forgotten
Your horse may be gone, but does not need to be forgotten. You can keep his or her memory fresh and close with any of the above options. Christine reminds us of the importance of having a plan prior to the time of your horse’s passing. It may be difficult, but in the end the forethought will make things easier. When you receive your personalized jewelry, keepsake shadow box, or urn, you will be glad that you considered your options ahead of time. Remember that Eden Memorial Pet Care is always ready and willing to help direct you when it comes to planning. The care and dignity of your special friend is their main concern.
Main Image: Sarah Williams Mirror’s Edge Photography