BY DEBORAH JANE NICHOLAS
I slowed my car and carefully drove onto the grass bank as there wasn’t a safe place to park on the narrow country lane. The moment I spotted the horse I could tell something was wrong. I wondered how many drivers had passed this location and either didn’t spot the problem or didn’t care. I slowly approached the horse while uttering soothing words, the words didn’t matter, perhaps I was just trying to calm myself. The animal was surrounded by at least 2 days’ worth of manure, and this angered me. I reached down the leg and tried to remove the fencing wire that was wrapped several times around the fetlock. But one pair of hands wasn’t enough. I needed someone to stop the horse from pulling back from pain. I envisioned the horse damaging itself further, probably catastrophically. I called the fire-brigade and told them to leave the sirens off.
Retirement is not always such a cut and dry decision, at least not in my experience. At the age of 16, my mare was diagnosed with desmitis of the fetlock annular ligament. While speaking to my own vet I also researched veterinary reports on the subject. The choices were either an operation to cut the ligament or to retire the horse completely.
I chose neither.
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