Coping with my horse’s ageing

Week 8 is the schools’ skiing holiday in southern Finland. Quintana came to us during the skiing holiday week soon to be twelve years ago. She turns twenty in March. This thought has haunted me for quite a while already. Every time someone posts on Facebook that their dog, cat or horse has died tears run down my cheeks. I feel sorry for their loss as I know how it feels, having lost Luna and Cadeau de Luna. But I also cry in anticipation that the day will inevitably come when I’ll have to let go of Quinny.

Most people are surprised when I tell Quinny’s age and many people tell me she doesn’t look twenty, but the reality is that she has big, permanent problems with her body. Why, is a subject for another blog post, but a veterinarian made a mistake that Quinny lives with for the rest of her life. She’s checked and cared for by a physiotherapist every weekend and I plan our program for the coming week based on the physiotherapist’s findings. A veterinarian and chiropractor examines and treats her every three months or if some concerns arise, acutely.

Everybody tells me I have to stop worrying and just enjoy each day that she is well. I know, I know, I know, and I do so very much enjoy working with her, but my mind works so that while I’m overjoyed after every good ride, I’m capable of simultaneously being concerned for her well-being.

Quinny will be with me for as long as she feels well but about a year ago a seed took root and started growing in my mind that I should start looking for a younger horse to take some of the load off Quinny. My plan was to buy an eight to ten-year-old junior show-jumper, a school master, in the beginning of the summer, so that we would have time to get well acquainted with each other during the summer time when I have less work pressure.

I was studying to become a MinD equine assisted group facilitator and since I couldn’t be sure that Quinny would be a suitable horse to work with me, I started working from the ground on a weekly basis with two other horses at our stable in November a year ago. By mid-May I understood that in my current profession, there is just no way I can take care of two horses every day. The horses would not get attended how I want my horses to be attended and I would be exhausted.

During this time, I had visited Morgado Lusitano three times. I had had the opportunity at lunch and dinner times to listen to ladies who had purchased a horse from Morgado Lusitano and had the horse in training there at that time or had already taken their horse to their home country.

I started thinking – I have already made two wrong purchases: Luna was found to have a back injury eight months after she came to us and with Quintana, we just bought the former owner’s problems. Don’t get me wrong, both Luna and Quintana are extremely important to me. Both had just one owner before us. Luna had been sold to a twelve-year-old girl when Luna was five and Quinny was sold to an owner who gave her to a university student to ride when she was five. At age five a horse’s training is nowhere near ready and the horse should have a rider who has the skills to continue the training. I also took a foal from Luna, who unfortunately died when he was one year and ten months old. The entire foaling process was constant stress when you’re going through it the first time.

So Morgado Lusitano started to look like a possible option. There are so many beautiful stallions of their own breeding in their program, that the chances of getting a fine horse look great. The trainers are true professionals and from the way the horses in the program work, I’m sure I couldn’t get a better trained horse from anywhere. The horse would stay in Portugal until the trainer and I both agree that he is ready to come home with me. I could plan to go for a long weekend every month but if I cannot arrange it, I know the horse is in the best possible hands. Of course, accidents can happen there also, the horse can get sick and so on but then at least I will know exactly what happened and what issue I need to work with. The visits to Morgado Lusitano would give me some me-time and a break from my busy life to gather strength for the next four weeks until my next visit.

Seriously? Until three years ago, I couldn’t find time to make my way to Morgado Lusitano and now I’m thinking about going for a weekend every month. Is this realistic?