Why You Need a Bucket List With Your Horse

I guess I was a little fortunate in having Eve because every time she got hurt was a potential death sentence, so I was constantly working on our bucket list to get it done. I really just wanted to make sure I had no regrets or anything when she died. I didn’t want to be like damn I wish we had done this or I wish we had done that. I wanted to mourn without the additional sadness that comes with doing things you never got a chance to do with them before they died.

Not every horse is like Eve with death constantly knocking at the door for 10 years straight. But I think it’s still an important thing to think about because freak accidents happen too, and nobody really knows when their time is up. It’s kind of morbid to think about, but also kind of just planning for the future.

I think it’s a good idea for everyone to have a bucket list. I’ve put together mine over 15 years with Eve, and I’m pleased to say most are pretty much complete! Knowing I did everything I wanted to do while she is still here with us is really a giant weight off my shoulders. I’ll be sad when she’s gone, but at least I won’t have any regrets. Like me throwing money at her for her treatments right now is also me making sure we’ve done everything in our power to slow the progression. I don’t want to have any guilt like I should’ve tried harder or should’ve done this or that. I’m just looking for peace.

So if you have a horse whether it’s 2 years or 20 years, I would definitely recommend making a bucket list. Just putting together a list of potential realistic things you really want to do with your horse or for your horse. The list can be everchanging too, so it’s really up to you to decide when it’s complete or not.

Since my list is pretty much complete, I’ll share it in case anyone wants to steal some ideas for their own.

1.) Get a Painting Done of Eve

A few years ago, I got a framed photo of Man O War Eve’s great x5 grandfather standing majestically. I wanted the same painting of Eve standing just like that for myself to hang over my mantle when I eventually have one. I didn’t want to get it done after she died though because it would just be too sad. I’d just cry every time I saw it. I wanted the painting done today while she was alive, and I wanted her to see it! I was always a fan of Alex Lederman‘s work and really wanted her to paint Eve. So she did!

I’ve gotten a few pieces of art done of Eve. I think I have 6 or so. Some I commissioned and some people sent me. I love them all and have them all framed. Eventually there’s going to be a whole wall dedicated just to this horse and I love it.

2.) Get Black Background Pics of Eve

Black background on 35mm film

Black background photos look so fancy and classy. When I learned how to do them, I took so many of Eve. I really wanted a nice, classy black background of her to eventually print huge and hang it somewhere. I think everyone should have at least one really solid black background of their horse. I have many, many black background pics of Eve both digital and on film, so I crushed this one on the list for sure.

3.) Get a Professional Photoshoot Done

I’m always behind the camera and never in front of it like ever. I really don’t have a ton of photos of me and Eve together, so after Eve colicked a couple summers ago, I wanted to have this done because it’s something I would’ve regretted. Caught By A Flash photography was kind enough to do our shoot one fall, and the pictures are something I’ll keep forever. I would really like another photoshoot done this year, so we’ll see if that happens or not. But if it doesn’t, at least I have one solid shoot to look back on.

4.) Find and Obtain Eve’s Baby Horse/ Racing Pics

This is one thing on our bucket list that unfortunately wasn’t able to happen, but I did my absolute best in trying to obtain them. I tried contacting all of Eve’s old barns. Her breeders/trainers/owners are dead, so it was already kind of an impossible task. I cross posted on the OTTB facebook group with 70k+ members and still nothing. I even tried to scam the JockeyClub into sending me photos of her from their archive saying I was doing a research paper, but they for whatever reason throw out information after a certain year. So whatever photos they had on record, they destroyed. These photos might still exist somewhere in the world – most likely in some grandma’s dresser drawer. I might find them in an estate sale in Florida 15 years from now all tinted yellow from age. I’ve come to the conclusion I’ll just never see those pics, but I’m at peace with it because I’ve literally done everything in my power to try to obtain them. It’s also possible the photos just don’t even exist, so further searching could just be a gigantic waste of my time. I tried getting her race photos too, but again the racetrack changed hands a couple time since then and they didn’t have any archives from 1994. The racetrack photographer at the time is also no longer around. So we taking the L on this one.

5.) Visiting Eve’s Racetrack

I had researched Eve’s history and knew she raced in West Virginia when it was Charles Town Races and Slots in 1994. I wasn’t able to get her racing pics – if there were even any racing pics since she was almost last – but visiting the track that she raced at was really, really cool. I had wanted to do that for a while. It was a nice track. I’m glad I got to see it when I did.

6.) Matching Tattoos

This was one that I had wanted to do since I was 19. I had the placement and idea. I just wanted to give it some time to make sure I really wanted it done since tattoos are permanent. I put it off for a while, but after Eve’s diagnosis, I was like yeah now’s the time. I finally got it done a couple weeks ago, so this was the last official thing on our bucket list to get done.

7.) Eve Meeting My Dog/Family Portrait

Once we moved to our new barn last spring, I started taking my dog because it was a pretty dog friendly barn unlike our last couple barns. He was scared of the horses at first, but after several visits, he recognized her smell and would get really excited if he saw her in the stall or in the field. He’d lick her nose and jump up and see her. It was adorable. I wanted a photo of them together, so around Christmas, I finally got a good portrait done.

8.) Fancy Leather Nameplated Halter

Every horse without a doubt needs a fancy leather halter and nameplate to go with their black background portrait. I somehow lost Eve’s first leather halter after bringing it home one season, so I had to get another because I’m like if she dies and I don’t have a leather halter, it’s gonna be a bad time. Her second leather halter was even more expensive than the first, but it is what it is. Princess gets the best.

9.) Horseshoe Art

I’m a sorority girl, so naturally I love art. One thing I wanted was art made with Eve’s horse shoe. I had one that she bent like a motherf****er when she threw it one day. I had my farrier hammer it out and I primed it, painted it white and sealed it. Then I decorated it with oranges and orange blossoms from her home state of Florida. I also had an egg bar shoe from when she had that god awful abscess that required months of wrapping everyday, so I decorated that one with seashells and turned it into a picture frame.

10.) Racehorse Papers

This is something I kind of still want to try to do although I assume it’ll be similar to her baby pictures – impossible to obtain. Since Eve’s owners are all dead, there’s no one to transfer any ownership. And since Eve has a scar on her leg, her physical description is not what the JockeyClub has on record. I feel like this will be a giant pain in the ass to obtain which is why I haven’t attempted yet. I contacted the JockeyClub and they sent me the form to fill out that I seriously considered forging, but it looks kind of legit so I don’t want to risk legal trouble. I’m a sketchy person, but I know my limits. This one might never be complete, and that’s fine. I’ve seen what the papers look like and they’re kind of only impressive if your horse was a successful racehorse, which mine was not. It’d still be cool to have, but we’ll see.

11.) Compete in a Show

We did this one so long ago, I forgot it was even part of our list. When I first got her, I wanted to enter her in a show just to see how she would do. I’d never shown before but wanted the experience. Our barn had a schooling show, so we signed right up after barely preparing for it. Eve was an absolute jackass the entire time. She has always been impatient, and if you know horse shows, it’s like 90% waiting. We entered 4 classes and each class she got worse and worse because she was pissed off and wanted to go home. Our last 2 classes were jumping, and she bum rushed the course so fast we should’ve entered the jumpers. She just wanted to be done. It was embarrassing, and I was upset at the time that she was such an ass. But it was a good experience, and I learned that she’s not a show horse haha. I remember walking back down to the barn after the show, she would not stop bucking. She was absolutely livid. How dare I take her away from her friends for half a day to stand around at a horse show and compete against ponies. The audacity. That was the last actual show we entered because she made it crystal clear she wasn’t about it. We entered one competitive games “show” a year later and killed it. Our team got champion, so we redeemed ourselves and we retired our showing career after that.