So, the day has come when I don’t have to go muck out Shah’s stable, change his rugs, make up his feeds, go catch him in the field, groom his grumpy face, push him out for a ride, or leave him tucking into his dinner. After five and a half years we finally decided it was time to retire him. We are looking for a potential sharer to come and take him for some slow hacks a couple of times a week but as he’s such a difficult little horse I think the best for him is to just retire on grass.
I hear you say why?!? Well, I brought him back in work towards the end of December as he felt well enough in himself and we took is real slow to start with as he hadn’t been ridden properly for three months. To start with it all went well, we started with our 10-minute a day walks, slowly building up to an hour before we added some trotting and schooling work to get the muscles back into shape. After about two and a half months I felt that he was ready for a ride up on the Downs, with some slow hill work. He was very keen, got excited at the sight of the trailer, and walked on keenly when we started our hack together with old endurance friends. But half an hour later half way up our first hill he died again. This was exactly the same that had happened to us during those two endurance rides last year, but now it was happening in training, just half an hour into a ride. Even our companion horse stopped to look back and wonder what on earth he’s on about. He just slowly grinds to a stop, then has to rest for a while before he can walk on again. We picked up the walk and after a while we managed what would become our last canter across the Downs before going back with a heavy heart.
I know he’s telling me that he just can’t do it anymore. He can’t do the hill work or the Downs rides anymore, regardless of how much he wants to. All those years of neglect and abuse has started to take its toll, his health just isn’t right and it would be cruel to continue pushing him when he blatantly can’t do it.
We have had tests done but nothing conclusive ever came back and because he has such phobia of needles and vets, at his age we feel that it would be more cruel to him to put him through even more tests than just calling it a day and let him have some rest. He’s only 19 but he’s been through a lot in those years and for the past five and a half years he had a good spoilt life with me!
The owners have promised to keep me updated with what happens to him but it feels so weird not going to see him today.
I have started the hunt for a new horse but it will take some time I guess to find the right one. In the meantime I will post a bit here about my antics while going ‘horsey shopping’ – yes, we’ve had some real good stories on that topic already….
So, in summary – that’s all folks from my friend Shah.