We are very sad to have to say goodbye to Freya, our 28 year-old Dutch Warmblood mare. She had been rescued by a kind couple who wanted to help her, but they quickly discovered that rescuing a horse takes a lot of time and money, neither of which they had. Freya has DSLD in both of her hind legs, which essentially means that the tendons in her fetlocks are degenerating. It is a congenital condition, and Freya’s DSLD has progressed to the point that it could really only be managed with limited exercise (walking), and pain medication. For the past few years, however, we have made sure to give her regular walks around the ranch and in the round pen, and her favorite volunteer Misa would set up poles and other obstacles for her to navigate when she walked her around.
This past month we moved Freya from the paddock she had lived in for the past several years to a stall next to Hope and Grace. We noticed after a few weeks in the stall, however, that all three girls would stand as close as they could to one another, so we thought Freya might like to live with them. Freya fit right in, and while it took a few weeks, all three girls enjoyed standing under the shelter next to each other, warm and dry, when it was raining in December.
Sadly, on Monday, January 3rd, we were called out to the ranch early because Freya was having some difficulty getting up. She has been having difficulty getting up for the past few months, and almost everyday for the prior week. Usually she was able to get up without any help, although sometimes we had to put the halter on and help her up. She seemed fine otherwise, however.
When she went down on Monday, we were concerned that she would get stuck in the muddy stall again, so we moved her to a drier stall. She seemed fine that morning, but by the afternoon she had laid down again, and this time seemed unable to get up- her hind end just was unable to support her. We worked with her for several hours, but it was finally obvious that she was incapable of getting up, and we had to make the difficult decision to end her suffering.
We are thankful we had the time to work with Freya. She was very much loved by all of us at Hanaeleh, and she will be missed. We wish only that we would have had more time to spend with her.
Here is Freya with her favorite volunteer Misa.