Borrowing Trouble

Blogging at the 11th hour after a crappy day. Everyone is fine, I’m just fretting about the future.

Mathilda took a handful of very off steps on her bad hind leg at breakfast. When it was time for her morning walk, the day had warmed up & she had loosened up. She is also a bit footsore in the front from being barefoot all summer. She usually gets shod in late May for stomping season. Causing me to wonder:

a) If a cool, pleasant evening causes her to stiffen up to this extent, how will we keep her warm in seriously cold weather, or at least as seriously cold as we get? She was already wearing her bodyweight in blankets last winter. The stall would block the wind and therefore be warmer, but we have the issue of her getting stuck again [Debriefing].

b) I had assumed that the end would be either a catastrophic mechanical failure, i.e. she goes down and lacks the strength to get up, or systemic, i.e. hanging head, poor attitude, and a general feeling of No mas, boss. At that point our duty is clear, if terrible. What do we do if the feet/back end give out but the front end is still perky and absorbing carrots?

Yes, I should not look for trouble. There will be plenty without my inventing more. OTOH, perhaps it is good to think about such things dispassionately ahead of time. Then we are not randomly making critical decisions mid-crisis. Now, if I could only work on the dispassionately part.

From this we can derive two conclusions:

1) Old sucks.

2) I should rename this blog Mathilda’s Meanderings.

Categories: Barn Life, Blogging, Horse Behavior, Horse Care, Horses

4 replies »

  1. Two falls ago we lost two dearly beloved horses within months of each other. One was planned, the other took us (somewhat) by surprise. Both were aged, but still. My horse showed signs of failure months in advance. She was plagued with bouts of colic that started to come weekly instead of every now and then. I knew I didn’t have the fortitude to solder through a cold, challenging New England winter with a sick horse. I blogged about my experience with letting her go and truth be told, once the decision was made it was not all that bad. Well, as far as that kind of thing can go. Two days later we got 27″ of snow in 24 hours. My horse never would have been OK in that. Proof, I guess, that I made the right choice, even if it did feel a bit selfish and maybe just a tad premature at the time.

    Our second horse died a HORRIBLE death. Colic again, unexpected and in the worst of circumstances. I can still hear his screams when I think about it. Nobody should ever have to go through that with their beloved friend and companion of 24 years. You think you can handle a crisis until it happens. It’s ugly, dangerous and loaded with anxiety and emotion. Needless to say, the death of our second horse was quite a contrast to the peaceful, calm, planned event months earlier.

    I wish you the best with this situation, but if I could, I would implore you … beg you from the bottom of my heart … to do what needs to be done BEFORE you’re in a crisis situation. I’ve been known for calling the shots a bit early, but I’ve never been known to say; “Gee, I just wish I’d let him/her suffer a few more hours (or weeks)!” Yes, it’s a difficult decision and you’ll second guess yourself all the way through it to the end. Mathilda will tell you when she’s ready if you let her. Just don’t make her do it under duress because there’s a big difference between looking into your horse’s eyes and seeing “I love you, but it’s time” and seeing, “HELP ME!”

    • That is my concern. That, through selfishness, we will miss the former and be faced with the latter. Several of our senior animals declined gracefully & handled their own exits. Abby, our Basset, was on assisted living until she had a mild stroke, perhaps, that left her disoriented and distressed. Previous Horse, naturally, maximized his own convenience and fell over without warning. Experience doesn’t seem to help. Each time is different. We will keep listening to M. So far all she says is ‘More Carrots!’

  2. This is pretty funny, and sad, and practical. Enjoy the moment. Tomorrow will take care of itself. BTW, a crappy day makes a good story, or in this case, blog.

%d bloggers like this: