I have a bit of a dilemma and want your opinions on this.
My mare, Foxy, that I've had for 16 years (she is now 23) has been slowing down quite a bit for the past 3 years.....more so this year. She had lost some weight over the winter, gained it back this summer, but is losing weight again. Her teeth are fine, she is updated on deworming and shots and I know she's not sick, just getting older. She still looks fantastic for being 23....actually doesn't look a day over 15, but I'm worried that age is catching up with her. Her joints click when she walks, and when I whistle the younger horses race up to the barn and she just slowly walks up. That is so not like her. She used to be the fastest horse in the county.
I'm seriously worried that she'll have a hard time this winter. I could tell she was having a hard time last winter...but she wasn't limping or anything. She did lose quite a bit of weight even though I babied her through with grain and good hay. You could never see ribs, back bone, or anything like that, but it was the thinnest I've ever seen her. I'm worried she'll take a horrible turn for the worse in the middle of winter, I'll have to have her put to sleep but won't be able to have her buried. I think that would be very disrespectful to her. She's been such a great horse, my best friend for 16 years.
On the other hand, if I do have her put to sleep this fall I will always wonder if she would have been ok through the winter and we would have been able to have another year together.
What would you do if you were me? I know this probably isn't a fair question since you aren't in my shoes but I would like other opinions on this.