I was about to experience my worst fear regarding Magnum…..
I noticed one day he was limping – ok – not to worry – maybe he just hurt his leg and would be fine. Over a few days the limping got worse and it seemed to be his offside hind. I was getting nervous…
He was still coming up for his food – but where previously he would try and rush to Ducati’s food if I wasn’t nearby – he was staying at his own bucket. Ducati soon caught on to the fact that he had the upper hand – and I had to stand there and make sure Magnum had a fair go.
As the days went on, he got worse – and it got to the point where he stayed under the tree – that’s the Magic Tree down in the bottom paddock. I was then taking down food and water to him.
I couldn’t stand seeing him in pain – and I rang every vet in the district asking for help, and telling the story about the untouchable horse. Sadly, I got the same answer… if I couldn’t get him in a pen, they couldn’t help. I asked whether they had a tranquilizer gun – no……. they didn’t ……..
I felt sick – for a start – we had no type of secure pen. I guess I could have bought some panels – but how do I get him in there? Sure, he wasn’t moving out of choice. But if he was fearful, he would be off. Even if he was in a pen – the vet still wouldn’t be able to tend to him – they would be killed!
I would need something like a cattle crush – and then I would need to get him in there. I couldn’t see how I could do it.
The vets had another suggestion – if he was in that much pain I would have to have him shot………. SHOT!!!!……
I remember trying to hold back tears on the phone. Had it come to this???
I asked if any vets do that – no – I would have to find someone…..
Okay – deep breaths…… I couldn’t have him suffer – if this is what I had to do to end his suffering, I would have to do it. I told myself it would be quick and painless….
The next day Magnum was still under the tree – still much the same. I rang someone who did such a thing – he had a gun licence and would often be called on to put animals down – mainly cattle who were in distress. Let’s call him Kevin..
Kevin came out the next day and I took him down to the tree. We approached carefully – but Magnum hobbled away. We stood at a distance Magnum was comfortable with. Kevin spent a long time looking at him – and of course commented on what a stunning horse he was.
I told him the story of Magnum, and said I couldn’t let him suffer. He was watching him carefully. He said to me “You know I won’t be able to do it with one clean shot. He will run – so it will be a shot to bring him down – then another in the head.”
I felt faint “Yes” I said. “I know he will run – but is there any other option?” “No” said Kevin – BUT – give him a few days… let’s give him a chance to get better. He’s too nice a horse to put down”. Phew!! I agreed with relief!
I continued taking food and water to Magnum – but over the next few days he started to move more!!! And before too long he was back to his old self!!! I would say it was a very painful hoof abscess.
Oh the relief!!!! He was okay!!! The shock of the possible shooting sent me to bed for two days. I was so traumatised. I kept picturing him running, being shot, and trying to struggle on injured. I must never let that situation happen again. I had to find a way to handle him….
But what was I to do??
At that point I had no idea….
COMING UP – SEARCHING FOR THE DREAM HORSE
IF YOU ARE NEW TO THIS STORY, PLEASE START HERE AT THE BEGINNING – Part 1 – An Introduction