And with that, I’m back down to one horse again.
Tomorrow Ryon heads south to central Texas for a 30-day trial period, during which I hope he behaves like the saint he is. My sweet boy is going to be used in walk-trot lessons three times a week at a new barn near Austin. He’s been off regular work for over nine months now and what we’ve learned is he needs regular exercise to keep his joints fluid. I’m sure his pasture mate Blackjack will miss him dearly but I firmly believe that it’s the better home for him right now. If he passes the trial period, we may move into long-term lease or a purchase option (gulp).
To be honest, I’ve been wrestling with this decision for the last year. Last fall when we realized Ryon wouldn’t be able to jump anymore due to his ringbone, I had to take a very hard look at his quality of life going forward. Although my current barn has access to a trail system, it is very seldomly used. The barn is mainly a competitive, commercial barn with very little turn out and zero pasture. All of the horses are in a program of some sort, and it was quickly apparent that although it would be functional for Ryon, it wouldn’t be optimal for him. We decided to move him off property to pasture to give him some room to stretch his legs, rest, and recover.
Ideally, either my trainer or I would have our own property where he could hang out in the middle of the action, be hacked out on the flat during the week, and used for trail rides on the weekends. Ryon turns 13 this month and still has many years of life left. Unfortunately, neither my trainer nor I have a barn or property with this type of set up. We both live smack dab in the middle of the city of Dallas, and our horses are city horses, unphased by sirens, building construction, gunshots (true story), or screaming pedestrians (also true story). I am hopeful that someday this situation will change but unfortunately, that’s not the case in the near-term. For those of us who have had to make this type of decision, it sucks - which is as plainly as I can put it.
I am hopeful that this is the correct decision for Ryon. I firmly believe that his new caregiver will treat him very well. This is the softest landing spot that I have been able to find for my first horse and I’m grateful to be able to give him this chance. Behave yourself, Ryon and bon voyage!