Advice please - behavioural issues and PTS

Joined
5 February 2018
Messages
5
I am an old HHO forum user and haven't been on for years, but I bought my horse Spring through a forum member 12 years ago, so wondered if I could turn to the forum for advice, in what is a hugely difficult decision for me. This may get long, so apologies!

Spring is 20, she has always been very difficult and opinionated, but with hard work, consistency and correct training she turned into a really brilliant horse for me, she always had it in her to be a difficult bag, but I learned the best way to manage her and these strops became few and far between. In 2011, Spring started to buck me off and become difficult again, a few A&E visits for me and a few vet visits for her resulted in a diagnosis of hock spavin. This was successfully treated and we got on with life, albeit the jumping was curtailed. In 2013/2014 she went lame in front, with a diagnosis of collateral ligament damage to the front feet, remedial shoeing made it worse, so she went barefoot and came sound. We have had 4 lovely years of gentle hacking and we said goodbye to all schooling and jumping, she was very happy and well behaved!

Fastforward to August 2017, we realised our dream of buying our own place with land, Spring and a companion pony moved here and my plan was to semi retire her, maybe the odd pootling hack, but generally a field ornament. And this is where my problems have started. We now have 4 here, including another retired mare who she has buddied up with, but she has basically reverted back to the difficult, stroppy and opinionated horse I bought 12 years ago. She is difficult to lead (will just sod off at speed), refuses to come in away from the others, won't be wormed, difficult to handle in pretty much every way. She's basically gone feral. At the moment she has a hoof abscess, so I'm poulticing, this morning she knocked me over and was galloping around the field on 3 legs vet wrap flying!
I am at such a low ebb with it, I adore her (I must do to have put up with her for so long), but I really don't like her at the moment, and I'm finding it more and more difficult to justify keeping her here (I have a 3 year old daughter and 3 other horses to look after), there is absolutely no way I can pass her on to anyone else, she is 20 and unlikely to change her ways now. I think the routine of ridden work and being brought in daily is what she needs but physically she is not up to it any more (and she will buck me off if in pain) and I currently don't have the facilities to bring her in to a stable every day. It's all getting a bit much for me and I am seriously considering putting her to sleep. To all intents and purposes she is healthy (she looks amazing), she has stiff days with her various issues but is not on bute and is generally moving pretty well. She was better in the winter when the hormones don't play a role, but she is definitely the alpha mare, and both the other retried horse and the companion pony have had a battering from her, as she is such a thug. I have a new riding horse on loan who is currently separated from her, and I don't think I'll be able to turn them out together, without serious injuries as he is quite food protective. This is fine for the summer, but not easy for the winter as I don't want small paddocks that will be trashed and become mud pits (as they live out 24 hours). Having the horses at home is a dream, and I love it, but without any help with Spring I am just not sure I can manage, and if I get hurt it will have a major impact on my family/work/home - my husband can do bits with the horses but I cannot expect him (or anyone else) to handle her when she is behaving like this.

Any advice is gratefully received, but try not to be too harsh, this is not a decision I am taking lightly. xx
 

meleeka

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Joined
14 September 2001
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2,005
Location
Hants, England
Your situation is unique to you and only you can work out what to do. I think as long as you can live with the decision to pts then it won?t be the wrong one. She won?t care either way x
 

Ambers Echo

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Joined
13 October 2017
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1,350
In the circumstances you describe I would probably PTS. She does not sound like she is suited to field ornament life. Sorry you are in this situation.
 

honetpot

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27 July 2010
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3,874
Location
Cambridgeshire
We have our own and stables but my husband has no interest, so I have total responsibility and in your shoes I would have her PTS. Like say you would not do it lightly, your child is more important and your safety is really important to your family. My oldies stay until they are PTS, its sad but you never have to worry about them again
I would make a small pen out of electric fencing, bring her and her best mate in and give her a feed with some bute once a day. If she is not being compliant with poulticing forget it, your head is more important than her foot. One day she comes in and the hunt is there. This has worked for me every time, even with a mare with severe separation anxiety, least stress on the animal and you.
I love mares but they can be mean girls and when they get attached they have no sense at all.
 
Joined
5 February 2018
Messages
5
Thanks for your replies. Those around me would much rather she was PTS as they are worried about me, but I do have feel totally comfortable that it’s the right thing for all of us. Talking about it helps, especially with people who are not emotionally involved with me or her.

Honetpot - thank you for your reply, you’ve summed it up perfectly and good to know that you’ve had a plan that works in a similar situation. I always knew she’d end her days here, but I was hoping she would peacefully retire, but this looking unlikely now. I also don’t know why I’m bothering poulticing really, I guess part of me doesn’t want to accept that all those years of training and getting her to be so compliant has gone down the toilet (I am hugely stubborn! A fault I am acutely aware of, but also probably the reason I got as far with her as I did).

I do have commoners rights in Dartmoor for 3 horses I think, maybe I send her truly feral?!! Joking!
 

equi

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Joined
25 October 2010
Messages
8,452
Location
Northern Ireland
Not all horses cope well with retired life if they are a highly strung animal that thrives on routine. You can't pass her on, there is really only one option as shes actually getting dangerous.
 
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