Today we wet over to the horses as usual, led them out of the filed to the stable area, tied em up and groomed all their hippo-ness off them. I tried out my fancy new ‘magic brush’ for de-muddying and found it to be excellent. I was so proud of my grooming efforts that I took photos:
awww, all wooly and silky in the wintery sun. Next we tacked up – but he seemed a bit uncomfortable, so i refitted the saddle incase I originally trapped some hairs / flesh or something. I put on the bridle with minimal effort and went to change into my riding togs when he dropped his head, his eyelids drooped and he struck what looked like a lamanitic pose followed by shaking front legs and I thought he was going to collapse. His eyes had just glazed over like no-one was home, but we walked him around a bit and he seemed fine….stood him a little longer to see how he was and again, head lowered, and this time his legs just went from under him and he landed his belly on the concrete. He laid dazed for a few seconds, tried to get up and couldnt, so I comforted him but stroking his face and then he hauled himself back up, very shakily onto his feet. We quickly untacked, rugged him up and coaxed him into the stable where, at least, the floor was softer. He was very out of character, eyes droopy, slow reactions,unsteady on his feet, but he started munching his hay, drank some water and had a wee. 30 mins later we swapped him to an outdoors rug and turned him out to see how he fared. To begin he trotted off fine, grazed and seemed back to normal but gradually he started to get wobbly on his feet, taking tentative steps, tripping more than usual and then just staring blankly into nothingness, gently shifting his weight while trying to stay balanced. I gave both the horses some treats and my friend called Caspers official owner and the vet, both of which believed it to be a case of narcolepsy or sleep depravation. I am so sad and gutted. Regardless if the cause is sleep related or otherwise, a horse that collapses can no longer safely be ridden so no more riding adventures with my silver friend. What comes next is far worse though…the decision of what to do with him, he is probably over 30, cannot be ridden, costs a lot to feed, has troublesome tootsies, needs rugging up in winter and sunscreen in summer and who wants to pay 4-times as much to keep a horse that is unridden than the one that is? Ultimately the owner will decide. We had a bit of a rocky start but myself and Casper have really bonded and I’ll be distraught if he has to be put down (though I know that day has to come eventually). He kept coming to me in the field while I was watching him, wanting a cuddle.
On a positive note, the latest report is that he looks positively chipper…so at least he’s comfortable and happy right now.