We had a horse at the barn that had suffered a significant and ultimately "unhealable" injury. His accident happened three years ago and we have never really known what happened. We suspect that another horse stomped on the outside wall of one of this horse's front hooves.
We really tried to help this horse but the hoof never grew out properly. In the injury process, he had blown out the whole side of his hoof, leaving nothing to support the laminae. This, in turn, caused the coffin bone to severely rotate and you get the picture....
We always took care of this horse as if he were still showing. Grooming, clipping and all the good basic care and husbandry that entails. The horse was brave. He had a big heart - and so did his owner Jessica. Every attempt was made to keep his quality of life to as high a standard as possible but unfortunately, this brave horse's condition continued to deteriorate and he also began to founder in his good front hoof too.
Even with the best of care we couldn't get him stabilized, so then what? This is the really hard part of horsemanship. To find the right thing for a struggling horse. Everyone has to find their own way through this dark and difficult valley. No one wants to see an animal suffer and when it is hopeless, it seems to me the most humane answer is euthanasia. Horses in the wild do not die quiet, easy deaths - make no mistake, there is no such thing in the world.
So, with the advice of our veterinarians, farriers and me, Jessica made the brave decision to "put this horse down". It was the right thing but for her and everyone who knew this horse, the hard thing. When people truly love and respect an animal (his beauty, athletisism, talent), this is the kindest gift and ultimately the most selfless act.
Talk to you next week, JD.