Sometimes life can throw difficult choices at us. Ones we never thought we would have to make. Sometimes we’re faced with the reality that our horses may be beyond our ability, either emotionally, or financially to fix. It’s a hard call knowing if and when to call it quits, or to know just how much you’re willing to sacrifice for your horse.
Recently Pan has developed a wheeze. I’m sure in the past this has happened but for some reason I found it much more alarming year.
So where do I draw the line? In the last week I thought I might know where that was but the funny thing is that every time I snuggle her, or hang out with her that line gets fainter and fainter. She’s not just my riding partner, she’s my friend, and part of the family. I couldn’t give up the dog if the dog got sick. Horses on the other hand are so much more expensive to keep, not to mention they take so much time to work.
It’s so hard to decided just how far you can go and sometimes when you’ve set the boundary you realize that you're not yet ready to let go. Here are some of the tough questions I’ve been asking myself.
Do I really need to endurance ride? At first this answer was yes! Absolutely and I was willing to trade my partner in for a new one if she wasn’t up to the task. I have however discovered that trying as hard as I can to help my horse recover even, to the point we can enjoy our rides together means way more to me than endurance riding. Yes I’ve always wanted to do it, but I can do it later. This is not my last horse. Endurance is about the journey with your partner and if this is part of our journey, so be it. I’ve written this many times in the last few days, I’ve come to realize that I don’t even need to ride!
What do I need from her to fulfill my needs? I need her to be able to carry me at a walk, trot, and canter in the future. We can take breaks, we can condition, I’ll feed her herbs, pre and post ride if need be. I also need her to be able to go for hours, long rides keep me sane. My happy place is out wondering for as long as possible on my horse. Many stressful days have been melted away by three hour rides; however, as the days progress and I’m getting more and more used to the idea that I may not get to ride my horse I remember how many stressful days have been melted away by long walks. I need her to be here for me as my companion, the reason I get up in the morning, and go outside in the winter.
Will I need to find her a new home if her lungs recover ? At first my answer was yes but as the days moved on I realized that her job is to make me happy. Riding is not the only thing that makes me happy. In fact the faces she makes at me while I’m cleaning the paddock make me happier than riding her does. There are so many fun things we can still do together. As long as she’s not suffering constantly with a chronic condition we’ll do them. If and when the time comes I’ll have her put down, but only because she’s suffering, not because I am.
Happy Horsing Around ,
Cyndi ~ CEST (Certified Equine Sports Therapist)