I have never been the type of person who accepts or deals with change easily. I thrive in an environment of consistency and routine with all things familiar. So when change is forced on me, as it always inevitably is, I struggle with it, even though many times it is for the best. So, today marks one of those times of change and yes, I am struggling.
Hank, who is the paint on whom I am pictured on the sidebar of this blog, sadly has to be retired at the age of 10 due to lameness. As I have previously written about, after moments of glory in his brief career as an Event and Dressage horse, he has developed sidebone so severely that nothing has helped for him to regain soundness and all the vets can tell me is either nerve him or retire him. So I have chosen the latter. Nerving, which I am sure that many of you are aware of, is the practice of surgically cutting the nerve to the afflicted area. A procedure relatively common in dealing with chronic issues in the foot like sidebone and navicular. It does not solve the problem it just takes away the horses ability to feel it.
Now I am not going to debate, or pass judgement, on the humaneness or appropriateness of this procedure, I am just saying that I have a moral issue with it and do not feel it is the right decision on Hank's behalf. Sidebone is the calcification of the collateral cartilage in the foot exacerbated, if not caused by concussion. So odds are it would progress at an greater rate if he used himself uninhibited by pain. I would rather have a pet and take care of his needs for the remainder of his life rather than nerve him and use him and have him crippled in a few years. My choice, I know.
So that brings me to my issue with change. Because Hank seemed unhappy watching all of the other horses in my barn being ridden, I made the choice to take him to a friends house to be a pasture/barn mate for her horse. She even has comfort pads in her barn stalls which will be easier on his sidebone. But the transfer today was much more difficult and emotional for both of us than I thought it would be. He seemed unsettled and confused and I was just pretty much a basket case. How do I explain to him that I am not deserting him rather I am trying to give him more happiness. I think he will settle in eventually but I am not so sure about me.
I know I tend to assign a full range of human emotions to all my animals, but how do we know they don't feel the same as we. He is less than a 1/2 hour away and I can bring him home any time, so why do I feel so horrible. Have any of you experienced a similar situation? Even with my new horse Uiver captivating so much of my time I think I am grieving as much for Hank's lost career as much as anything else. Silly, I know. I also wonder what all my other horse's think (see there I go assigning human emotions). What do you all think, am I certifiable or just slightly eccentric?