Hi, I'm Ev. I'm training to become a horsewoman. These are my adventures and misadventures. I'm green as hell, but so far, so good. I'm now learning from Bo (and sometimes his wife DeDe) at D&D Ranch in Pope Valley. I am extremely lucky to have this opportunity, I feel quite blessed, and I feel that they, and horses, have really turned my life around.
Solomon is my baby- a big old flea bitten grey Appendix gelding who is very kind and way too smart! I love him so very much. He is a rescue and was meant to be co-owned rehabbed, and maybe rehomed to a good home. He turned out to be over 25 years old with injuries that ultimately do not make him riding sound, so he is retired.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

My sweet old boy.

Lately I have been a bit worried about Solly.

He seems to be a bit more fragile. He really seems to be aging a lot.

I have him on probiotics, which helps him not get the runs. His teeth were floated this spring. He's had all of his vaccinations. His feet get done. He gets wormed. He gets a big flake of alfalfa in the morning and a big flake of red oat in the evening. He gets LMF Senior. I am now paying to have a pan of senior feed given to him every day, instead of giving it to him as a treat. I'm hoping this will help him put on weight.

He's losing condition in his topline especially. He's never had a good one, but lately it has gotten thinner. I do work him in the roundpen whenever I come up to see him, but I cannot afford to do the three hours of driving plus bridge toll more than once a week or so now. :(

He is still a very good boy, however. Loving, happy to see me, and prone to getting excited when he spies me coming up the drive. He is a good boy in the roundpen, doing everything I ask of him.

I admit that when I got him, I didn't really understand the scope of the responsibility I was taking on. I was hoping someone would go in on his care with me, but that ended up not happening. Then I hoped (sort of, I admit that I love him and it would be hard to let go) that I could rehabilitate him and find him a good home as a riding horse, but he turned out to be much much older than I was told he was, and ultimately not riding sound. I thought I had a good solid emergency vet fund, but he burned through that in the first year.

I've given him two really really good years. He is a happy boy and his life is better than I dreamed that it could be. I took him from horse hell to horse heaven. I am proud of that.

But I'm worried now. He got way too thin last winter. Maybe a blanket would make it okay this coming winter, maybe not. I don't like how much harder it is to keep weight on him this summer. I worry about how he will do when it starts to get cold.

It's the part of bonding that people don't like to talk about. When you establish so much love and trust. And you have this being who depends on you, utterly. And then things start to decline. You can sense it. And you feel so helpless. Because you can take really good care of them, you can love them and feed them and do everything in your power to keep them safe, but you can't stop time from passing and you can't stop any living thing from getting old.

I knew that by buying him, I would become responsible for his life. I knew that I was on SSDI and that I might never get "better" from the mental illness I have. I knew this, but I knew if I didn't get him out of there, he would die, and badly. He taught me to walk again. He got me to leave the house when I was getting close to not being able to any more. He gave me a reason to fight. A reason to live. He saved my life. I had to save his.

Maybe I messed up. He's had two good years but I don't know how to give him two more. I wish I could make myself all better. I wish he was as young as the people who I rescued him from claimed he was. I wish I'd known enough about horses to see that he was working hard to hide the pain in his back and his joints. But I don't think I could have walked away from him and left him to his fate even if I did know those things.

I'll be frank and tell you, I have way less income than I did before. My parents helped a bit. They've retired now. I've spent thousands on keeping him safe and keeping him well. I've sacrificed a lot. I know you might look at me and say "she's never missed a meal" but I have. I haven't been able to buy myself new pants for a year, though I've lost 50 pounds. I don't begrudge him for any of that. He is worth it. He is worth sacrificing a lot more for. But I don't know what to do.

Solomon is retired, and he would not hold up to work. I don't think it would even be a good idea to try to get him to pull a cart at this point. He is old- at least 25, maybe 28 or older. Maybe he looks good for being so old, maybe not. Who knows what his breed really is. Who knows what his history really is. There doesn't seem to be anyone who used to own him looking for him. And there are so many horses out there needing homes that are companion-only.

Some people do say that you should put an old horse like him down if you aren't sure you can take care of him any more. And if it comes to that... I don't know how I could rehome him, given his age and health, and ensure his safety. I don't know how I could be sure he would not get stuck on a double-decker to Mexico. I promised him that I would do everything in my power to keep him safe and make sure he would never suffer like that.

When his body can no longer contain his spark, his joy, and his dignity, I will do what I have to do. I will not force him to hang on when he's suffering badly. That is not mercy. It would be selfish of me. Cruel.

But I don't think he's there yet. I think he still enjoys his life. I think he is still happy. I think he still wants to live.

Solomon is a good and kind and noble beast, he is wise and loving and his heart is great. He has seen and suffered so much, but still he trusts. Still he cares for others, horses and humans both.

A few weeks ago, I had a long talk with Bo about Solomon's future. About how he is getting old and will need more care. How he might have to be put down, and I should be prepared for that.

I went into the pasture where he lives, and I stared into his eyes. I tried to imagine putting him down because I couldn't afford to care for him any more. I started to cry, and he nickered softly to me, wrapping his neck around me, holding me up against his mane, blowing his warm breath on me and nuzzling me, just like he always has when I've been in pain. Just like he always has when I have felt the panic well up, felt a flashback coming, felt the world start to disappear. He has always protected me, and tried to comfort me, as much as he can. He has done more for me than any psychologist ever has. He has helped me old on to the last vestiges of my sanity. He has given me strength. And I don't want to fail him. I feel like I am failing him. He deserves better.

He deserves everything good in this world, because he is everything good in this world.

So I ask you, humbly, if any of you would be willing to sponsor him. I know it's asking a lot. I know times are hard right now. I know there are good reasons to tear me down for asking. I know there are so many horses in need. I know I am far, far, far from perfect, and I've messed up on a lot of things in my life. I'm not asking for me. I'm asking for him. If you want to but don't know me from Adam and aren't sure that you trust me, let me know if there's any way I can reassure you. Let me know if there's any way I could prove that everything went directly to him.

I have $57 a month to live off of after Solomon's expenses now, and I don't care. I just want him to be okay. I just want the last of his life to be good and happy. If you can help him, please, please do. I will give him everything I have. I just don't have enough to give. Maybe together we can give him what he needs though?

He is a light shining in the world, and he isn't ready to go yet.

If you can think of anything, or do anything... I'm beloved_lokisdottir on yahoo. That's my e-mail. If you want to flame me, I guess you can do that too. But if anyone can help him, it will be worth it.

Thank you for your time.


Anonymous said...

Aww honey, I'm sorry. I will see what I can do.

Amanda said...

I have something to say about this. LOL I just don't have time to say it right now! I will be back!

Amanda said...


I don't know how much experience you have with putting animals down... I have gained a lot over the last couple of years. There is no shame in not having enough money. Consider how he would live if he did not have all of the support you provide him. Would he still want to stay?

I think there is nothing wrong with giving an animal a dignified end even if it is a little early. I would rather be three years too early than three seconds too late - but you'll know. Solomon is not going to cross over Rainbow Bridge thinking "that bitch, I wasn't ready to go!" - he will be thankful for the kindness and compassion you showed him and the fun the two of you had together.

I don't know if you are emotionally in a position to rationalize that. I think you depend on Solomon (I am not judging, I am just saying!), and I know exactly what that is like... I am here to tell you now that it is a MUCH MUCH easier process if you can schedule a date, enjoy your time with him and then let him go, and have it planned, than having to call the vet and put him down because he can't get up, etc.

Just remember that animals don't think "My back hurts, but at least I am still alive!" - they don't rationalize like that. I have run the gamut from thinking that putting an animal down is awful and terrible and I never want to do it to realizing that those feelings that *I* feel about putting animals down are reflections of MY desires and not always what is best for the animal.

Since 2006, I have lost 5 companion critters, including Angel who I could not get the vet back in time to euthanize, two dogs that I scheduled and planned to have put down, a dog that I lost in the course of a few hours of showing symptoms of internal bleeding (and I ended up sitting in a waiting room at a vet while my german shepherd vomited clear fluid SIX TIMES in forty five minutes, by the end, I was just BEGGING HIM to just put her down and I would sign the paperwork afterwards), and then a mare I had to have the decision to have put down because she severed both rear tendons. I felt the best about the two dogs - I settled it with them - they were ready to go... I could have let them go another six months on medications and treatments, but I didn't - not because I didn't have the money or didn't feel they were worth it, but because it was better to give them a dignified end before it got to the point where my hand was forced.

Ultimately, you are the only one who can make this decision. Solomon will forgive you. The internet community won't judge you. Bo will still want you around. I think it is a matter of you, now.

That's just my two cents' worth.

Anonymous said...

Your horse looks pretty good,how old is he? Does he get out in the pasture with other horses or ponies? Sometimes herd animals just need the security of the herd to help them feel better.Have you gone on-line and asked a vet for his/her opinion, maybe a blood test/urine test might reveal any problems your horse might have.The web site Horse.com is a good site to start with. I had a horse who lived until 30 years,one night he went to sleep and passed away. In the morning I found him,he looked just like he was sleeping, the vet said he just died in his sleep. I hope everything works out for you and your horse.

Evergrey said...

Thank you!

Amada, I read what you said, and thought I responded. I will be sure to put him down before he starts to suffer badly. But not yet. He has time left...

Solomon lives in a pasture and almost always has a buddy with him. There are a couple of horses that he has bonded with and Bo and DeDe always make sure to build happy herds.

If I can, I'll have a vet do some testing. But I'm hoping that when I get to the ranch today, I'll find that Sol has gained some weight.