Kamahi touched my life for the briefest of moments. Like a feather that lightly brushes against your skin. Or a faint rustling of leaves as the wind whispers across the landscape.

His life was short. A mere four years and those years were far from easy. Kamahi lost his mum and was then alone in the world. But Kamahi’s lucky fate was to find a wonderful home where he was cared for and loved until his final moments. He brought laughter into the world with his antics and personality. He was befriended by Priss and Widget. His best friend was Nugget. He looked like a baby giraffe.

Kamahi was a horse and if you have never had the privilege of having a relationship with a horse…well, you’ll probably be thinking this post is all a bit silly. But for those of us who enjoy a strong bond with horses, you will appreciate just how heartbreaking the decision to put Kamahi down was for my friend.

He was grazing on our property for five weeks and, during this time, I came to know this noble animal. He was quiet but loved a good scratch. He was curious and always wanted to know what I might have in my hand for him. His eyes were soft and soulful.

I last saw him on Christmas Day and, after this, he rapidly declined. I’m not sure I have all the details right because frankly I’m still in shock. There was not much I could do for my friend, other than listen to her and support her as she went through the thought processes that led to her decision.

Kamahi lost weight quickly, even though he was eating long grass. As horse owners, it’s important that we know our horses SO well that the slightest change in eating behaviour will be picked up. This means that you need to spend lots of time with your horse playing, grooming and riding.

At first, the vet thought it might be leukemia and he consulted experts here in New Zealand and globally. Protein was leaking out of this poor horse’s chest and he was miserable. A course of steroids and other medication might have prolonged his life but no-one should make a horse suffer just so a few more moments of life can be enjoyed by the human. It seems that Kamahi might have had a rare condition, possibly caused by his genetic makeup. Perhaps we’ll never know.

My friend made the decision to allow Kamahi to go to his mum in peace. A more gut-wrenching decision I couldn’t imagine making, for she adored this horse. I admire her for her strength of will and the compassion she showed towards Kamahi in his darkest hour.

She wrote him a poem and the photo below is one of the treasured memories she will always have of this wonderful horse. Yes, she has other horses but Kamahi will always be a hoofprint on her heart.

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