We are going to leave both Rugrat and Redondo in the vet clinic over the weekend.
Redondo is doing better, his impaction is breaking up but he still has sporadic pain. Not too much, it's controllable with Banamine, but the vets want to make sure the impaction is completely broken up before he heads for home.
Rugrat's x-rays showed her advanced Founder, which we knew about when we rescued her. But, so far it had not detracted from her quality of life. It looks like it is affecting her more now though, she has quite a bit of rotation and is developing bruising and abscesses. But, she still has some time ahead of her to enjoy- so with our vet's blessing, she will return home to Shiloh where we will work to keep her comfortable for the time she has remaining. Ponies are hardy and with some measures, she should be able to maintain a good quality of life and get back to wandering the ranch with her pal, Trigger.
We are concerned about Arson, who has been in the clinic for the past month. He had more necrotic tissue and hoof wall removed again. We, and the vets, have been trying very hard to get his quality of life back. It's getting a bit more difficult now as his coffin bone is starting to rotate some due to some of the removed hoof. But, he is still fighting, so we, and the vets, will too. We think he will return home to Shiloh next week as well, where we will allow him to enjoy a good horse life and keep him comfortable. Not the outcome we were all hoping for, but is the reality of what we do. As long as Arson can maintain a good life quality, we will do all we can to buy him time to enjoy it.
I know some people, who maybe haven't been out to the rescue, might think we go to extraordinary lengths for some of the horses. But, we take our responsibilities very seriously- if a horse's quality of life has diminished and it is no longer interested in eating or it's surroundings, and is in unremitting pain which cannot be controlled, then that horse will be euthanized. You know when a horse is ready to let go, when it's time to gently say good bye.
But, we also believe that just because a horse can't get around like it used to doesn't mean it's necessarily ready to be put down. Just because one of it's legs is crippled or it's joints are arthritic, doesn't mean that horse can't still enjoy a herd life with other quiet horses. We give pain meds as they are needed- not one of our crippled horses goes without Bute or Banamine if they are needed, some get them on a regular basis, and all of them are regularly injected with Legend which helps with their joints. These special needs horses are given plenty of shelter and a safe and bedded area to lay down. All of them (who are not already living in pasture) are allowed to roam freely on our 40 acres during the days to help keep their lives interesting and varied. It's not unusual to watch crippled and special needs horses wandering by, hanging out in the barn aisle, or laying in the sand piles.
A crippled hoof here, a blind eye there- that is what part of our rescue, and Shiloh, is about. We are very lucky that we are able to help these special needs horses in the time they have remaining.
Over the years, I have heard countless stories from other horse lovers who cared for their horses well beyond what others may feel is necessary. These stories are always told with tears in the eyes and love still in the hearts for these old riding companions, old competition partners, and old friends. I think we can all learn something from these special needs horses.
I know I have.