Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The end of the road.

I'm forcing myself not to cry while I write this blog.

I haven't posted in the past few days because due to hurricane Irene, the internet was out until today.

I rode on Sunday. I hopped on bareback. We walked, she was fine. She even trotted a few strides and felt fine. But when we changed direction, she was back the same way she was before the hock injection.

I tried again on Monday, and she couldn't even walk a hundred yards to the arena (again, bareback) without feeling like she was in pain.

But she lunged fine except for right lead canter, which all she did was make a nasty face.

I called Kim, but due to the hurricane, her phone was dead. Today she was able to call me back, and I talked with her about this.

She said that she will gladly do xrays, but she said based on what we know, this may be something that isn't fixable, and even if it is fixable, she is almost certain that Amber won't be fit as a competitive show horse. She said she thinks Amber, with time, may be sound as an easy trail horse, and she thinks she is a suitable prospect for a broodmare. We discussed the fact that what I want to do isn't what Amber is capable of doing physically. I've been talking to Victoria as well, and we both agreed that when I am brutally honest with myself, Amber wouldn't enjoy being a show horse. I think I was trying to convince myself that all the training she was enjoying, but she was merely too good a horse to say no to what I was asking.

She would have rather been on a trail somewhere. I like to trail ride, but I would rather be working on my position, getting my horse round, and moving out nicely. And of course I want to jump. Amber wouldn't enjoy that even if she were sound. She WOULD do it, but that's not kind to her. And sometimes, you can take a trail horse and start training them for shows, and they will just get it and love it, like Jack. But the enthusiasm Jack had is not there with Amber.

I've said Amber is a forever horse, even if she isn't rideable. Like many silly things I've said in the past few months, that's not rational. She's 7 years old. She's got the potential to live another 15-20 years. I may at some point be able to afford two horses, but is it sensible to wait 5+ years to have something of my own again that I can ride with full control of it's training and lifestyle? No.

It would be different if I had owned Amber for a few years and had already trained/competed with her. But I haven't really done much of anything with Amber. I've had her for 8 months. Not years.

After hearing the vet's opinion today, I've decided to sell Amber. I'm a little worried about marketing her as a broodmare, because I don't want her to go in the hands of some back yard breeder who will treat her like a foal factory. But honestly, that's the only thing she really has going for her right now. The vet and I both agreed it wouldn't be smart for me to put the money into the xrays when I will probably get about the same amount of money out of her, and the fact that I'm going to need money to put towards finding a more suitable mount.

I'm going to make a note that she MAY be a sound trail horse that would be good for an intermediate child/teenager at a later point in time with vet care.

I'm trying not to analyze this, because I still feel like it's my fault for listening to Bob and not calling the vet sooner. I know that I'm not the entire reason for her lameness, because that started when she was still at Casey's. But I think I greatly contributed to the fact that she's seriously screwed up now.

I'm trying to be reasonable with my own self and remind myself that everyone makes mistakes, and I was trying to do the best for her with what I knew at the time. But the point is, I KNEW BETTER, but I put my trust in other people's advice. And now she's the one who suffers. What an ass I am. The unreasonable part of me wants to just quit right here and now, because I don't feel that I deserve a new horse. But that's not really reasonable, because why would I even sell her if the goal wasn't to find a more suitable equine for myself? I plan on asking for first right of refusal, of course.

But, if I remove the emotional fog, and stop trying to humanize Amber, this is what needs to be done. Taking all care to find good owners, obviously, and doing all I can to make sure I can keep track of her. I'm posting ads for her after I post this blog. It's been on my mind for days, and talking with the vet today really confirmed things for me.

In all this I've learned some valuable lessons. If we look at the transitions blog, we will see that I plainly SAID I was unsure about Amber because she clearly had some soundness issues. I ignored the red flags and proceeded. Do I think Casey sold me a lame horse on purpose? Hell no. Because I did have a PPE done, at which Casey was present. We believed the vet, what more could we do? Looking back, I can see the vet didn't do the flexion tests quite right. But it's also possible it was a fluke that day and she wasn't showing signs of her issues. Or, that they were still not full-blown and couldn't be noticed yet. But what I have learned is to go with my gut. Things got screwed up this bad because I listened to other people because I doubted my own opinions.

I feel guilty, and undeserving of a new horse. Yay, I'm the moron who just ruined a nice QH who could have been happy doing trails. But this was all in vain if I don't learn from my colossal screw up and ALWAYS go with my gut and good sense with the next horse.

I'm closing this blog in the next few days. As with Jack, this is the end of an era. I'm leaving this blog in tribute to Amber. I'm moving back over to Transitions, and those of you who didn't follow me at that time can find it here:


Edited to add:

I broke down and cried after I wrote this. It's so confusing. And after I broke down and cried, I started to just get the feeling I want to quit. I just feel like a complete and total failure here. I also feel like I'm moving too fast here, maybe I should get second opinions that I can't afford, or maybe I should have Dr. Ipock do the xrays and we will see some miracle that's an easy fix...that I equally can't afford. And that leads me to want to quit, yet again, because this obviously proves I can't afford to properly care for the horse I already have. I feel incredibly irresponsible right now, because I feel that I should lay in the bed I've made, accept light trail riding if it ever becomes possible and support my pasture puff as best I can. But if I'm not happy doing that, wouldn't it be better for me to find somebody, some miracle person, who does want that? But let's face it - who would want that uncertainty?


  1. This is a very hard decision to make. You have had a lot of emotional stuff going on with Amber. You have done everything a responsible owner can do, so don't beat yourself up. You did what you thought was the right thing by Amber. Do you need to find her a home right away?? Is allowing some time to have her heal for a bit an option?? I truly hope it turns out well for both of you. Take care.

  2. I am aching for you. Wish there were an easy answer to your dilemma. You are doing all you can to make Amber comfortable and if you can indeed find her a good home where she will not be unfairly stressed, that'd be great.

    Wishing you the best and offering all the moral support I can from afar.