This morning I got to spend a little extra time with my beloved paint. He is special on a totally different level than any other horse I have been around, ridden or messed with. We grew up together and it has been very difficult for me to watch him age more every year.
My boy has been retired for several years, since a career ending hock injury. He gave me all he had for years, took me to heights a horse of his caliber should never have been. He has been my best friend and therapist since I was a kid. Growing up with him was the greatest blessing I could ever ask for.
Last week the vet was out to float teeth, and I asked her about him in terms of general health. The past couple years especially he has really gone down hill. I have done some research on my own, but there is no better person to talk to than a vet. I told her things I have noticed, including his pot belly and heavy weight despite cutting his ration. I wondered for a long time if he had a generative disease, Cushings, but they listed symptoms have not specifically fit him.
This morning he had an appointment to have blood drawn for a Cushings test. It will be about a week before I know anything. The trip reminded me of the old days though. I left him in his stall when I turned everyone else out, and he nickered. The old boy knew something was different about today. Just like on race days, when I offered him water before the trip he refused. He walked up to the trailer with me, stealing a mouthfull or two of grass as we walked up the bank to the driveway. As we approached thr trailer, he went in willingly ears up, waiting to see where he was going to journed to today.
When we got to the vet, he nickered and pawed, waiting to be unloaded and see where he was goign to be performing today. It is hard, unloading him and watching him look around only to realize he is not there to race the clock this time. The horses nickering were running in a pasture next to the parking lot, not tied to trailers waiting their turn to go. He was agreeable as the vet took blood and he willingly stepped back into the trailer even disappointed that there was no show, no crowd, no announcer.
It breaks my heart that that chapter in his life is over, he misses it as much as I do. I still race, but it is not the same without my spots. I have never been on another horse that competes or races like he does and today was just a reminder that as the days pass, thos memories stay with me. As he gets older and higher maintenance, I stive to give him the fulles and healthiest life I can. He has earned it. I have a new race partner, but I wish I could tell him that those ays are never forgotten, each horse I sit astirde must try to measure up to him, and I have not found one that comes close.