My 14 yr old daughter's horse is +/- 30 yrs old. We got her several years ago with paperwork that said she was 11, but we knew that wasnt true. The vet said at the time she was probably 20ish, the equine dentist said she was closer to 30. Her teeth are horrible, most of them missing in the back on both sides, top and bottom. What teeth she has left have been floated three times in the last 2 years.
Every year she drops weight in the winter despite our best attempts at keeping weight on (soaked senior feed, soaked alfalfa cubes, soaked beet pulp, soaked sweet feed, extra oats, weight builder, and the softest hay we can buy) the list goes on but that's what she was on last winter. We have tried a combination of just about everything. But in the spring as soon as the grass comes in, she does great and every year by the fall she is nice and chunky and has excess fat to help her get through winter.. and the cycle continues.
Lilly would cough sometimes when she was being worked but it was not consistent and with no other symptoms, we werent too concerned. Then we found out in June that she has a grade 4 mitral valve heart murmur. (which the vet didnt mention when he came to float her teeth a few months before that?) All her work stopped at that point. The vet said we are able to take her on walking trail rides but she is not allowed to get out of breath. Since then, she has been on maybe three walking trail rides. She seemed to be the same old Lilly.
Here's my problem.. she has not gained weight this summer. In fact, she has lost weight. The vet said its probably due to the heart problem and lack of blood pumping the nutrition to where it needs to be. Its never an easy to make the decision, but other than her weight loss she seems to be fine. But I am concerned that this winter will be so hard on her. We live in a windy part of western NY.. some winters are mild but most are a few months of lots of snow, freezing temps sometimes below zero.
And then there is the problem of knowing next spring, the grass that comes in isnt going to do anything for her. We opened a new pasture this spring so our horses have had more pasture available then ever.. and she still looks awful. You can see her ribs and her spine to give you and idea of how bad she is. I have pictures of her in June and she has lost weight since then.
Is it time to say goodbye? Am I being selfish to make her fight through another winter just to prolong the inevitable??