Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Tampa Bay area, FL
I think that we all do the best we can for our horses. I recently put my gelding, who is only 12 but comes from a long career on the track, back on joint supplements because he has arthritis in his back legs. He didn't come to me with this knowledge, because his previous owners had not worked him. I saw the pain that he was in, and knew that supplements were something that he needed to have, not a luxury. You had no idea what taking him off of the Adequan would do to him, or to what degree. But, now that you do know, what are you going to do with it? I'm sure that Nelson could continue eventing, but not without some help. Perhaps the Adequan was what kept him going with you in the first place, rather than falling apart.
You also mentioned that there are horses who aren't much older than Nelson doing more advanced work than he is currently. While this is a great arguement for his potential, its also an excellent arguement for his longevity. Is four more years on Nelson really worth it to you? What is Nelson going to look like at the end of those four years? If you sell him now in his current condition to some little girl, would she still be able to use him at the end of these four years?
Its very hard for us to give up our dreams for something, especially when there is some sort of relationship involved. It becomes very easy for us to be selfish and only think of ourselves, because after all a horse can't butt in and say "I don't want to do that anymore". But especially with an older horse, and one that may be in pain, we HAVE to put aside our dreams and look at the reality. If you honestly think that with a little bit of conditioning and correct care (that you can monetarily provide) that Nelson will come out of this no worse for wear, go for it. But if its just going to end up hurting him in the long run, or you can't provide him what he needs, then I say it is time to retire him and find a younger mount.
Sorry for the novel, lol. Hope it helps!