Loving An Old Horse

Every rider has that one special horse, that one horse that changes everything about them.

Horseware Ireland

When you have an older horse, you know that one day they won’t be able to jump as high, go as fast, or carry you as far – but you never anticipate it when that day actually arrives.

Two weeks ago, we started warming up for our weekly lesson but something didn’t feel quite right. After watching Honey go, my trainer and I decided it would be best for the vet to take a look at her before doing any more.

A few days later, the vet came and tested her hooves, flexion points, and even nerved her right hind to determine if it was a tendon issue. As she was trotting, the vet explained that if it turned out to be a tendon issue, it would likely mean six months off and a decent amount of stall rest. Alternatively, if it was a hock issue, I’d be looking at an indefinite anti-inflammatory and regular $700.00 hock injections.

As it turned out, the tendons were not the issue and I breathed a short-lived sigh of relief. Walking her back to the barn, I asked the vet for her recommendation on working Honey moving forward. Without the hock injections (simply not in the budget for a graduate student with a 25-year-old horse), the anti-inflammatory would take about 2-3 weeks to take effect and the fact of the matter is that her lameness is a byproduct of her age.

When it rains, it pours.


As I listened to to the vet explain that my big, red jumper would only be able to jump cross-rails at most, I thought about my Business Statistics homework that I couldn’t wrap my head around and my Accounting Mid-Term that was scheduled first thing the next morning. I thought about how I couldn’t afford most of the treatments that would allow Honey to continue jumping and I thought, if only she could have lasted a couple more years, just until I was finished with school. But then I realized that she is 25-years-old and I have been riding on borrowed time for the past eight years.

I’ve owned, sold, and retired horses before but none that were with me for eight years. Honey has been a constant in my life through college, starting my own business, becoming a freelancer, three moves, two jobs, and now graduate school. While she may not be able to jump anymore, she will remain my constant and maybe even gain a sibling sometime down the road.


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