Today I buried Charlie, my 31 year old Belgian( he would have been 32 in summer), whom I had had for 24 years, in other words half of my adult life( if we consider 21 the beginning of the adult life). We had to put him down on the evening of New Year's Eve due to a medical condition that developed during the day( not a colic).
Charlie always was a dependable horse, from the carriage rides I gave in Iowa City in 92 to the wagon rides in Kansas City and Weston and the farm work, up till last year, when I finally put him into his well deserved retirement, he was always a horse eager to work and not to shy away from any task that was put in front of him. He had outlived several other horses I had teamed up with him, during that time never got sick seriously and always behaved smartly.
Even though I have of course lost a number of horses in the over 50 years that I have owned horses it is always a sad occasion, but I am glad that I made the decision to have the vet put him down that evening. It would have been on my conscience if he had had to suffer more or by himself. This way he died with the people he trusted (myself and my wife as well as the vet) close to him.