How did I manage to catch her with her tongue out? Haha, not in a million years could I take a photo so perfect. I take a ton of photos of my girl, maybe it was bound to happen. I wanted to tell my story about my horse as we have been through so much together. She has the hugest heart and will do just about anything to please. She’s an alpha mare, strong-minded and a leader. She is not afraid to be alone if trail riding by myself, not much ruffles her feathers. She’s a steady stead, an amazing mare and in my eyes my best friend!
I bought this beautiful bay roan as she was just turning two, eleven years ago. I’ve always wanted to break and train a young horse so two was the perfect age. I did a lot of ground work and waited until the following year to get things going under saddle. She was a perfect angel to break to ride, actually acting rather stubborn instead of sensitive and crazy. It was like she had peanut butter on her feet as I tried to get her to walk with me on her back. I had help and she was led with me astride until she got use to my weight and would walk more willingly. She was a quick learner and very trusting. She was so fun to train and did great with the walk, trot and canter English style as that’s my background and training. After a few years she got this on again off again limp on her right back leg.
I have used a few different vets over the years. I believe it’s not a bad idea to have a working rapport with several vets. Different opinions or second opinions are huge and if in an emergency I’ve actually called three different vets using the one that called me back first. I do have favorites and settled with one of the vets that is an excellent diagnostician with legs. She was misdiagnosed the first time around with a different vet who did not diagnose her problem and after another year and a half I found out she had broken her stifle. It was a hairline fracture with a small bone chip, my vet’s face upon discovery said it all, as he scratched his chin, shaking his head and I just stared at him thinking the worse. (My vet and I were shocked she had a broken bone as she did not present with such lameness to warrant such a discovery!)
Most broken bones with a thousand pound animal do not mix. I didn’t look up the statistics of survivability but my vet was thinking of euthanizing, but he shook his head and said she’s not very lame for a broken stifle. She really didn’t limp much but had trouble pushing herself up after rolling over on that bad stifle. That’s where I could really see her pain. So we treat her symptoms with Equoxx and the best medicine is exercise as now she is arthritic as the bones fuse and calcium deposits form. I turn her out often as she freely can trot and canter in the arena. I ride her but only walking all over the trails to keep her in shape and the blood flowing. She LOVES each ride and as long as she is willing I know her pain is in control.
It’s funny how our paths had crossed. I bought her from a young girl who wanted a horse. She saved her paper route money and her Dad bought this baby horse. To young to ride and not handled much from a pasture, she was a PMU rescue baby. Part draft, quarter horse and thoroughbred – she was a very quiet lovable horse. She LOVES people, kids, and her owner did not know a single thing about horses. Within a year the girl lost interest as she couldn’t ride her so she was put up for sale. My project began.
I had such lofty goals! Maybe she could be a hunter, but no she really isn’t built nor moves like a hunter. As her training improved I thought of endurance riding, but she’s really too heavy for that sport. Maybe trail course shows? I had many ideas always on my mind. As a rider you always strive for a goal, something to work on as you train. But as the years past and my incredibly busy schedule interfered with what horse showing I was entertaining, her lameness just washed all those dreams away.
I feel truly lucky to be able to still ride her even though it’s only at a walk all over town. I don’t know how many years she will last as I believe one day her legs will eventually just not be able to keep her moving. I feel confident we both will know when that time comes. My best friend helped me teach her to give kisses with horse treats. She gently takes her nose and puts it out just shy of my mouth for kisses. So adorable, treats will be given and she is so gentle and kind. Mares can be so amazing. I have always given mares a bad rap but a good mare with a great disposition is so different from owning a gelding. I have both today, my gelding is quite the character with his silly faces. But he can nip. I’d never trust him with nose kissing! He’s a silly boy. My girl keeps him in place.
If there was a moral to the story, I wish I had a good one. We do not know how this injury happened, and it really doesn’t matter since we have to look forward and keep her happy. I’m thankful I can be satisfied with “just a trail horse” as we can’t ever compete, not even a trail course. She has a slight limp at the walk mostly a short stride so if you didn’t know you may not notice. The winters are harder for her but am hoping the pain meds will suffice. I’ll keep her forever and really I am too busy to consider showing, and now I’m healing from my injury. We are hooked at the hip Miss Chloe and I, as she puts a huge smile on my face. As I walk into the barn each day she starts the whinny from afar recognizing me, and my gelding will neigh right behind her! Really, they both melt my heart. ❤
Note: I rarely ride English any more as English is the most uncomfortable saddle for trails. Chloe is wearing the first western saddle I’ve ever owned. It’s a Circle Y flex-tree so light and easy to use. So comfy with my sheepskin seat saver. It’s well broken in, a perfect trail saddle! This is a day with my trail buddies, so kind they took a photo of Miss Chloe and I – I don’t have many riding photos!