So I came back from WEG to some very unfortunate news.
My QH, Tank, the now retired chestnut hero who taught me so much during my formative years as a rider, has finally reached a point where his diminishing quality of life necessitates our making the choice to put him down. He's pushing 30 years old, and I knew that I would eventually get the call telling me that the challenges of old age had become more than he could handle. That call came this week, because it now appears he no longer has the capability to chew any sort of roughage, grass or grain. To keep him alive would mean feeding him several times a day on soft bran mash, and even that would only delay the inevitable. He is losing weight, losing his spark, and now it's time to make the decision to give him his final peaceful rest.
Knowing that my old companion was able to happily wile away his golden years on expansive Kentucky pastures, and enjoy a retirement befitting the many valuable years of service that he provided as my show horse, my friend and my patient teacher, does help to make this decision easier. We believe it's undoubtedly best to let him go now, gently, rather than wait for him to be injured, get sick, or suffer some other sort of inglorious experience before the end. We are debating all of those strange questions such as where and how will it be done, will he be buried or simply taken away, and do we even want to know the exact day it happens. My family and I are out of state, and so we won't be able to be there when the vet finally arrives. Thankfully our good friend, who has provided Tank's retirement care these past few years, will stand in to pet his nose that final time and see him safely away.
It's the end of an era for me too. Tank was my last tether to the years that I spent as a horse obsessed teen, more concerned with getting to the barn than getting my driver's license or dating silly boys. And so I wish him a fond farewell, and hope that wherever he goes, the pastures are green, the creeks are clear, and there are plenty of sassy mares to keep him company.
XOXO Tank buddy. You will be missed.