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Goodbye, Mona.

Today started dismal and foggy, which suited the day we thought. But then the sun came out, the sky turned bue, there was no wind, and it turned into a perfect fall day. Beautiful.

On this beautiful day we did one of the hardest things we've had to do in a very long time. We said goodbye to our beautiful, kind, sweet, 31-year-old mare Mona, who has spent the last 4,745 days loved and safe with us.

Mona has been one of the go-to riding horses, first in Iowa at our now retired original location and for the past couple of years, here in South Dakota. She's been a fun ride for those with a little more experience, when her sassy attitude would come out, but also an absolutely safe and kind horse for countless beginners of all ages. She's an original Bug Club Children's Program horse, and a reliable and easy going mare who loved all of the attention.
She came to South Dakota a few years ago when her heaves - which was triggered by humidity - became difficult to manage in the much wetter environment in Iowa, but also to step in the big shoes left behind by the loss of our Bug Club inspiration horse Tommy. She's been a grandma to every foal that has been on our property, a fair and kind weaning partner, and a maternal force for even adult horses who needed a little bit more care and confidence.
We knew last week after her vet visit showed cervical arthritis was causing her severe and dangerous incoordination and balance issues that we had to say goodbye, but we were grateful to have the vets work with us to give her strength and time for as many of her people to come say goodbye. Several did, and she was showered with love, treats, and lots of tears from people of all ages. Love has been truly leaking from everyone's eyes at the thought of losing this wonderful girl.

Today after even more treats and love, in a soft patch of grass and under a bright blue sky and warm sunshine, Mona was quietly sent to greener pastures, where we know she's running happy and healthy, breathing freely, with no fear of falling down. She leaves a huge hole in our children's program ... and lots of hearts.