Saturday, October 3, 2009

Cool Saturday morning

I was laying in bed thinking I had another hour.....it was still sort of dark out there....then I grabbed my glasses and looked at the clock just to make sure. YIKES~ it was 7:55am. Up and out of bed, pulled my clothes on and a jacket, grabbed some coffee and out the door.

There were already volunteers at the barn.........Maia, Kelsey and Meghan. So we began the morning feeding. It goes fast with four people. Two flakes of hay for every horse except Beaver and Sully......then it is time for grain. All horses are impatient and whinnying, stomping and making faces at each other.

I noticed that when Hamilton came into his stall he was not feeling well. He was shivering and holding his head to the side. I had Maia heat some water while I blanketed him....then I put another blanket on him. I really had not started blanketed everyone just yet because it has not been THAT cold out....but I guess Hammy must have layed down outside and then had some trouble getting up. The cold ground will suck the heat right out of them. Hammy has bad stifles which make it harder for him to get up and down.
Maia brought the hot water and I made his grain breakfast with it. He ate all of it but would not touch the hay. He had also not eaten last night's hay. Hmmm. I kept an eye on him as we cleaned paddocks and replaced some fence posts. He appeared to be slightly colicky after about 45 minutes, so I gave him some banamine and turned him out in the arena. He walked around, did not roll but did kick out a few times. We kept an eye on him and continued our work. The sun came out for a while, so I took one blanket off of him and he napped in the sun for a while.
The volunteers left and I continued on with a few things around the barn and kept my eye on Hammy.
He drank a little water, then nosed his food bucket........then nibbled at some hay while standing in his stall. He also pooped. I checked his gumline color.......he is a little pale. He is not in distress. His heartbeat is not elevated. He is not kicking at his tummy........but he does not feel well. I am sure his jaw is giving him pain. He may have bumped it while he was laying down......it looks slighty swollen.
Decisions.......decisions.......what is best for Hammy? This is left up to me, his caretaker to make good decisions on his behalf. It is hard. It is emotional. You wish someone else would make the call...but you know that you must do the right thing for the horse.
I do not live at the property although I go there before work and after work. My elderly mother lives there and she keeps a fairly good eye on them, but cannot see the back of the barn area. This leaves a large gap of time for the horses to be left alone. This means that if Hammy cannot get up by himself, he could lay there for 8 hours. This is not a good scenario. I must also say, that even if I were there, he is a big horse and it would be hard for me to help him up. I cannot bear the thought of him laying on cold ground again. I don't want a tragedy. I don't want hysteria. I don't want struggling.
I know what the right thing is.
I will have Hammy humanely euthanized this week so he will not suffer an unkind winter with difficulty rising and with jaw pain that we cannot remedy.
I will think that we gave him a good summer, lots of food, lots of love and then showed him one final act of kindness.

1 comment:

jrosey said...

I don't know Hammy's full story, but obvoiusly he has been well cared for and loved. Such a hard decision to make, but I'm sure you know in your heart it's the right one. Good luck.