Feeling really down and confused

Joined
21 February 2006
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Leigh, Lancashire
I'm feeling really bad at the minute and am really struggling with a dreadful decision.

Jambo is 24 now and is currently steadily going downhill. I got him when he was 10 and I was 13, two years down the line he needed an operation on his leg and whilst he was away he got xrayed and was diagnosed with navicular. The vet back then recommended having him put to sleep then we could have got the insurance money but that was never an option.

As it goes he carried on competing for the next few years and suprised everybody. When he was 16 he stopped competing apart from the odd dressage test and we just did some schooling and lots of hacking. I was away at uni during this time for four years and my dad took on caring for him Monday to Friday.

By the time he hit 20 we were up to using 1 bute a day as he also had arthritic changes in his knees. Weight was becoming an issue and we had to work really hard to keep it on. The stiffness was kept under control I think by lots of gentle hacking in walk. We moved yards in the summer of 2002 to share a place with my aunty and then in December 2002 we had to have Jason (my childhood pony) put to sleep at the age of 27. I think he took that hard as Jason was his pair bond and he had never been apart from him during the years I had owned him.

In Feb this year I moved yards again as my aunty lost her young horse to Wobblers Syndrome and couldn't face getting another and I didn't want the responsibility of being in charge of a small yard again. We did find a lovely yard with great people close to home and Jambo settled in unbelievably well.

In July he started to go quite downhill again, he dropped weight and started plaiting behind very severely. The vet said that he now had bad arthritis in his hocks and shouldn't be ridden anymore. She advised that it was time to think about the inevitable.

Around this time a friend who runs a feedstore recommended Slobbermash, she said she knew a few people who had seen good results. I put him on this and to my suprise he loved it and started gaining weight again.

A couple of months later some of the horses in the field got worked up and started charging around and he did too. I found him in a dreadful way with four swollen legs and some cuts. I felt rather hurt as there were a number of people on the yard that said "Oh your horse was galloping around" but nobody had thought to bring him in.

Following this I kept him in for a few days and walked him in hand to alleviate the swelling and the YO kindly offered to let him go out in a field by himself with a quiet horse as a companion. He really started to seem better although it caused a rucous with one particular livery who was very angry at the thought that Jambo was getting "special treatment, " and made her feelings well known to everybody including me.

Then he bit his leg open again near the end of September. We have had trouble with him for years biting at his fetlocks (what he had the operation for 12 years ago) and always have had to keep him bandaged whnever in his stable. They had been healed for just over a year altogether then suddenly he did it again and badly.

I ended up having to put him back in as walking round the dressing would rub the wound as it was on the joint. I couldn't leave it undressed for the worry of infection or him biting it again. Everyday I have got him out and let him have a roll in the indoor school and walked him out with the bandages off.

Now during the last couple of weeks he has had two bouts of colic and started having diarrhoea. I am worried that the long term use of bute has taken its toll.

I also had a run in with the same difficult livery who was angry that I let him roll in the indoor as she says her horse could trip although I always rake it and he never digs. Suddenly the YO has sent round a note that no horse is allowed to be turned out in the indoor (no guesses as to why) so that is something else he can't do. One of the girls told me today he rolled in his stable and she was concerned as he struggled getting up. He doesn't normally roll in the stable but I think he must be frustrated as he is used to being allowed to roll once a day. He is now also lethargic and very stiff (probably from the lack of regular work he has always had). He walks out quite lively for the first couple of minutes and then is ready to go back in again. The only good thing at the minute is his appetite and weight.

I feel so confused as I am starting to wonder if I just keep going as I can't bear the thought of losing him instead of doing what is really right. I also know that even if he made it to spring it is unlikely I could turn him out again in a field with a companion due to the determination of the livery who gets very upset about such things. I don't think he could deal with being out with a large amount of horses again especially as he is the sort that is at the bottom of the pecking order.

I just wish I knew what to do as I can think of nothing else. Sorry to write such a lot I think I just needed to get it out my system.
 

Billie

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13 May 2002
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570
The biggest hugs in the world, that is a really emotional post. I think you know what the answer is and I think maybe you should read back through your post carefully, leaving out the bits about the other livery who is being awkward, I think the answer is there. The hardest and worse decision in the world has to be made and with a horse of 23 yrs myself, who I've had 16 yrs (since ! was 14) I know exactly how you feel and you clearly have done everything you can for him. It's going to break your heart but so will seeing him suffer?
 

rosita

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My heart goes out to you, you seem to know what you should do but i know it doesn't make it any easier. When i had to have my lovely old boy pts after 15 years together it broke my heart, but i know i did the right thing. I have the happy memories, and made the decision before he got so bad that that isn't all i would remember. Feel so sick for you, you'll get through it.
 
Joined
21 February 2006
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Leigh, Lancashire
Thanks for your kind reply.

It is ironic the similarities we have as from your sig your horse looks really like mine. Jambo is a 16.2hh BWB chestnut with close to identical face markings.

I know you are right, it is just so hard to face up to. It seems to be one thing to talk about it and another to do it. I was so heartbroken when I lost Jason and then at least I still had Jambo so that kept me going as he still needed me.
 

Pidge

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sending you lots of hugs honey. I know its hard but try to put to the back of your mind the other livery - she obviously does not have a compassionate bone in her body IMO. You really need to decide on the quality of life that your horse has got and then make your decision. Bear in mind though that it would be better for your horse to go whilst he is not suffering, if he suddenly deteriated or started to suffer then how would you feel. At the end of the day please remember that we have the option with animals to say enough is enough and to let them leave this world with dignity something we don't do for humans. I'm sure that you will make the right decision for you and your horse, if you want to PM feel free to. Whenever the day happens it will be extremely hard for you after all they play such a huge part in our lives and the grieving process is never easy. Thinking of you xxxxx
 
Joined
21 February 2006
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Leigh, Lancashire
Thanks Sue, you are also right about the other livery. Normally such people don't faze me in the slightest but I am really sensitive at the minute anyway. At least everybody else on the yard is lovely.

Roswita, I am sorry for your loss. You are right about the memories. It took me quite a while to face thinking about Jason and looking at my photos but now I get a lot of comfort from that. I just hate that this is happening.
 

Billie

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570
[ QUOTE ]
Thanks for your kind reply.

It is ironic the similarities we have as from your sig your horse looks really like mine. Jambo is a 16.2hh BWB chestnut with close to identical face markings.

I know you are right, it is just so hard to face up to. It seems to be one thing to talk about it and another to do it. I was so heartbroken when I lost Jason and then at least I still had Jambo so that kept me going as he still needed me.

[/ QUOTE ]

There are other similarities too! Billy had an operation about 6 years ago and only had a 25% of becoming sound again but he did and we did compete again. He then would go through fazes of unlevelness/stiffness and we put him on 1 bute a day and he is sound on that and cortaflex, I stopped competing and just hack/school now. Sometimes I think he doesn't need the bute but he used to get fidgety and I think it helps relieve the aches.


The only other things for you that I can think of are uping the bute although with the colic that might not be a good idea or maybe asking the vet if you can try him on danilon, that isn't supposed to be as hard on the gut as bute is, at least you could give a higher dose to keep him as comfortable as possible in the short term.
 

Pidge

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Very difficult, but as you are feeling very down and vulnerable small things like the other livery which would normally be shrugged off tend to take on a huge significance in your life, does that make sense?
Please justgo with your gut instinct and your heart and I am sure that you will make the right decision. It sounds like you have always put your horse first throughout his life so now will be no different. It does take a brave person to make this decision as you are putting their quality of life above your feelings - it would be lovely if they could go on forever but that isn't going to happen. xxxx
 
Joined
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I really can't believe how similar our horses seem. Jambo has been on cortaflex for a long time and was always very fidgity when kept in. Makes you wonder if they can be fidgity simply because of being uncomfortable.

The vet said in July I could up his bute to 2 a day but it could only be short term because of the side effects. I did for a fortnight but then he seemed much better so I dropped it back to 1 hoping desperately for the best and he did seem ok. I'll google danilon, I haven't heard of that.

Sue, I think you have it spot on. I don't think I am entirely rational, logically I know she is somebody who preys on other people's weaknesses but she really has managed to get to me the last few months.

Thanks so much both of you for the support. I think from writing all this down it has made me realise that in my heart I have known for a few months that this has needed to be done but not been able to face it. Now I need to find the courage to face it, I can't let him suffer and he has to come first.
 

Mid

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Aw, poor you!
I really think the answer is, as you said, the inevitable. Your horse is happy enough at the moment, but he can only go downhill, and it would be kindest to let him go before he really starts to suffer.

-huggles-


And maybe, one day, you can find another horse to love nearly as much as Jambo and Jason...

-Middi
 

Pidge

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I'm glad to have been of some help, I lost Higgins to GS in May 05 when he was 8 and I lost my husband to cancer in May 03 when he was 36 so I know exactly what you are going through. Just remember with this other livery I do believe in divine retribution - you can't go through life sh***ing on people without getting your just rewards. Besides she has her conscience to live with if she has one

You will find the courage to do what is best for your horse, we all have an inner strength that we need to tap into at certain times of our lives. It's not an easy decision but it sounds like you have made your mind up, I'm proud of you
 

Billie

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570
I bought Billy leg wraps last winter to keep his joints warm, they seemed to help.

You really are a loving caring horse owner and your horse is lucky to have you as his owner, so many people wouldn't do as much as you do for him, don't let this other woman spoil your last moments with your horse, just walk away if she start and tell her you'll only discuss matters with the YO.
 

Stella

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You poor thing - I'm so sorry you are having such a rotten time. I'm sure I'll be struggling like you when my mare gets to your boys stage. It must be very hard to take the decision that its time to give them the peaceful end. The timing for this with your boy can only be your decision.

Everything you have said though is about him struggling
Is there anything else in life that he enjoys besides his feed? Its all about quality of life isn't it? In the wild, they would have already gone at this stage. Ask yourself if his quality of life is still good. When it isn't, its the time to say goodbye dear friend. I don't know how I'll do it when my time comes. When that time is right for your boy, I hope you have kind support around you.

Remember, you have already given him a life that he wouldn't have had if owned by some others. You have a lot to feel proud of.
 

jayvee

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Horses are very good at picking up on human emotions. I wonder if he feels yours, knowing you so well, and he is not so well because of this?
But you know your horse the best and most. And my heart goes out to you.
If only I could offer a nice big green field with a kind fluffy pony companion for your so well deserved lad.
If only you could change his environment for the better he may well be a happier chap for a while longer.
I would move the earth to ensure my girl was happy and not be a prisioner to some spiteful lowlife.
 
Joined
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Leigh, Lancashire
Everybody else on the yard has been very supportive of me and Jambo. I won't rush in to anything straight away. My farrier is due to do his feet tommorrow which always makes him more comfy so there is no urgent panic.

I am going to speak to my YO about my feelings and see if she will make "a rolling" exception for Jambo. I can always offer to let him roll in the morning so nobody else is aware it is happening.

I think I have to accept it is a "when" now rather than an "if", my vets have cared for him for many years and think it is down to me now. I suppose I just harbour dreams of one more summer in the field for him.

fan_mail I don't think he is picking up on too much from me as he seems quite content when I am there. Ironically when I am with him is when I think about it least as I enjoy my time with him so much. It tends to be when I come away and start thinking about it and worrying about his quality of life and him being in pain. There really is just so much wrong now he can't take pleasure in the things healthy horses can.

Also yes the livery has got to me but in the end she is not the reason. If I truly felt he'd make it through I'd find somewhere else or come up with a way to persuade the YO to let me section off a field.
 

YorksG

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I was worrying about similar with my oldy, who has fortunately picked up. My concern in October was how she would fare in January February with the colder weather. If they are unwell now how are they going to cope with snow and cold damp winds? I'm sure you will do your best for him, no matter how hard for you, it is hard though.
 

Dogbetty141

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Could you not change yards or find a nice big feild somewhere where he can roam about with another nice friendly pony?? maybe a shetland? that would improve his quality of life as he is moving all the time and it will help the stiffness and swelling. If i was you i would tell this girl where to go heartless cow!! I feel for you and you in your heart know what the right decision is. But do check about the above??
 

Murphs_Mum

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Really sad post and you are obviously a very loving owner but if you re read the post as though someone else had written it I'm sure you would say the time has come to let him go. I'll probably be shot down for this but I think it's kinder to let them go sooner rather than have them struggling on. Big hugs to you, believe me I know how totally heart breaking it is
 
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