A week before Thanksgiving, my horse, Rusty, was spooked when our trampoline flew into the horse paddock on a windy night. We think he tried to jump the paddock fence and didn't make it. He was very lame on one of his hind legs, and his hock was swollen massively.
It...got better, in some ways. He was able to put weight on it. But his hock was still swollen. So I took him down to the university hospital, thinking they would tell me when to expect recovery and what was wrong.
Recovery is basically never. Rusty fractured a part of his hock, like on the backside, that connects to joints and tendons. There are bone chips scattered in his hock. Even if fused together, that part will be severely arthritic, and there's damage to the joints too. They told me that even if we had taken him to the vet right away, there'd be no change.
Rusty will never be an athletic mount again, has a poor prognosis for ever being a riding horse, and will likely be in some sort of pain for the rest of his life as his arthritis progressively worsens. Hock injections will wear quickly with his injury and won't really be helpful. There's nothing they can do for my boy. They said if the pain gets too bad for him, I'll obviously have to put him down. It just breaks my heart. He was my first horse and taught me so many lessons. He taught me to be assertive and firm...we learned to jump together. We went to my first rated show and his first rated show as a team and he was better behaved than all the lesson horses there. I could take him out on the road bareback and in a halter and not worry.
Needless to say, there's been a lot of tears for me because I can't imagine not riding him. But I know that I can't change anything. Because I'm into showing, my parents said I could get another horse maybe, but with me going to college next year, I don't think that's a good idea, and honestly, I just want Rusty right now.
Rusty is my best friend, and I have decided that I'm still going to enjoy him as a companion horse. I want to teach him tricks. What else can we do together? And how do I come to terms with this?