Usually I hold it together pretty well. Losing animals is never easy but some losses are harder to grasp than others. Jackson isn't gone yet, don't worry, but his days are numbered and whenever I am faced with "it might be now" -- well, I don't do so hot.
In January of 2012, two years ago, after months where Jackson was lame more than he was sound our vet took some x-rays to see if we could see what was causing the pain. Sure enough, the coffin bone showed rotation. It was official... Jackson had a terminal condition. Previous to the diagnosis, we had thought he was having a series of abscesses. They never broke and the lameness would eventually dissipate; sometimes after days and sometimes after weeks. I soaked his feet and packed his hoof full of epsom salt poultices; but the problem wasn't abscesses. We tried pads and special shoes but nothing worked for long. I was an emotional wreck then, too.
In February 2012, after a 10 day acute flare up, our farrier told me that Jackson could go at anytime; that he was beyond repair. I didn't put him down but I did retire him. I told Jackson that it was up to him; that he needed to tell me when he was ready; that he could live as long as he was pasture sound. In April, I had his shoes pulled and, amazingly, he did better barefoot. His feet which had always been thin and soft got nice and hard. He grew out new hoof which was strong and his "off" days decreased. He still had episodes here and there but other than a severe episode in December 2012, he was only off when turning.
2013 was a very good year for Jackson. I was lulled into thinking he was going to be fine forever. He survived the ten hour trailer ride up here, walking off the trailer with no problem. He has been loving life in the oak pasture with Flash; maybe loving it too much. Lately, he has taken to cantering up from the far end for breakfast and I've seen him playing hard -- bucking and rearing and carrying on. He felt good and it made me incredibly happy to watch his antics. He is only ten, afterall.
I'm guessing all those antics caused concussion on the coffin bone. This has been by far the worst I've seen him. The vet is coming on Friday to take x-rays. If the coffin bone has rotated further, I'll put an end to his pain. I've been working my way to that decision since Monday; dancing close and then running backwards from the thought. I spent much of today fighting tears and not always winning that battle. I'm exhausted. Today he was slightly improved. He met me at the gate for his bute and cookies. Brett said he didn't lay down except to take a mid-day nap. He's still head bobbing lame, but he can walk. Now, it's up to the x-rays.