Pepper at the old gate.

Pepper is one smart horse.

She’s quick to figure things out. In her partnership with Bud, he was the strong one; the leader. But Pepper was the quick learner.

And then she’d show him the way. They were a good team – playing to each other’s strengths.


As she’s aged, Pepper had grown increasingly fearful of being around the younger, stronger horses in the large herd. She particularly dislikes having to make her way through any horses gathered at the gate. I think she feels even more vulnerable now that Bud is no longer running interference for her. It has made her daily feeding rather stressful.


So after Bud died, I started taking Pepper to a second gate to put her back in the pasture.

It was a short walk, and she seemed to be much more comfortable with this plan.  For some reason, the horses don’t congregate there. After only a couple of days, she knew that when she finished eating, it was time to head up the hill. She practically put herself back in the gate.

Like I said – quick learner.


Somewhere toward the end of the second week of the “new plan,” Rick and I decided it might be easier to simply take her out that same gate.


“What a good idea,” we said to each other, high fiving and smiling at our cleverness.

In truth though, we’re not nearly as quick as Miss P. She knew it was a better gate for her from the get go.


The first day we showed up at the new gate, she ran through and kept going down the hill to the place we used to feed her. But that was only one time.

Now she’s got it. She knows this is where we feed her.

She’s much less stressed. Which in turn makes me less stressed.


There are so many changes to get used to when you lose your life partner.

Some are huge and some are small, but they add up to an awful lot of change.

I know many of you reading this blog can relate to Miss Pepper’s experience.

And here’s what I know: all of you – horse and human – will get through it.