I have been home from school since the beginning of May. Throughout the last month I've been home, Cruizer has given me absolutely spectacular rides. I can't even remember the last time he gave me trouble about anything. He was getting very solid with patterns, was pretty much auto-pilot on the rail, and was just fantastic everyday. My sister was riding him a lot and he was perfect for her every time. Last weekend we (my sister and I) took him to his first show of the year (and last) and he came home with three firsts, a second, a third, and three fourths as well as a reserve high point with my younger sister. He behaved himself incredibly well and looked beautiful.
This morning I arrived at the farm at five to feed horses and turn out. I fed everyone then went to Cruizer's pen to bring him in to eat breakfast (he is in during the day and out at night every summer to prevent sun-bleaching). He didn't come to the gate when I called him which is odd for him so I brought his pasture mate in and put a different horse outside on my way back. When I arrived back at the gate to Cruizer's pen he whinnied at me but didn't move so I walked out to him and noticed a lot of blood on the ground and more blood squirting out of his leg. I called the barn owner and my mom immediately as well as the vet. We got his leg wrapped out in the field then walked him up to the barn slowly. He was a perfect gentleman the entire time, even for wrapping without sedation. Once the vet got him cleaned up we noticed a lot of small lacerations and one large laceration on the back of his left hind pastern. I tried to stay positive and hope for the best. The on call vet felt around in the wound and felt that their was tendon damage so he was hauled to an equine clinic right away. The vet there (who happens to be the same one who did my first horse's colic surgery) felt that prognosis seemed fairly good (without looking at anything closely) simply because he was in good shape, alert, not too upset, and was lame but not losing control of the limb. However, when the vets laid him down and looked in the wound they discovered that the injury was severe and he had completely severed his deep digital flexor tendon. She explained that she was confident nothing could be done for him - he would never have any acceptable quality of life and at most had a 10% chance at maybe someday being sound to walk around a pasture but it would require 16+ months of rehab and even then we would probably lose him. At her recommendation we made the decision to euthanize him. I wasn't able to say goodbye while he was conscious; when they anesthetized him we thought he would be staying there for a week before coming home but no one thought that the outcome would be so severe. I stayed with him through the end and have his forelock and tail with me. I want to get bracelets or something made out of it for my sister and I.
Life can be so unfair sometimes. I know people who literally haven't touched their horse in months or even years and the only time they see them is every 6 months when they hand deliver their board check instead of mailing it. I saw Cruizer every day while I was home and love him dearly; everyone who knew him loves him. He was such an outgoing, affectionate horse who just loved people and wanted to make them happy. Even though he must have been in excruciating pain today he never offered to kick or tried to pull away. He had his ears pricked forward the whole time and was nuzzling everyone around. He was a complete gentleman for everything. It just kills me that it always seems to be the super nice horses that are absolutely cherished by their owners that get taken. The horses who never get any attention beyond being fed and turned out live on for decades unharmed. I did everything in my power to make sure Cruizer was safe, happy, and healthy. I was always so careful with him and still this tragedy happened. It just doesn't make sense to me.
Cruizer was truly a once in a lifetime horse who can never be replaced. I love and miss him so much already.