Thursday, April 15, 2010

Read 'em and weep

That's what our vet said when we came in to look at Sofie's x-rays. We chose to have the right hock and stifle done since that is her worst leg. The stifle is fine, but her right hock (and the left, too, I'm sure) have advanced arthritis. His opinion on the injections was that they probably just blew right through the joint and made no difference in her condition. We asked him what she could do, riding-wise, and his answer was "Not much." Walking around, maybe, but nothing more. I had ridden her twice in the last week or so, and she did fine at the walk but when she trotted a few steps (I picked up my reins abruptly to see if she would trot, so I could see how she was doing) she was reluctant and unhappy. She was content to walk around, except for one time when she spooked at the spooky corner in the outdoor arena, so she can probably be a walking trail horse.

We're putting her on a senior joint supplement that has good feedback from lots of people with badly arthritic older horses, and that should keep her comfortable. There are other horses at the barn I can ride who can trot and canter, so I'll be able to keep my riding up. I was already planning to do more rides with some of the other boarders, and just have fun, not worry so much about training. I really don't want another horse, I love Sofie so much and I don't care if she can't do too much. But it's still really hard to hear that, because I never intended to have a pet horse, and I really can't afford a pet horse. There are so many perfectly sound horses at my barn collecting dust because their owners don't ride, and now my horse is unsound for anything but walking undersaddle. It's really hard because I love training horses, and I can't train other people's horses because it just doesn't work. I've done it before, and I've invested a lot in someone else's horse and then ultimately had to walk away because I had no control over what happened to the horse, how it was taken care of, who rode it, anything. But I'm not about to let Sofie go, because I don't want to not have control over what happens to her, either. So I guess I'll just do what I can with Sofie, and maybe someday I'll have my dressage horse.


  1. That is really rough news. Would she take to being taught tricks? It might be a fun way to spend time together without having to worry about stressing her joints.

  2. Hi Meghan,

    I was really sorry to read this post. I've never commented, but I've really enjoyed reading about your progress with Sofie, and especially appreciated your forward thinking approach to training, and how focused you are on your horse (any horse you ride)'s condition and feelings. It's so respectful, and so refreshing. Anyway, I'm glad to hear that you will continue to enjoy Sofie and her unique character, and I fully believe that someday you will have a horse with whom you can really focus on dressage and more advanced training. And you will be all the better a trainer then, for having worked so intelligently with Sofie now! Sorry to go on, but good luck. I hope to continue hearing about you and Sofie.


  3. So sorry to hear this. You should do clicker training with her. I know when Indigo hurts herself I teach her tricks. Shes extremely food motivated.

  4. Thank you all so much. You don't know what this means to me. This will help give me motivation to keep the faith.