My dear old Chippy, who is 31 now, was retired at 19. Not because I wanted to, but because he was no longer coping. I could see that he was in pain. He was uncomfortable under saddle and he just wasn’t moving as well. He had lost condition and was scouring. I had two vets come to see him – one told me to keep riding; the other said don’t.

A year or so prior to this, an instructor had detected arthritis in his movement and advised me to only ride out on trails. He had stopped being able to jump small logs a couple of years prior due to jarring pain on landing, but now heavy sand arenas were problematic as well. It all seemed to be going downhill so fast and in fairness to Chippy, we called it quits.

But the truth is, armed with the knowledge and experience I have now, I would not have needed to retire him. In fact, he never would have reached the point he did in the first place.

Chippy’s health was in fact the catalyst for my path into Equine Naturopathy…. And everything that I have learned has been tried on him first, with HUGE success. The reality is that with a change of diet, a herbal prescription and a bit of Equine Myofunctional Therapy, his symptoms reversed very quickly. Now, at 31, he is healthier than he was at 19. If I had felt inclined, he could have been brought back into work in his mid-twenties, but it hardly seemed fair or reasonable to do that to an older horse who hadn’t worked in some years.

So my thoughts are this… Don’t let the same happen to your horse. Especially if they are a great friend and all round champion like my Chippy has been to me for the past 20-years.

Until next time….

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