This is a translation of a previous post made in Swedish,
I haven't written a blogpost in about half a year. You who see me on Facebook probably know, or have figured out, that I had to put Balk down.
He got worse and worse and in the end he checked out from the herd (not even his best friend Fordson cared about him anymore) and that is when I knew it was time.
He was so calm that day. He got to graze while the veterinary wrote papers for the insurance company.
The truck couldn't come until evening but despite that Balk wasn't nervous for a second, he followed me to where we were going to stand and lowered his head for the stunner. It was... extremely sad. And yet, a relief. It felt like an easy decision and even though the sorrow is so heavy, it is a sorrow that is ok. I was very afraid of this grief last spring, and it is very difficult to write this, even though it has been months. He was a very, very special horse, truly my hearthorse. The last thing he got to teach me was that it is ok to grieve, and that it is possible to carry sorrow in a good way, without breaking. Such an amazing individual.
I had a horse on loan this fall but I returned him, I couln't make a connection. He wasn't even a pale copy of Balk. Balk was in my heart, pulled on it all the time. It was a gift to get to experience this, but...
I'm writing this because there have been discussions in the Facebook-groups, and there are now ads (in Sweden) turning up with PSSM1-positive horses. So the question is, would I buy a PSSM-horse again?
NO is my answer. Simply because I am not emotionally ready for it. I am not alone in having felt the extremely strong connection to this type of horse, how one lives for them, agonizes over every second they show pain, constantly questions oneself, guilttrips oneself, thinking there is always more to be done. More money to be spent on supplements, massage, chiro, special hay, special paddocks, painkillers, etc. It is an enormous stress and enormous amounts of money that can be spent.
If in the future I own a farm where I can have a sand and gravel Paddock Paradise / track system, and a walker or indoor arena close by, I could consider taking another PSSM-horse, FOR FREE.
Balk cost us about €300 extra every month only related to the PSSM. In one year I spent the same amount of money that could buy a healthy, well ridden North Swedish Draft, on my sick one. And I did this on quite a tight budget, I could easily have spent a lot more to get him feeling a little bit better, for a little while longer.
TÄNK EFTER FÖRE translates roughly into HAVE THE AFTERTHOUGHTS FIRST, meaning think it through.
It's an amazing journey, in a really tough way. If you want to experience it, buy a PSSM-positive and spend your heart and soul and more than your whole wallet.
But if you're not ready, or rather, if you have some sense of self-preservation and economy, don't do it.
The only exception I could recommend is an older horse that is positive, but who has been symptom-free its whole life and you can take the horse on loan first. It is not unusual for a PSSM1-horse to be symptom-free until 10-12 and then all hell breaks loose.
Make an informed choice, there is no right or wrong,
but be prepared for the fact that you can never be prepared enough for this journey.