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Equine owners shoulders needed....

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  • Equine owners shoulders needed....

    It's kind of a quiet night at home... surprise - but then I get thinking about things....

    I was looking at a photo of one of my horses jumping and it made me sad. I look out my window and see a different horse now. I bought this horse when he was a week old and he's now 14. He has had a bumpy road growing up because of injury and illness but I have always been able to pull him through it. Last year I retired him just to light riding.... but now I cannot ride him, I feel so bad about it.

    My other horse that I had hopes and dreams of doing the Eq with came to a halt due to ringbone and navicular.

    So both these beautiful boys live in my yard and I am extremely happy to have them. I would care for them until they tell me they are ready to go... but that's the problem.

    They have good days, and then bad days. It makes me so sad. I have them on Previcox and couldn't imagine if they were not on it. They would really be bad.

    Watching my old Appy mature was so much different. He was so strong until the end. At 40 years old. I never felt bad for him and he told me when it was time.

    These two are so amazing! I can see it in them that they want to go out and do something. I do take them for walks and turn them out in other areas but then they come limping back. It tears me up.

    I called my vet today to have her come out and see what more we can do. They seem too young to say goodbye. They do have good days too.

    I know I give the advice to others that the horse will tell you, and I know these guys will. I guess I just wish I had property to turn them out on acres of grass.... I did try to pasture board them in a 30+ acre pasture and I had to bring them home because they both got too thin.

    I even thought about moving just so they would look happier. They look bored.

    Well, if you made it this far, thanks for the shoulder
    Live in the sunshine.
    Swim in the sea.
    Drink the wild air.

  • #2
    You have my empathy if that is any comfort whatsoever.
    The Evil Chem Prof


    • Original Poster

      THANK YOU Peggy!!!! sorry for the whine.... I just don't know what to feel right now. It's hard to always keep positive in the ole noggin.
      Live in the sunshine.
      Swim in the sea.
      Drink the wild air.


      • #4
        I'm so sorry for you! It is never easy to decide when it is "time" to let hem go. I pray you find the answers you seek and are able to be at peace with your ultimate decision.
        If you love me let me go....


        • #5
          Ah, the Equine Gray Zone.... in between sound and should-be-in-the-ground.

          We all hate it. Most of horses spend some part of their life in some shade of grey between perfect and fubar.

          But it's also incredibly useful and character-building to show up for those horses every day and ask what we can do for them. I do want to be that person who can make sure that a horse has a good life-- all of it-- for as long or as short a time as he has.

          It's tough, but it doesn't have to be lonely or disappointing and pointless. Hang in there, OP. You're doing good!
          The armchair saddler
          Politically Pro-Cat


          • #6
            It is a difficult situation. You are conscientious and thoughtful. A "heart to heart" with the vet may help, ask them to be blunt, you want what is best for the horses..

            It is awful to see a suffering friend, and a very difficult decision for you to put an end to it. Some horses,as you see, age more comfortably than others.
            I don't know that I would be able to watch one limping in for long..

            Sending best wishes.


            • Original Poster

              Originally posted by mvp View Post
              Ah, the Equine Gray Zone.... in between sound and should-be-in-the-ground.

              We all hate it. Most of horses spend some part of their life in some shade of grey between perfect and fubar.

              But it's also incredibly useful and character-building to show up for those horses every day and ask what we can do for them. I do want to be that person who can make sure that a horse has a good life-- all of it-- for as long or as short a time as he has.

              It's tough, but it doesn't have to be lonely or disappointing and pointless. Hang in there, OP. You're doing good!
              WOW Thank you for this!! The GRAY ZONE it is!!! Really explains what's going on....

              I just returned from my yard... every night just before I go off to bed I go down to my barn, give my horses some hay and carrots and say goodnight to them. I have done this for YEARS.

              Before I gave them food tonight (which we all know is quite important to them) I played around with them... They were so silly trying to act like colts..... but they are so beautiful!!!

              I pet them, hug them and tell them I love them every night..... I sure wouldn't know what to do without my nightly ritual...

              And what you say about what can I do for them really is amazing!! My big horse was very USED (choice of a describing word) when I got him; hurting inside I could just tell. Now every night he looks forward to the love and our conversations. I tell him I will love him forever...

              Here he is accepting a kiss -

              Thank you guys so much for the helpful words... just what I need to hear right now..... I don't think the near future is going to be very easy.
              Live in the sunshine.
              Swim in the sea.
              Drink the wild air.


              • #8
                Super cute picture, Doublesstable. I think they are lucky to have you.
                “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
                ¯ Oscar Wilde


                • #9
                  He is beautiful. My heart goes out to you. It is so hard; watching our wonderful, amazing horses go through what yours are at this time, showing pain but still wanting to play. Thank goodness they have someone like you, to do what is best for them, and looking put for them. So many, many horses do not have that comfort.


                  • #10
                    At least you have a farm for them!

                    Try being in the Equine Gray Zone without land for them to rest on/under. I was supposed to own the farm by the time GreatestEver(Who I Bred) was edging toward darker grey. I screwed up and didn't get that done.

                    It's hard to do the "showing up for him" that I want to. If he's near me, he doesn't live in lush grassy paradise. If he lives in that shangri-la, I can't see him often and make sure he is ok.... while I *know* the answer that is that he is gradually getting less ok.

                    This last option is *not* how I ever want to own horses. The showing up to make things good and leaving knowing that you can't is the worst of the worst.

                    So enjoy seeing yours every night and knowing that they won't suffer because no one with the power to make things better (or make them end because more suffering is coming down the pike) wasn't right.there. being honest about what they see and selflessly putting the horse's happiness first.
                    The armchair saddler
                    Politically Pro-Cat


                    • #11
                      There are more of us than you think! I have one, and spent a few weeks freaking myself out about having to put him down...I'm too young to make that decision, and he's too young for it! I had an awesome talk with my farrier about it, after I started tearing up when I was telling her I wasn't sure what to do anymore. (I've got my own small place, and do all of the care myself, so I REALLY deal with the bad days!)

                      She let me know that she thinks he is looking just fine, and to call her anytime I feel like losing it, and she will drink a beer with me. :-)

                      So, just stop yourself when you feel your mind going down that spiral, and give your horse a treat and a hug. Realize how much happiness your horse gets from such simple things like carrots and going out in the pasture.
                      "On the back of a horse I felt whole, complete, connected to that vital place in the center of me...and the chaos within me found balance."


                      • #12
                        Hugs to you, doubles.

                        I know people have had great success with a supplement called Curost. A friend had an elderly horse who was severely arthritic and sometimes had trouble getting up after lying down. She sent him to her mom who put him on Curost and not only is he sound, the mom can even ride him now. It was really amazing.
                        ~ Citizens for a Kinder, Gentler COTH...our mantra: Be nice. ~


                        • Original Poster

                          thank you guys so much!!!

                          Looking out my kitchen window I get to see my boys... that can help, but also like you said Ainsley688 I have my own small place too, and do the care myself and REALLY see the bad days... I love your farrier Maybe we all need to meet up and go have some beers?

                          My vet called me today to talk about things... and when I told her what mvp said about the Gray Zone - in between sound and should-be-in-the-ground she thought that was a perfect way to put it.

                          We will continue to monitor them and maybe I can check out that Curost.... worth a try. My vet mentioned something called BL that I will be looking into as well.

                          and yes about "Realize how much happiness your horse gets from such simple things like carrots and going out in the pasture".
                          Live in the sunshine.
                          Swim in the sea.
                          Drink the wild air.


                          • #14
                            Well this pulls at everyone's heart strings for sure. I'm so sorry you are having to consider the options. I had a horse with navicular many years ago and it broke my heart so much that I actually stopped horses for awhile. He was an amazing jumper that I got when he was coming down from the grand prixs but he was also crippled. Bad days were hobbling lame horrible and good days teased you. He was only 14. I always try to look at the quality of the horse's life. If he always ate first in a field does he still? Can he eat, drink, roll, jog? The basics first. And then its about his emotional state although with horses I think their emotional state can be seen in how they act about the basics too. I limp on many days and I wouldn't want anyone to think I'm not going to jump back on a horse and show: because I am. I limp but my brain doesn't register much pain. I've had horses like that too - tough as nails. One I said wouldnt trot lame if he lost a leg and others that are wimps and limp at a nick from some horse play in the field. I guess I'm saying you'll really know better than any vet or outsider. You know them.
                            You don't scare me. I ride a MARE!


                            • #15
                              Another one here with two heart horses that are retired due to injuries. One is not really sound - his trot is ugly - but he is wonderfully happy. He bucks and gallops a lap of his paddock before he settles down and it does not change his soundness at all. But if you were to look at him you would say OMG. The other is sound but has many adhesions on his DDFT and navicular problems which could be problematic at any time. Both have stomach problems and need to be on grass all year - but not too rich grass. As a result, they are boarded in Florida where they are out as much as they want but also stalled and fed as they need. Like you, I think they will tell us when it is time.... You are so lucky to have them close to you!


                              • #16
                                Jingles & AO for ALL ~

                                Jingles & AO for ALL ~

                                Never an easy assignment when dreams are frozen due to injury or a 'condition' ~

                                Something to be 'grieved' and then with time

                                the assigment changes and

                                a handsome pasture ornament or two become ~ cherished in a different light ~

                                I'm sorry for your worry but they are lucky to have you as their protector and they will make sure you know when they should 'travel' across that bridge ~

                                Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "


                                • #17
                                  You are not alone.

                                  I'm entering into the grey area now with my horse, who I've had for almost 12 years. It's been heart-wrenching seeing the physical changes with aging esp. in the last couple of years and recognizing that one day she'll be gone for my life (She's my 1st horse). What I try to focus on are the ALL of the good memories I've had with her. Right now she has more good days then bad, but I know it would not be fair to her to go through another winter.

                                  It's hard to see a loved horse age, but at the end of the day I realize I would much rather go through that and have those memories and know that my horse has been loved and taken care of during her golden years then to have spared my emotions if I had sold her and given up that control over her. If that makes sense.

                                  W were in the grey area with our cat recently and were going back and forth between amazing days where he was his old self or days where he'd look thin and had low energy. He was being maintained through regular vet care and medicine but at the maintaing him would only add another 2 years to his life (he could never fully recover from the condition.) What it came down to was wanting to be fair to him: to now let it get "bad" before we put him down and recognizing that he was starting to have more bad days then good.

                                  I'm so sorry that you're in this state, but I think it's wonderful that you are near them and have been able to continue to build memories with your horses. Think of the wonderful life you've given them and know that whatever decision you make, it's the right decision.


                                  • #18
                                    Have you tried Pentosan? Made a world of difference in my old guy. My vet called me in a script directly to Wedgewood so it is super cheap. I give it once every week or two weeks. I personally am tired of pain and don't want me or my animals to be in pain so for them I give them what they need to be comfortable without worrying about possible side effects or complications. My lab was on double and then triple and quadruple doses of metacam as we attempted to keep her comfortable. I did not test for liver damage because I didn't care if it killed her, I just wanted her to feel ok. I added shots of dex once a week towards the end. When that no longer cut it, we let her go. We both fought the good fight and had no regrets when the time came.
                                    McDowell Racing Stables

                                    Home Away From Home


                                    • #19
                                      I can sympathize. My older horse lives in my yard along with his younger pal. Older horse has lots good days, but has a vision problem and a neurological issue which causes some really bad moments. He is/was a very proud and dignified horse, so it really hurts to see him hurting and acting like a frightened little old man. As you do, I dread having to make that big decision somewhere down the line, possibly sooner rather than later. Hugs to you. I am not far away, let me know if I can ever help you with anything.


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by equisusan View Post
                                        Bad days were hobbling lame horrible and good days teased you.
                                        Now that's the worst, isn't it?

                                        It makes you paranoid. To wit:

                                        Is he lame? How lame is he? I'll watch carefully. Wait, was that just a bad step? Let's watch again. Ok, 2 out of 3. No, wait, let's say 3 out of 5....

                                        If he stands on marshmallows, he looks great. If he turns on marshmallows he looks kinda bad. If he stands on gravel he's fubar. Can I just clothe his world in marshmallows and call it good?

                                        Why does he run and buck by himself but feel lame when I ride him? Am I doing it wrong? Maybe I should take riding lessons, or buy new equipment....

                                        What if I tried Duct Tape? No? How about Gorilla Tape? OK, Duct Tape AND Super Glue! Maybe someone somewhere makes something even better than Super Glue.

                                        The sucky thing about the Equine Gray Zone is that it happens to working horses, too. Almost no horse with a job is 100%. Before we get to "end of life" questions, most of us have been somewhere at the light end of the Equine Gray Zone for a while. The light gray end of the spectrum is a PITA. The dark gray section is hard in a different way, but the whole shebang can be exhausting!
                                        The armchair saddler
                                        Politically Pro-Cat