Saturday, May 3, 2014

The End Of The Moon Saga

I retired Moon from barrel racing after the Cottonwood rodeo.

I've always had one firm line in my mind about where to quit with this horse and today it happened and that is the end of Moon's barrel racing career...whatever it was.

He came out of his run and began to cough and choke. I jumped off of him as quick as I could and he was shaking like a leaf and still coughing and choking. I loosened his cinches and led him around until his breathing returned to normal.

By the time I got him to the trailer, he was bleeding profusely from both nostrils and still shaky behind.

I have suspected he has had a bleeding problem since earlier this year, although he has never bled from the nostrils. Not a single drop. But I did put him on some herbal bleed stop. I saw no difference in him. But he has not been clocking anywhere close to what he normally does though and that HAS been a concern. Even though we hit barrels last year, Moon was clocking almost a second faster that he has been this year.

I understand that there are alternatives for horses that experience EIPH (Exercise induces pulmonary hemorrhage) but I am not willing to go that route with this particular horse. Moon has long suffered from heaves or asthma or COPD...whatever you want to call it and his respiratory system has never been what it should be. I have kept him going this long with careful conditioning, careful consideration of when I ran him and various supplements that strengthened his immune and respiratory systems. But as a friend eloquently put it to me today...I was 'using a bandaid for something that needed stitches'.

It worked for awhile but Moon is getting older and it's not working anymore, so it's time to stop. This grand horse has given me his all these last few years and I think there is a reason we never could put it together...He was never truly fixed....just patched up enough to keep going. Never having had a horse with a serious respiratory problem before, I could only do what I thought would help him and long ago, I decided that if he ever did start bleeding, that is where I was drawing the line. The fact that I have been able to hold him together this long, without him bleeding is actually a testament to how well herbal immune and respiratory enhancers do work.

This does not mean Moon is done for as far as being useable...He just can't be a barrel horse anymore.

From now on, he will be my breakaway and possible heel horse. It's back to the roping pen for him. He will probably be much happier busting out of a box after a calf for a few strides anyway. :-). Silly old horse!

My rodeo days are once again on hold, while I spend this summer and probably into next winter building myself another rodeo caliber horse. I'm not feeling sorry for myself...I've got several very capable horses to work with. It just takes a little time. :-).

I won't be entering the last 2 rodeos I had on my list and I will withdraw Moon from the Las Vegas race. Although, I do still plan to run Frosty. Obviously, it will simply be a learning experience for him as I don't think that he is in any way, shape or form ready to compete at that level. But what the heck, we'll go gallop around the South Point arena, have fun and enjoy the hell out of 4 days in Las Vegas.

I think my husband is in shock...or not quit grasping exactly what I was telling him about Moon being DONE as a barrel horse, because he just kept saying, 'Ok' in a tone of voice that didn't quite match his 'Ok'.

Myself....I'm not exactly sure what I feel. Definitely sad...but maybe a little relieved as well. At least now I KNOW what was going on. Having had so many horses in my life, I don't really dwell on the end of one horse's performance life all that much. I've always had another one that had the same potential ready to come on and work up to filling the spot the last one left open. I'm just fortunate that I don't have to look any farther than my own corral to find that replacement.


Cut-N-Jump said...

I think we are all sad to see the day come when someone has to give up the ghost and call it quits on a horse in competition. But when it comes to something big like the bleeding, its a lot easier to do. He's still a good horse and we all know you have gone waaaaaay above and beyond doing what it took to keep him going. At least you've got a good string to choose from and bring along. Always better to have a few good, solid horses to choose from, than to be a one horse wonder. Moons has certainly taught you a lot. Its just time for you to put it to use on the next horse

Sherry Sikstrom said...

Sad day, because I believe without the health issues you and Moon could have been unstoppable. But (I don't mean to sound condescending ) I am so proud that you put the horse before your dreams and chose to retire him form barrels. Hugs

BrownEyed Cowgirl said...

Thanks FV. It is sad. Moon certainly had the capability, which is why I pushed the limits, but, well...I'll just make another one (or two) and be right back at it before you know it. ;-).

Shirley said...

Sad in a way, because you didn't really reach the state of perfection in him that you knew he was capable of- but I bet Moon will be quite happy to go into semi-retirement. He has indeed been a grand horse for you, and has taught you a lot. About horses- and about yourself.

in2paints said...

Clear answers are always helpful in a situation like this, I think. You always had a suspicion, but never the clear cut proof you needed... and now it's here. You two had a good run for sure! I bet Moon will enjoy his retirement and you can focus on one of the other many amazing horses you have. :)

Mary said...

I have such a fondness for Moon through your writing about him. It seems like a scary way to end, but I know he will always be well taken care of and have a truly fine life ahead. I am looking forward to reading about your next chapter. So much for Pendleton I guess. :)

TeresaA said...

it sounds like you are making the best decision. Moon is a great horse and deserves a goodretirement.

GunDiva said...

I'm sad, but glad you've made the best decision. It'll be fun to see how the others come along and I'm sure Moon will enjoy his semi-retirement.

smazourek said...

Maybe in Moon you didn't get the horse you wanted, you got the horse you needed. So it comes out he's not suited for barrels but, to echo C-N-J, from what I've been able to read you learned a lot in the course of working that horse. He earned his keep :)

kestrel said...

Sometimes it's almost a relief to actually KNOW what has been going on, and you are one fine horse owner to have kept your promise to your horse. kudos girl, and glad you have a backup string!

Unknown said...

I'll be completely honest with you. When I got the phone message saying you needed a shoulder, I envisioned the worst and was so relieved that it wasn't anything like what I had imagined. Since then I have noticed a calmness in you that was not there before. You have been working so hard with Moon, and really I think a break is exactly what you need to regroup with your next horse...or horses.

Like everyone else has said, you have done the very best by him, and he in turn has taught you so much. It isn't the end of the book, just the beginning of a new chapter for him.

Funder said...

Oh, LT, I'm sorry and proud. You've had such a journey with Moon and barrels! But like you said there's plenty of other things to do with him, and more barrel horses in your backyard.

I really think everybody should have "time to quit" lines for their horse in their sport. I've got lines for Dixie, and when she crosses them we'll do something else fun. Good job sticking to your principles with Moon.

I can't wait to hear about roping with Moon, and barrels on the other horses.

C-ingspots said...

I can't help but feel some sadness at this news. It's been fun following the story of you and your very able barrel horse...I agree with the others that he's enabled you to learn a lot that has progressed your skills. But, I've always had this thought in the back of my mind that this wasn't exactly what Moon would have chosen, had he been able to say. He certainly has a lot of heart - he gave you everything he had to give, until he could give no more. That's something to be very proud of. Onward and upward - both of you!