Let me begin by saying that this is a blog about my personal journey- NOT a medical journal.
I am in no way telling you what to do with your horse medically or otherwise. The information I am providing is solely from personal experience and/or articles, studies, websites, etc. I have tried my best to provide you with information from reputable sites, articles, studies, etc. That being said, If you do decide to try anything listed on this blog, PLEASE speak with your veterinarian and do additional research BEFORE administering, switching, or stopping a medical treatment(s).
I decided to write this blog as a way to share the struggle I had with my horse’s health.
Just because someone tells you to “put your horse down” does not mean that is necessarily what you should do. Please don’t misunderstand, I’m in no way promoting keeping a horse alive and in pain. What I am promoting is following your gut and seeking a second, third, fourth, etc opinion(s). If you have the ability to make your horse comfortable, while going through the diagnostics; hopefully, you will be able to come to a diagnosis and decide upon a treatment option.
The most difficult part for me, aside from seeing my friend in pain, was knowing what to do. I had people around me that not only knew Chance, but wanted what was best for him as well. The problem was that everyone had differing opinions and ideas; which ultimately began to cloud my own judgements.
- Was I able to manage his pain? Yes
- Was I able to give him quality of life while going through the diagnostics? Yes
- Would I be able to give him the time and attention he deserved from this point forward? Yes
- Would I decide to put him down if we were unable to come to any diagnostic conclusions or treatments and him with quality of life? Yes
I had to sit down and really think hard about why I did not want to put Chance down…would trying to figure out what was happening result in prolonging a life that was lacking any sort of quality? How far would and could I go diagnostically? If we came to a diagnosis could I afford the treatment? Would I know when to stop if the tests or treatments were too risky? I racked my brain for hours, days, weeks. I knew I had to make a decision, (and quickly) those around me provided me with compassion and support, but I needed to make a decision. Finally, Vet4 gave me some of the best advice.
He told me to, “ask Chance and he will tell you what to do.”
So, I asked my horse. I looked into his eyes and asked him- keep fighting? Or has he had enough? And I kid you not- he nodded when I asked if he wanted to keep fighting. I listened to my gut, which was telling me not to put him down, and I had to stand by that decision when others did not agree….and boy was that difficult… especially when I greatly respected the individuals who were not in complete agreement with me.
The excerpt from “Zen Mind. Zen Horse” by Allen J. Hamilton, MD, describes the connection between a human and a horse to perfection. That connection is what enables the owner to know what is best because they can feel it in their soul.
“Horses allow us to see ourselves in the moment and act as “divine mirrors”. Like meditation, working with horses forces the handler to make our inner voices quiet. Until we create inner silence- literally peace of mind- we are unable to transform our lives into more peaceful and purposeful ones.
Remember that a horse’s primary language is one of non verbals; they react to what lies in our hearts, not our heads. They respond to the energy or chi that we give off. Horses react to the energies and emotions surrounding him. They infuse emotional meaning into every body movement and pour this energy- chi- into every gesture and glance, lending them the nuances of tone, accent, and value.
Each horse is a prescription for engaging the universe. They serve as an algorithm for finding a more fulfilling life; maybe even a shot at peace and happiness. They are ready to coach you. And as you began to change, to work on the person you want to become, becomes heartfelt and sincere, then the horse will reveal his next great secret, his next great gift to you.
Horses connect with our souls- the part of us that links us to everything. Horses help us find those bonds. The connections become as real as the ground we walk on.”
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