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When is it time to move on from a higher maintenance horse....

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  • #21
    Personally, I think that is a lot of maintenance for his age and for the amount that he's been ridden. But you also bought him with a lot of the maintenance already needed, so I guess I'd ask if something has changed (aside from the addition of having to inject the stifles)? Is it no longer possible to make him really comfortable at the level of work that you're doing?

    I think in you place I'd have a serious talk with your vet about what is really being treated at this point. As far as I know, no one inject hocks as a preventive measure, although I 'm not an expert at what goes on at upper-level shows/events.

    I'd also, frankly, get a consultation with another farrier. If the current regimen isn't making the horse comfortable, and perhaps has made his stifles sore, then it's time to re-think.

    Good luck.
    "The formula 'Two and two make five' is not without its attractions." --Dostoevsky


    • #22
      Basically it sounds like the only “new” thing is occasional stifle injections. I would keep going with him, try to get better feet going, and get those miles of experience you bought him for.

      Is it a lot of maintenance? Yes. But I don’t see the between where he was and where he is now, and you might as well get what you wanted out of him if he’ll hold up to it with the work.

      having gone down the horses and kids road myself, i definitely had times when I focused on one to the exclusion of another so I actually think that is more common than people who have one and board think, when you have them at home and have a few. That said, it isn’t a good thing for them to sit! I should have sold the sitting ones a bit quicker, to be honest.


      • #23
        I have been (and am going through) a similar situation. OTTB bought at 7 years old, jr eq horse for 3 years then switched to ammy jumper horse. At 13, started having creeping problems. First specialty shoeing. Then coffin joint injections, then chiro for a sore back. Ran out of money to diagnose so turned the horse out barefoot for a year. Pulled him out and SLOWLLLLY conditioned back (took around a year before jumping again).
        Horse stayed sound for 1.0m+ jumpers from 15-17. Started seeing the same problems again. This time we went custom saddle, brought in a farrier from 2 states over to shoe him, watched the horse like a hawk. But over the course a year we started adding in hock and fetlock injections on top of the coffin injections and Legend before every show. It got to be too much and unfair to horse. So he is back out on Mr. Green at 18 years old. Maybe he will come back and play in dressage in a year, maybe not.

        I am now half leasing a different, very low maintenance horse.

        Long story short, don't feel back about throwing in the towel financially. There is a problem with your horse. It could take big $$$ to figure it out or you could figure it out in the next $1k you spend on vet bills. I got to the point where getting on my horse gave me anxiety because I was afraid he'd go lame. I was constantly feeling guilty for continuing to push him.

        I'm not saying my scenario is true for every horse but there is nothing wrong with trying some pasture board and see where that gets you.

        You can only work with the knowledge you have today and the talent you have at your disposal i.e. farriers, vets. So don't beat yourself up for not knowing or not trying. This is supposed to be fun!!


        • #24
          I was in a similar maintenance situation, but the injections stopped working. I had expensive shoeing (wedges, leather wedges, rocker shoes, magic cushion) and twice yearly injections (hocks, stifles, bursa), expensive supplements you name it my horse was on it. I stepped him down to dressage he was a 3'3 jumper and he did pretty well with the training stuff but could barely keep him sound when I moved up a level, it just wasn't meant to be. I retired him at a friends house where he could be fat and happy and I knew exactly where he was.

          If you and horse are happy and sound with the dressage work go ahead. Who knows you may be wildly successful and could work towards your bronze medal and then when it's time give the horse a good retirement. Then look for something more suitable to get back into jumping. I have an almost 13 year old (knock on wood) is only on an omega supplement and ration balancer. basic shoeing and a wonderful athlete. Many people think Dressage is boring but if you have the right trainer it can be just as exciting as jumping

          Echoing the others posts, yearly x-rays and adequan plus legend can be super tools I know it's expensive and it does add up but this will better help you understand the work that needs to be done with feet. I am sorry you have 4 negative palmars that is just awful luck. I wish you both the best though in whatever you decide to pursue.
          when the world turns on you your horse will be there.


          • #25
            That is an awful lot of maintenance for a young horse going bn.


            • #26
              I’ve had to face this issue a few times. There is no right or wrong answer. Reality is...if you OWN this horse, your obligation is too him and this decision will be personal to you. I have more than a couple horses that are either retired young at my farm or will never leave and I’m looking for low level leases for them because I decided that was in their best interest.

              What you described may sound like a lot of some people....and not a lot to others. You are talking about a horse who had been out of work for a period of time. Sometimes we have to do a lot of initial vet work while legging them back up....especially the sensitive diva horses...or hot house flowers as I like to call them. I own a few of me, they LET YOU KNOW if they are the little bit uncomfortable. They often are good jumpers...but not the best event horses. Unlike my other toughies who are so stoic they almost never limp...even with an abscess foot. The care you are describing is top care to get top performance and it really doesn’t matter the level. It may not be the same as he gets going again. I think you need frank conversations with both your vet and trainer. Understand what can be done and what is fair to this horse. I’m not opposed to joint injections but I do try to limit as they are not risk free. We may do IRAP or ProStride or Osphos as an alternatives as they may work better and longer than just injecting with HA or steroids....but do cost more. Shoeing changes can make a profound and long term improvement but do take time. Adding Adaquan and Legend can also help avoid or lengthen time between joint injections and have a lot less risk.

              In the end, you have to balance the risks and rewards....and understand clearly whether or not this is too much for your horse or is this all in his interest. I have a young horse who LOVES to jump....but her body doesn’t. So she doesn’t get to jump. At some point is isn’t in their best interest to keep going with them. But that is something you need to discuss with your vet and your trainer.....not one we can answer over the internet.
              ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **


              • Original Poster

                Thanks everyone for your feedback. Unfortunately, what I thought was him being due for stifle injections a few weeks ago has actually turned out to be a meniscus tear, so semiretirement is in his future. Ugh.
                One upside that the vet at the rehab barn he is at said they can work with their farrier on his feet to try and eliminate the pads/wedges, so hopefully going forward discomfort related to that can be reduced.