Sometimes I apparently go for a month without making a post, and then now, here are two in a couple days. I actually forgot to post this earlier.
Prior to my 1 year celebration of freedom, I went out to the annual corn maze drive. I’ve gone 3 years straight, and drove a different horse each time! I took Chewbacca the first time, Jesse last year, and Luke this year! LOL! I did not plan that. Just how it worked out. So while Chewie and Jesse have experienced the corn maze once, Luke has done it three times.
Luke drew in a lot of compliments for his behavior and looks and it is hard to believe that sometime in 2017 (don’t know when he was born), he will turn 20 (ish). TWENTY!
All of my horses are getting up there in age, but Luke was called my “go-to horse” at the corn maze. Really, I never thought of that. Technically, I’ve owned him the longest (Jan. 2017 will make 10 years), and he’s certainly got the most miles on him, but Chewbacca and Jesse are also my ‘go-to’ horses.
Each one of the three is trained the same, broke the same, experienced the same. While Luke has more miles on him, the other two still have hundreds of miles and have hauled everywhere and been put into every kind of situation I can come up with to put them in. I would not hesitate to hitch up any of them and take them where I want.
The only reason Jesse didn’t go to the corn maze this year, besides the fact that I can only haul & drive one horse at a time, is that his cart got a flat tire and I need to fix it.
Obviously Chewbacca is retired due to lameness and is, sadly, falling apart on me. At only 17 years old, I am torn over making an extremely difficult (and permanent) decision when it comes to his well being. He has been losing a dramatic amount of weight since August, and his lameness sometimes gets the better of him. I see him dragging his toes more and more often, watching his bad leg collapse out from under him once in a while, and it also stocks up.
This is a recent photo of him, just earlier in November. He looks “ok” I think because his hair is all frizzed out for winter. He is worriedly thin, and my maintenance and support and supplements are no longer helping him through this. His left hind leg, in this photo, though perhaps hard to tell, is also badly stocked up. It goes up, and it goes down. Sometimes he’s too lame to even walk from one end of the paddock to the other, sometimes he is so jazzed up he speeds around like a 2 year old, kicking up his heels. It’s very give and take right now, but I am worried and alarmed.
In addition, I see him carry himself differently now, and between his altered gait and loss of muscle tone and weight, he just looks terrible and I am highly concerned. He has dropped weight twice on me in the past, but never to this degree and he has always bounced back within 2 months. I’ve been trying for 3 months now, and I am going to see what happens at the end of November.
Just a few days ago, while letting them run loose on the farm (something I do with them from time to time so they can eat grass in the front yard – don’t worry, it’s all fenced, and they know the routine), I called them back down to the barn. I’ve been working on getting them to come when called from progressively farther distances. Now, I can be clear across the farm and call them and they will come. So nice! Such good boys 🙂
Anyway, Luke came running and Chewbacca simply could not keep up. He tried trotting and sort of switched into a tr-canter and slipped when his leg couldn’t do the job. I noticed him get visibly frustrated at that. I know his nuances and in a flicker of a moment, he was noticeably frustrated that he could not get to me in pace with Luke.
I hate to say that Chewbacca is just falling apart on me, but he is. I hate to see this happening to a young horse (I consider 17 young…), but his legs are slowly getting worse.
And while Chewbacca is only 17, and Luke is 19 – he isn’t even my oldest! Dixie, who was foaled in June, is currently 21!!! In 2017, she will be 22!!! Holy cow! Twenty – two! Little ragamuffin (Dixie is the grullo, Jesse is the black) hasn’t done anything in a few years. She just hangs out. She’s a good girl, and definitely the Queen of the Barn, no doubt.
Jesse is somewhere between 14-16. We’re not really sure. He does have papers, but they were lost. But we think, he was born in 2001 or 2002.
Each and every one of them has been there done that, with the exception of Dixie. She hasn’t done much, and I wouldn’t trust her off the farm. She’s been a great driving pony for kids who aren’t terribly demanding, but her trail & road etiquette is horrific, and she simply isn’t worth the fight or the risks to life and limb. So, she gets to hang out, and despite being grullo in color, she is turning gray with age!
I have been very blessed to keep these horses in my life, and it has not always been easy to maintain them, or afford them. (I don’t own Jesse…). But I have been very very lucky to have such wonderful horses to work with and I owe them all the best I can provide.
They are all my go-to horses.