This is going to be one of my shorter posts because today, frankly, has been the day from hell which is only matched by last week and the horse show from hell. The details of how crappy my horse show was last week on Uiver would take far more energy to describe than I currently have at the moment. Lets just say that, anyone who has shown knows, there are just shows that are jinxed from the start and only get worse and then bad show management, a mediocre facility and discrepancies and inconsistencies in judging combine to make in nearly unbareable. That was my show last week and yes I am ranting a bit.
But I digress from bad to worse. My day started with a confrontation (which has been needing to happen for a long time) with my barn help over taking a very lackadaisical approach to her work. She has been doing less and less over the past several months and constantly complaining about too much work and one feigned pain or illness after another. After I laid down the law on the issue because, oh yes I am her boss and I pay her, she proceeded to quit. So anyone looking for a job in California? It seems that asking someone to actually do the job they are being paid for is far too much to ask. Go figure.
Then to just put more icing and such a lovely cake of a day, my beloved 30 year old lesson pony Tahoe, either collapsed or cast himself in his stall. After getting him up he was very ataxic and clearly disoriented and then collapsed a second time, almost as if he was fainting. When my vet got here she listened to his heart and told me that his heart murmur, which has been mild and we have been monitoring for years, was very pronounced. So did he have a heart attack, or a stroke, or a seizure of some kind?? She could not say for sure but after DMSO and fluids, he did stabilize and tonight seems to be better although a little weak.
So that brings to my title question - When to say when? Tahoe has been in very light work (only a few days a week) and ridden by a 7 year old girl in pony club. Sadly for her Tahoe's Pony Club days are over and he is now completely retired. For me, Tahoe's case is a clear decision, what happened today tells me it would not be fair to him or safe for him to be ridden again. But for other older horse's when do you say when?? I know I will be asking myself that question relatively soon with Pete who is now 23. Pete is sound and appears to enjoy his job as a schoolmaster, but he is so giving and so stoic of a horse I am not sure he will tell me when he should be retired unless something obvious like a lameness or illness happens.
A week ago yesterday, I had the unfortunate experience of witnessing a wonderful, 27 year old schoolmaster of a mare fall on a jump and fracture her stifle. Needless to say she had to be euthanized and both the young lady riding her and her owners were devastated. Before her tragic death, this mare was sound, spunky and happy to be working. Should she have been retired sooner? She did at least die doing the thing she loved the most in the world - jump, but how do you know when to make that decision. Some horses are so giving, and want to please so badly, I think it must be our responsibility to make that decision for them.
What do you all think?? Thanks for letting me vent, it has made me feel better. I look forward to your comments.