I'm not even sure how to begin this post.
It would not be devastating news to most, in fact its routine for many owners.
I, however, SWORE, I would never ever do this to another horse after the Wonder Pony. Ever.
I VERY much do not believe in continuing to ride animals if they need injections of any kind to stay comfortable. I find it selfish of a rider to continue to ride a horse with degenerative joints that can only stay mildly comfortable with modern medicine. Its like covering up a problem with pain meds and making it worse with continuous stress. And after Spirit, I swore swore swore I would never never never do it again. Not for the cost, but because to me it hurts me to know I'm using injections to keep using a horse for my purposes.
Before you raise a fit though, this is MY opinion. And I DO NOT judge others for doing so. Its your horse, your life, your decisions.
I am also going against everything I've stood for for years and possibly injecting Yankee. And it hurts me. Let me explain before ya'll go calling me a filthy hypocrite.
For those of you who don't know who Spirit is, he was my beautiful little spunk event pony. He could and would jump anything I pointed (or not pointed) him at. I got him when him and I were both 12 and he had only been one mess of a trail horse. Years later we would do many magical eventing things like ride with Darren Chiacchia and win Pony Club Mega Rally.
|Darren C. clinic. Yes, that is four foot triple bar on a 14hh pony|
However, when he was 14, he got very sore. Very sore. And we started injecting him so I could continue to event. Because I did what my vet told me to.
We continued to beat as at jumper shows and do mildly well at events (dressage was not our thing) and he continued to love it. Never met a horse who loved jumping more. I justified the injections with his love for competing. But part of me felt very selfish for not retiring him.
And then he got worse. And we started injecting him every 6 months. Put him on the best joint supplement. When I sold him he was 18 and I know he was so bad that he had weekly chiro and massage treatments and god knows how often he was injected. He evented with young girls until his death at 22, but my guilt for feeling like I had shot my beloved pony's joints, haunts me to this day.
|Wonder Pony at 20|
I noticed problems when I brought him back from his 2 months hiatus. He was ouchy for the farrier. He tripped a lot. He was posty leg at the canter. I attributed it to being out of shape/lack of muscle.
Until 4 random people noticed something was just slightly off about his RH. I died a little inside.
NO NO NO he is 11 years old. Not a thousand. I haven't even eveneted him hard because I'm broke. I could understand slight offness if he was a brilliant 2* horse but he's a mediocre Prelim level horse who's actually never competed Prelim.
However. I bit the fucking bullet. Went against everything I swore I would never do and called the vet for flexion tests. He comes tomorrow. I also switched around Yankee's smartpaks to a better grade joint supp.
So I guess I will find out then. I knwo its not the end of the world, but to me it just feels WRONG. ALL WRONG. He's 11 so I SHOULD inject because he has sooo many years left and he's not even lame. WRONG because I feel its wrong to cover up soreness for my own benefit. WRONG because if I don't do it I will be shamed by every single person I know (if he is off).
I'm very torn. I would feel different if I just retired him and injected him to make him comfy out in the pasture. But this is MY BABY. The horse I trained MYSELF to jump four foot and do second level movements with. Spent 8 years finessing. I cannot just throw that away for something little thing I find ridiculous if its treatable.
Feel free to explain to me why injections are such a magical thing. I know they are. But I'm not going to listen. I just find them wrong. Which is why I hate this. Because I will do it if I have to.