When is it time?

I have already made mention in the social media of a horse that is cared for by one of my customers. A beautiful mare that actually belongs to a farmer but that has been tended to by my customer for some 16 years.
Like so many people, my customer was convinced that – certainly after such a long time – her horse was not capable of going barefoot. A nasty slip on ice a couple of years ago managed to convince her otherwise and so it came about that I started tending the mare’s hooves.
This horse is one of my textbook success stories – in a very short time she had developed the most beautiful sound hooves you could wish for – and she was still covering the same amount of ground as when she would grind four shoes down to razor blades in a matter of six weeks!
Sadly, however, arthritis was already starting to take its toll; a combined result of starting competitive racing on the trotting track much too young and after her premature retirement, remaining shod out of traditional ignorance. But my customer is devoted to ‘her’ horse and lavishes all care and attention that the horse needs.
However, the horse is not hers and although she feeds, grooms and turns out the horse every day, the farmer brings the horse back in every evening (traditional farmers ideas not easily changed).
Now comes the crunch. The farmer doesn’t want to lead a lame horse from the pasture down the road back to the stable. What would passers-by think? So she has to be put to pasture behind the farm where she is out of sight. Luckily she does have the company of another horse 24/24.
Nevertheless, the farmer is still not happy and feels that the time has come to put the horse out of her “misery”. A horse that still greets her carer every morning; a horse that still shines like a polished conker; a horse that admittedly cannot move around easily but once out in the pasture, makes her way around from hay pile to hay pile to water to hay pile etc. A horse that doesn’t just stand still all day; a horse that is alert to her environment; bright of eye…

No, it can’t be the end yet. After all, would we put father down because he lost the use of a leg in an operation? Would we put granny down because she suffers from severely deformed rheumatoid joints? Would we put the wife down because she is feeling overworked (don’t answer that one…!)

What do you think?

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