I apologize for missing my post on Sunday. It’s the first regular post day I’ve missed since they blog started. I was busy all weekend and just ran out of steam by the time I arrived home last night.
Gailey had a small cut on her leg on Saturday. It just so happened the vet was coming out to see another horse, so I snagged him to look at my mare, too. This was a different vet from the one who’s been treating her for cellulites, but he has treated her various lamenesses over the years since she was three years old.
He just shook his head at the big leg and told me it was what it was. He agreed with the other vet that it probably would never get any smaller. Too much damage was done to the lymphatic system. I told him my worries regarding her getting cellulites again and my fears I might lose her. He is a pretty straightforward guy and tells it like it is. He nodded his head in agreement and said I most likely would have to put her down.
Even more concerning to him was how much her fetlocks have dropped in the past year. Gailey has these long pasterns which make her very comfortable to ride. The downside is her suspensories are stretching to the point where the fetlock on the big leg is almost hitting the ground when she moves. Here’s how the conversation went:
“Should I keep doing dressage with her, or would it prolong her life by taking her home and just trail riding her?” I asked, staring at my big mare who means the world to me.
“It doesn’t really matter at this stage of the game. You might as well use her as long as she’s comfortable.” He heaves a big sigh and just stares at those hind legs of hers.
“Any guesses how much longer that might be?” I don’t really want to hear this answer.
“Oh, maybe another year or so. When she lies down and can’t get back up, you’ll know it’s time. Right now, she’s unusually sound considering the problems she’s got going on in those back legs.”
At this point, my heart drops to my feet, and I feel sick to my stomach. Even the rejection I received from a publisher when I got home didn’t make a blip on my radar as I pondered my current situation. Somehow, publisher rejections lose their power when contemplating the mortality of a dear friend and partner who has been a huge part of that person’s life for the past 12 years.
I can’t imagine life without my big red-headed mare.
I can’t imagine life without horses. I’ve had horses since I graduated from college with the exception of one or two years back in my twenties. Yet, buying a new horse is not in the cards for me anytime in the future. We just put a big addition onto our house so our money is tied up in that, not in a new horse. Not only could I never replace Gailey in personality, but I surely couldn’t afford to replace her right now with a comparable horse. I’m not sure I want to ride dressage if I can’t ride a horse that moves as well as she does. I’ve done dressage on horses not built for dressage. It was a constant struggle for me and them. I’m not sure I want to go there again. Gailey has never been the easiest horse to ride, but she’s been the most comfortable. I think you’ve all heard the quote from a doctor friend of mine: “If you would have sold me your horse, I could have ridden right up until the day I went into labor.” That’s how comfortable she is. The price you pay for comfort is in those stretched suspensories and sinking fetlocks.
|Gailey in 2004|
|Gailey, taken today|
I know I’m worrying about something that has yet to happen. So I guess I need to concentrate on enjoying the good times we have left while she’s happy, healthy, and sound. I’m even contemplating a trip to the ocean with the group at the barn.
That beach ride will make for an interesting subject for another blog post.
Happy Trails, Jami