Because Moose is dead.
We brought him home Sunday night, and I secluded him from the other horses so that they could all acclimatize again. Well, he let himself out Monday morning, pushing the gates apart so he could get out. Everything seemed fine. Monday afternoon, he was out at the chicken coop, nibbling grass. Before I left for work, he was out at the far fence, standing alone. Nothing unusual.
Today I didn't see him at all. I walked around the top of the hill, checked around the barn, didn't see him. But I wasn't too concerned.
I called hubby and asked him to ride the 4-wheeler around to look for him when he got home from work. He suggested sending our son out while it was still light. They had just gotten home from school, and the sitter's property adjoins our own. It was no big deal for him to go looking for the horse; he'd done it many times before.
I had just pulled into the parking lot at work when I got a call from my sitter. Moose was dead. My son was in tears and incoherent when I tried to talk to him. I was bawling my eyes out by this time, and I called my boss to let him know I had to get home. I'm sure he thinks I'm a flake. Hubby was just leaving work as I was getting there, so we caravanned home as quickly as we could.
After gathering the kids from the neighbor, and consoling my son, we set out to find Moose. He was down at the edge of a thicket, and it looked like he had been there for a good while, at least several hours. There were no obvious injuries other than a spot high on his neck where it looked like the taller horses had chewed at him until he was bloody. There were skid marks around his body, as if the bigger horses had stopped suddenly. I think, perhaps, Moose was galloping around, as he always did, and had a heart attack. He was 19 this year, a pretty respectable age. And he'd been pretty stressed the past couple of days. I kind of wonder, too, if he didn't try to come down and run the herd. For 6 months he's been in Ohio, running my mom's herd, being The Man. When he came down here, he was definitely bottom of the rung, having to start all over again.
Maybe it was too much for him.
All I know is my heart is very sad tonight.