|Kizzy, looking good last year|
When we first got her they had around 200 horses on their books but in the last few years, partly because of the financial crisis, they have over 1500 and they do not have the manpower to keep checking up on them all. She was always a delight to care for and when they approached us last year to ask if we'd like to adopt her of course we were happy to do it. It was a massive operation for them because they had to contact all the previous owners to get their permission (except of course when they had been taken into their care because of ill-treatment as in Kizzy's case).
The last time we had a visit was over 4 years ago and it was suggested that it might be her time to pass away because we were having trouble keeping weight on her as she had no grinding teeth left and could no longer eat grass or hay, bless her.
Well, there was no way we were letting her go without a fight and so I devised a complicated feeding regime involving chopped and dried grass/chaff/multivitamins/oil/molasses and something called 'Fast Fibre' which I mixed up 4 times a day into a sloppy porridge. I discussed it with the vet who said that what often happens is that they go on to develop tummy issues because of the unnatural feeding routine. She also told me that not many people keep their horses to a ripe old age (ie when they can no longer ride them) which I found quite shocking as she was part of our family!
Thankfully this worked wonders for 3 more years until one morning when I went out to feed her and she refused her feed and looked rather listless. I wondered if it was some form of colic but she wasn't showing any of the other signs (lying down then getting up again, rolling around, sweating, staring at the water bucket etc). When she still hadn't touched her feed by midday I called the vet who came and gave her an injection which perked her up, she ate her feed and seemed much better. She also ate her evening meal.
The next morning though she looked much worse and I just knew in my heart that it was time. I phoned the vet and had a long conversation but we both knew instinctively what the outcome was going to be. I won't go into the details, suffice to say it was quick and painless. She was 37 years old which is a good age and I hope she had a good life with us.
Then of course there was Esther to worry about and I phoned around trying to find a companion for her but was unsuccessful. We decided to keep an eye on her for a few days and see if she was distressed at being alone and to our surprise she actually seemed glad to be on her own. I'd always believed that being herd animals they preferred the company of others. However, having spoken to several people about this I learned that not all horses do like company!
She's been on her own now for nearly 8 weeks and she seems perfectly happy. I know she's always been last in the pecking order at the stud she lived at previously and was always bullied by my eventing horse and indeed by Kizzy so it must suit her. We've developed a new routine and she certainly seems to be thriving. She's no spring chicken herself having celebrated her 28th birthday this year but I'm hoping she has a few more years with us.
There's lots to catch up with on the dementia front, knitting, sewing, crochet, gardening, walks, running/fund-raising....oh so many things!