Tuesday, July 21, 2009

When is the right time?

When I was young, I knew that I wanted to be a horse trainer. Of course, being a young lad, there were other things that I thought I wanted to do, but there, always in the back of my mind was the real desire to have a career in the horse industry. I am known to be anal about the way that the horses are trained because, like us, I want them to enjoy what they are doing.

The real reason that I wanted to be a horse trainer was so that I could have a career with animals that I truly love. And I always focused on learning as much as I can so I can be the best trainer possible.

But, there is a side to this job that I truly hate. And that is losing our beloved animals that have given us so much more than we can ever return to them.

Tomorrow is going to be a very difficult day in the Rotten Household, as we have to say good bye to two very dear friends that have been a part of our family. Pi and Dooley, our two ponies are going to be put down.

Pi is losing the a battle with age related soundness issues and Dooley is starting to have serious age related issues as well. The hot AZ summer is also taking its toll on those two.

This brings up the question that has been asked over and over.....When is the right time to let go?

I feel that the reality is, there is never a good time or a right time to let go!

I always tell my clients that have had to put a horse of pet down, that what is right for the animal is not always right for us. It is always hard to say goodbye.

I would have written this tomorrow but there will be no way to get through it.

As the Mayor of the Rotten Neighborhood, I declare this day July 21st 2009 and this date for all of the years following a day of International Animal Remembrance Day!

So tonight we will take pause and raise our glass to remember those beloved animals that have passed through our doors and pay tribute to those that are still with us. We have are graced by your friendship and are forever in your debt!

Waggie- the 1st Mix 1966-1967

Lil Dan- Blk/Tan Coon hound 1974-unknown

Waggie- the 2ND Terrier Mix 1968-1979

Tuborg Gold- Retriever Mix 1978-1992

Cinder- Buckskin Mare 1968-1995

Suzie- German Short hair 1989-2002

Rounder- Border Collie/Sheltie 1986-2001

Sassie Jean- Siberian Husky 1992-2006

Punkin- Boxer 1987-1997

Kodiak Siberian Husky 2000-2006

Mo Arabian Mare 1977-2006

Pi Palomino Pony 1991-

Dooley Palomino Mini 1984-

Those still with us....

LP Johnie- QH Mare

Paladinn MA- Arab Stallion

Mad About Me- TB Mare

Tess- TB Mare

Lightly Frosted- Pony Stallion

Docs Chica King- QH Palomino Mare

Chicas Little Pepper- QH Mare

Mondo- QH Stallion

Solis Doc Bar- QH Mare

BB Tucker- QH Mare

Abby- Collie Shepard/ Am Bull dog mix

Timber- Siberian Husky

Howie- Siberian Husky

Kimba- Siberian Husky

And to all of those yet to come...


n3qtrtme said...

OK, not fair!!!!! You made me cry! You have my sympathies, as I have been there and had to make the decision a bunch of times, too. I also have two retirees that are hanging around until the "right time". When that is? Dunno. I figure they will let me know.

I've raised my beer to you and your family - the whole family, including the four-legged ones. They'll be running, bucking and farting in green, green pastures tomorrow night!

LuvMyTBs said...

By doing the "right" thing for your elderly ponies it is the the most loving thing you can do. It is never the right time for any of us to make that decision for any our 4 legged family members....it sadly and simply does come down to being the right thing to do for them. They live in the moment,they do not fear death. They do become infirm,unsound and sometimes in alot of pain,discomfort or diminished quality of life. Help them to be free of that and be greatful for the time you had with them. I hope someone will do that for me when my time comes.Gentle thoughts for your loss JR.

LuvMyTBs said...

I recently had to realize the right
time when my 26 yr.old TB mare who is already blind in one eye appreared to be totally blind in her remaining eye. The panic and fear she displayed while I tried to safely guide her into the barn from 3 acres away with the vet and her assistant helping me made me 100% sure and certain of what I will need to do. This time it was just a badly ulcerated eye and constricted pupil. She was treated and is back to her old crochety self. I now know I will never try and keep her going should she lose her sight all together. She was trembling with fear and in total panic even though she knew I was there.I will not let her live a diminished life in that fearful,fretful state of being.I was a wreck thinking about putting her down when it happened.I know she will not adapt to being blind and it has made my future decisions about her not any easier just absolutely the right choice for her if that should happen.

horspoor said...

I am so sorry. Never an easy call, even when it is the obvious call. I had to do two in one day awhile back. It's tough, one is bad, two buckled me to my knees. I wish you the best and you have my sympathy.

Here's to a smooth passage for your ponies. At least they don't have to face the rest of the Phoenix summer. As I recall the worst of the heat hasn't arrived yet.

EveryoneThinksThey'reGoodDrivers said...

Sorry to hear you will be doing this tomorrow. As you already know, you are doing the right thing. But it still sucks eggs and I am sorry for tomorrow.

It is so weird how today was the day of death blogs. Yours, mine and at mugwumpchronicles.

Once again, sorry to hear this.

fernvalley01 said...

Started to cry reading this , It was just last Sept I put my beloved Catana down 28yrs old ,still had the heart and lungs of a teen ,but her arthritis was too much. Here's to you CNJ and the care you give to your animals ! Proud to know ya!

JohnieRotten said...


I agree Drivers, this ain't a good week on the blogs.

fernvalley01 said...

Crap ,I need to proof read ! Should have said here's to you AND CNJ

charlienchico said...

My hubby and I were reminiscing at lunch on Sunday with friends-I brought up a cat, Racci (our first cat 1986-1991)we had had when my son was born- the cat got sick & died when I had 3 more months to go before I had my daughter- because of the whole hands off your cat when pregnant issue I couldn't love and hug him in the end like I wished. Brought tears to my eyes Sunday, tearing up as I write now, I know a CAT for heaven sakes but he was really cool. RIP Racci- I still miss you.
Our Teddy- Gold. Retr.- is now 12 and really showing it- I thought 2 months ago might be it but he rallied and is still going. That's the one that's weighing on me now.

charlienchico said...

My Mom lives on our property also and has her horses here as well. We had to make the call on her mare, Mariah, 4 years ago- we put it off for 3 years knowing it needed to happen as her eyesight got worse and worse- she went from bad to no vision in one eye, then the same started happening in the other- then she became stone blind. The vet told us maintaining a blind horse would be difficult but left it up to us, we still put it off, it was tough, then you could just tell it was time, Mariah was really struggling with feeling secure (hard to explain). I still hated doing it.

charlienchico said...

Will be sending peaceful thoughts your way tomorrow.

Trainer X said...

Awwww I'm sorry, doing the right thing is never easy.

phaedra96 said...

You can pretty much tell when it is time to say good-bye; sometimes it is sooooo hard to make that call, though. My sympathy to you and CNJ.

Mary said...

This blog couldn't of been posted at a better (or worse, depending on how you look at it) time. As of this very minute, I am struggling with a choice. My beloved Tango (24 year old OTTB that I bought in 1993) is showing his age in both physical and emotional ways. He's been pretty much fully retired for 3 years now due to an arthritic shoulder. Although I know he would pack me around until the second he passed away, the pain he suffers the day after isn't something I'm willing to do to him. Add his arthritis to the finacial shape all of us are in and me taking on a 2nd job leaving very little time for any of my horses I now sit here wondering what is right.
Find a retirement home? What if they mistreat him or send him to slaughter. MAKE time and forget sleeping? Then my own health goes down leaving me out of hours at work and more finacial trouble. But is it really his time to go? I'm too emotional to think clearly. My husband says he doesn't want to hve any input because he doesn't want to be blamed for anything or for me to have any resentment towards him.

How do you know?! What if you make the wrong choice? The vet says he can live confy for a few more years as long as he isn't worked, but he is so depressed because he isn't being worked. He is no longer satisfied with just going for walks on a lead line. He sees a saddle, perks up then beats the crap out of whomever I took out to work with. After he beats them up, he limps and has swelling in his joints.

We live in northern MN and winters are hard on even spry stock. It's even tougher on the older ones.

Help? Please?

joanna said...

I am so sorry. I know exactly what your going through. It's never easy.

I had posted this on Mugwump's blog last night. These three had given me so many wonderful years of fun and joy. I miss them everyday.

About 5 years ago I had to make one of the hardest decisions of my life. Our 29 year old App lost that light in his eyes. He didn't finish his meals and would stop eating his hay to look off into the distance. He was sound and healthy but I could tell he was done. My 25 year old TB mare had developed arthritis in her knees. She was happy, if unsound. She had a hard life, as a race horse and then a show horse. She looked fantastic. But her knees were starting to become deformed and she struggled to bend them enough to step up into her stall. She couldn't ride in a trailer without falling down. We were about to move 12 hours away to Ohio. No way would she make it. Our 20 plus QH mare was lame from arthritis in her knees for 2 years. I couldn't get her comfortable, she was always off. She also looked great. I could have found homes for the 2 mares, but what guarantee would I have they would get the same care they had had for most of their lives? That they wouldn't end up on a trailer to Canada? The TB was not sound enough for even light riding, the QH could possibly have been, but was for an experienced rider only. I decided I loved them too much to let them suffer in anyway. They were put down, all on the same day. I don't think I have ever cried as much as I did on that day. I hope to never cry like that again.

My prayers are with you and CNJ.

SFTS said...

It's never the "right time" to say goodbye to a beloved four legged member of the family. You guys are in our thoughts today, may you all have the strength to get through this and remember the love and the good times with your beautiful ponies.

sweetlillena said...

Ok, now that I am starting work in tears, much sympathy for this-it is never easy for anyone involved (and you know where that is coming from, JR). savor the memories is about all I can say, that and rest easy knowing that you gave them quality lives, and that is what is important.

fernvalley01 said...

Thinking of you guys today.

autumnblaze said...

My thoughts are with you... it's never an easy decision but sometimes it's best for them. I think it's part of being a good steward but letting go is never easy. I'm sorry for your losses.

fernvalley01 said...

Totally OT here, but first hope you guys are doing OK, I know it will have been a difficult day (hugs to you all)
Here is my issue, (not directed at any specific individual) I have seen over the last while several riders/trainers? Starting horses under saddle before bitting the horse and riding just in halter. The way I learned was to work the horse on the ground adding all the expected tack before the first ride (i.e. bridling and allowed to just carry the bit on a longe still attached to the halter, also teaching by way of ground driving or whatever to give to the pressure of the bit flex to each side and gentle reinforcing of whoa.) I have seen a trainer use a bosal, but I am not good enough with one to make it part of my regime. So I guess what I am asking is why? What benefits are gained by riding before properly bitting the horse?

Anonymous said...

I'll be thinking of you on this sad, sad day. Rest assured you are doing the best thing you can for your ponies. May we so be so lucky to have someone do the same for us when it is time.

pedfjords said...

so sorry about your ponies. It takes good parents to help them now and you guys are good parents.

Hugs. Lisa

PrairieFarmer said...

Thinking of you, JR and CNJ.
It is never easy to take an animals life - whether it be due to age, injury, disease or for the meat. It is our responsibility as animal owners (whether you love that animal or not), to do so with dignity, respect and with all efforts for a quick and merciless death.
It is always sad, yet by doing the right thing by my animals in their end I have always felt, certainly not happy, but a certain peace with the world. I hope you and CNJ can find that bittersweet peace when it is all said and done today.

fuglyhorseoftheday said...

So sorry about the ponies - it never gets any easier. I am getting to the "end of the last good summer" for one of mine and not looking forward to making the arrangements - but she is showing the signs: stiff even with supplements, losing interest in life and food. Just too darn arthritic, and I can't buy her a new knee.

trixtwh said...

Hey, guys.

I am so sorry for this incredible sadness and pain ( I mean, it IS real physical pain, not just emotional ) that you, and others here are going through/will be shortly.

I really wish I had a "majikal" wand that I could wave, and erase the hurt.

I will now, as I always do, and will again, thank everyone for doing the right thing, though that is little consolation for the awful feelings that accompany said "right thing".

You are all in my thoughts.

BuckdOff said...

Just want you to know that I'm thinking of you both. It's always a very tough thing to decide. But, you are good people and made the difficult choice for them.

JohnieRotten said...

Thank you all for the well wishes.

It is days like this that I want to climb out of the horse business and do something else. But I am addicted to it.


about your question, there really is no advantage, it is more of a personal preference as to how horses are started. I prefer to use a bit, because that is what most people are comfortable riding in. I went through a phase where I started horses using a bosal. But since the horses could not be shown in bosal after a certain age, I started using snaffles again. That way,when it was time to put them in a curb,they were ready.

I still showed them in a bosal for the futurities, but always kept them is a snaffle!

fernvalley01 said...

Thanks JR Its just one of those things that had me going Huh?Ands if there was a particular advantage I am always open to new ideas.I don't profess to be a "trainer" , but as of right now I have never been killed by a horse I started(lol) I don't use a bosal ., My Uncle was a genius with them , but I am not sure enough of myself with them , and in the wrong hands they can be a nightmare. ( as I suppose can anything)

Kallista said...

Johnnie, I am so very sorry for you. It is always difficult, even when you know it's time. I have lost many thru the years, Isabelle is still in her little box and rides with me in the car. I lost her last August, if I think about it, still, I cry. Dearest, sweetest dog that ever lived....

My heart is ripped out for every single one of them that I lose, and I can tell yours is, too. I'm just so sorry. They will soon be romping in Heaven in beautiful green fields with other lovely horses.....


flying fig said...

Godspeed, Pi and Dooley... you will drift away with memories of Sweet Things, Fresh Grass and Being Loved.... and what horse could ask for more than that....

I still miss my Tag (smooth fox terrier) and Folli (borzoi)... even though I have new dogs to love and be loved by, those two were my soulmates... and a part of me died when they did.... there is a tear in my heart that will never heal...

Padraigin_WA said...

I'm so sorry to hear that it's time to let your Dooley and Pi go, JR. Here's wishing you the peace that I know will come in its time. It's never easy saying goodbye to members of the herd, and, which I can sense in your case, are also beloved members of your family.

My sincere sympathy to you, CNJ, and those beautiful daughters. Wishing you warm memories of those two ponies.

SFTS said...

fernvalley01 wrote:
I have seen over the last while several riders/trainers? Starting horses under saddle before bitting the horse and riding just in halter. What benefits are gained by riding before properly bitting the horse?
- - - - - - - -

I would have no idea why anyone would want to ride a green horse in just the halter, makes no sense to me. It's not like you would have much luck in being able to communicate with the horse, as halters aren't designed to cue the horse!

Using a bosal is really an entirely different thing...though there are sidepulls and "bitless bridles" advertised as an alternative to the bit. Some horses do seem to prefer

I'll show my Junior WP horses in a bosal if the client desires it. But I still start them in a mild snaffle first!

GoLightly said...

To All of Your Animals.
Thank goodness for you all.
It's never easy, but at least they have you as owners. They have been so lucky, and they know it, as you know.

Mara, whatever you choose, you'll do it from your heart. And it will be kind, whatever you choose. You'll know. It's the part of life we all have to face, with anyone.

Horses were born to move and run and buck and snort and fart.
When they lose that, they are ready.

It is the intrinsic spirit of horses, to move.
To Horses, and all of you.

flying fig said...

Very well said, GL. Thank you.

AME said...

Funny this came up, we just put our old mare down. She was 35. She was called "Filly" for some strange reason; odd name for an old mare! She was healthy and still had a strong and energetic way of going. But she was doing odd things. She would stand in the corner just staring at nothing. She wouldn't come over for pets and treats (something she normally would never miss). She would forget to eat her food (also something she would never miss), so she was losing weight. We knew it was time when she kept putting a front foot into the water tub instead of her muzzle when she wanted to drink. She had never done that in her life, but she did it several times last week, and we realized she must be totally senile and was likely to hurt herself or someone else. It was time.

We sat around and shared memories of her. She will be missed.