My heart is breaking. The horse I’ve had more than half my life has arthritis. We started to suspect it last spring, but the vet said if I got some weight off her and gave her anti-inflammatory meds every time we rode, she’d probably last awhile longer. She rested most of last year. She lost a lot of weight this winter and got down to a healthier weight. And it didn’t work. She limps just walking around the pasture. Today we made the official decision that she’s done. I will never ride her again. No more ten day fishing trips in the Wind River Mountains. No more week-long hunting trips up behind our house. No more goofing off in the pasture and hoping I won’t fall off because I’m being stupid. She’s done. And the way she’s walking, she’s got to be in a lot of pain.
I remember once we were riding into the mountains for another fishing trip. The flies were particularly bad that year. The first few times we crossed the creek, she pawed at the water and splashed herself (and everyone else) in an attempt to get some relief. When that didn’t work, she took the next creek crossing opportunity to lie down. With me on her back. To say she has a mind of her own is an understatement.
I want to share more stories, but for now, thinking about it is making me cry.* She’s a fat, cantankerous old mare. And I love her.
*I’m really grateful to be in a place emotionally where I can cry. This sounds horrible, but it’s nice to feel sad for a reason and not just be depressed.