Let’s Be Honest.

I don’t really know how to start this post, because it sucks, so I guess I’ll just… start.

We put Eli down about a month ago.

His body condition had been on a bit of a decline since we turned him out, which I expected… you take a fit OTTB whose every nutritional and physical need had been met consistently for two years, and you’re going to get a loss of muscle and weight. He seemed happy though, to just be existing. I’d walk out to see him and he’d meander over and hang for a bit before wandering off to go much grass with a friend. We upped his calories and let him be.

Then I got a text from the barn owner that he had put one of the barn workers in the hospital. He’d charged her and she ended up with stiches.

To me, a horse that charges with the intent of doing harm isn’t allowed to exist on my payroll. Period.

He’d had a scheduled dental appointment that following Monday and I called the office, explained the situation, and said I wanted to change it to a euth. They were more than supportive of the decision.

I sat on the choice all weekend, and waffled back and forth to Zach and my best friend Kelli… I texted and talked to several other industry professionals whom I trust explicitly. I don’t make a decision like that easily and it’s safe to say that Eli and I have a pretty thick history at this point. I’ve turned all the stones, done the injections, the ulcer treatments. We’ve stuck needles, taken blood, done rads, and chiropracted. We’ve taken the lessons, fed the supplements, and played with tack.

I decided on Sunday night that I wanted the vet to go over him one more time, before I made a decision that final so when she showed up Monday morning she agreed to go over him. It was a quick exam. He was pushy, rude, screaming, anxious, and hardly willing to work with us. We were seeing a new vet to the practice so I was hoping that maybe she would come at him with some new insight. She suggested that maybe he had some issues during castration and was still producing some sort of testosterone that’s made him such a challenge. The solution to that was to draw a hormonal panel, wait for the results, and if our suspicions were correct send him to a vet hospital for exploratory abdominal surgery. Stall rest is NOT an option for this horse. We dealt with it when he cut his knee is it was the most dangerous 7 weeks of my relationship with him, and the turning point for the downhill slide of his personality.

With the support from the vet, and the barn owner, we decided to go through with the original plan and call it.

To say that I’m absolutely shattered is an understatement. We had plans, and goals. I had hopes and dreams. This industry can be so tough.

I’m forever grateful for the support of Jill, and Kelli, and Zach, and Steph, and Tyler and the entire team at Balanced Rhythms. Nobody has questioned me, or made me feel like a terrible person. There’s always more that could have been done, but I think part of being a horseman is knowing when enough is enough. I’ll be forever grateful that they’ve all understood that, and were unwavering in their support of my decision.

I’m finally feeling like I can start getting back out and am hoping that I can get Abby boot camped so that we can have a fun winter with Kelli and Dusty.

Rest easy, big guy. I’ll forever miss you. Thank you for teaching me so much.

Empire Image: May 18, 2013 – September 14, 2020

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