All But Lost My Boy - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 12-15-2012, 10:59 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: North central Iowa
Posts: 1,199
• Horses: 2
All But Lost My Boy

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. 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?

Rusty - a miracle horse Knight - my golden oldie
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post #2 of 6 Old 12-15-2012, 11:09 PM
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Colorado
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I am so sorry for your loss ... there is really nothing I can offer except to say pay close attention to his pain, work with your vet to manage it effectively, and when the day comes that you can't - be ready to let him leave this world with you at his side. You sound like a very caring owner ... good luck and best wishes for many more years with your boy.
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There is no passion to be found playing small - in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living. - Nelson Mandela
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post #3 of 6 Old 12-16-2012, 01:33 AM
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: New Zealand
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One of the many fluke accidents that can happen with horses, so sorry to hear that you most likely wont be able to ride him anymore But I have to say its great to hear that you havent given up on him, so many people these days either cant afford to or just dont want to keep a horse on that is no longer useful in their eyes.
I hope you are able to get him to the point where he can live out his days relatively pain free. Teaching him some tricks would be a fun way to spend time with him, or just taking him for walks and grooming etc. I actually get most of my enjoyment these days from the time that I spend on the ground with my horse. He's an older boy and gets pretty stiff so quite often will just go for a walk with him rather than ride.
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post #4 of 6 Old 12-16-2012, 04:52 PM
Join Date: Dec 2012
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I had a similair situation except he got kicked in the elbow. swollen, got xrays and it was a fracture through the whole joint. i was devestated. i suggest that when he starts dropping weight or cant get up put him down.
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post #5 of 6 Old 12-16-2012, 05:07 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2010
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I'm so sorry for you. You could take him on long walks

So in lies the madness, the pursuit of the impossible in the face of the complete assurance that you will fail, and yet still you chase.
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post #6 of 6 Old 12-16-2012, 08:04 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: North central Iowa
Posts: 1,199
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Thanks guys for the support. I've been trying to come to terms with all of this. Of course, Rusty was my BFF, but he was also my show partner. I wasn't able to show until last year, and while I didn't enjoy the big show as much as I thought I would, I'm eager to jump back into that world. Rusty was such a good show horse for only doing hunters for a year - he didn't have his leads totally down, but he jumped everything in front of him and we were the only ones that completed the hunter derby. I was so proud of him.

I've been doing a lot of thinking in the last few days, and I know I have time. I still have this desire to show and have a show partner/competition partner. I go to community college right now, but next fall I will move out and go to university. I was planning on taking Rusty with me to continue his training. I know I could get in riding lessons and stuff even without my own horse, but that means I can't compete this summer because, unless I'm missing something, I think all of my trainer's show horses are already reserved for show season. There's a few of them that are not, but one has major bucking issues, the other is a pony (and I'm an adult), Felix is a beginner horse who is really lazy (I've surpassed that I think), and then there's two that are just beginning jumping training. That leaves Loofah, the cheeky Saddlebred cross. He's a jumper horse, and doesn't have much showing experience. So I'm not really sure there's much there for me.

On the other hand, if I buy, it could be risky. First of all, I know I have to heal from this loss before making any decisions. Because right now, all I can do is compare every horse to how Rusty was, and that's not right. When I go off to college, I wouldn't mind paying board, but my dad is set against me taking a horse to college, even though I would pay board, not him. I do worry about how much time I would have in school, although I always believed I would see Rusty a lot when I went to school because riding is always a great relaxer and stress reliever for me. I would have something to show this summer then. I don't want a super high priced do-it-all horse. I would want one that's 7-15 years old, reliable on the trails, likes jumping, and isn't terribly hot, and maybe something that has been over some cross country jumps and has good conformation for that, as I'm seeking eventing training when I move. I prefer geldings to mares, and I want a horse that is "safe" to handle on the ground, loads, and is just respectful. It doesn't have to be a big winner and I want something with some personality and maybe even some quirks, but I want to trust my horse doing any activity, like I could Rusty. Unlike Rusty, I want a horse that is not always on the forehand to the point where he's leaning on my hands.

I'd lease a horse over the summer, but there's not many hunter/jumper/eventer horses to lease near Iowa, and most of them are understandably not off-farm leases.

I'm just rambling on what's been on my mind. My parents and friends don't get it like you guys do because they aren't "horse people." So thanks for replies/advice/understanding.

Rusty - a miracle horse Knight - my golden oldie
Vlogging about Midwest trail riding here:
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