I've spent the last two weeks trying to bring Riesling back into work. And while he stays sound on the lunge for a short period of time, after 15 minutes under saddle he goes lame. The damage has been done to his fetlock and as much as I want to fight to keep him sound and showing, it isn't fair to him.
I've poured an enormous amount of money in him last year between injections, supplements, body work, x-rays, nerve blocking, new tack and the rest. He had all winter off. However he damaged his fetlock last spring, it's effects are here to stay. The silver lining is that he is pasture sound and will be able to live out his retirement happy and spoiled rotten in my backyard.
I came to this decision yesterday and consoled myself between endless red wine and crying. I love this horse. I've had him for 8 years this year. I know I can hop on him and he will melt all my stress away. I know him so well. Despite his shark fin, I loved spending hours riding him bareback.
Its not that I still can't hop on him in pasture and toodle around, but I'm going to miss the challenge of figuring this whole dressage thing out with him. I selfishly wanted one more year out of him, but after consulting with my team, I don't need to invest myself financially and emotionally into a horse that has done his job for me for the past 8 years. It is time to let him just be a horse.