A Gen Update

No joke, I didn’t think Gen would be alive at 24 (nearly 25!). I never considered what it would be like to own an older horse, because…well…I just didn’t think Gen would ever be an older horse. I feel very lucky he has defied the odds and is in mostly good health.
I do know that Gen is a very, very happy pony. He is spoiled rotten, not only by myself and my husband, but the Barn Owners’, the other Boarders, and pretty much anyone else who sets foot in the barn. He learned long ago that if he stands there staring at you, posing with his ear forward, humans cannot help but tell him how handsome he is and sometimes even give him a treat. He is super neat in his stall, only has one supplement and isn’t normally blanketed, making him the easiest horse in the barn to care for. With his least favorite time of the year (summer) coming to an end, he really doesn’t have anything to complain about anymore.
Gen spends his days in his field where he often has the company of a local herd of deer and his favorite barn cat Gretel. At night he comes in to his nice big stall where he can stick his head out the giant window and look around outside. He gets three meals a day and as much hay as he will eat along with plenty of water. He gets groomed and scratched when I come see him and he seems to be the most mellow I have ever known him. I do want to work more with him to get his manners back to where they should be and keep his mind engaged, but overall, Gen is doing amazing at 24.
Because it is me…I can’t just be content to tell you how amazing Gen is doing. I have to tell you about what is wrong with him as well. I feel like I am just being honest and realistic about how my pony is doing, but if you don’t want to hear bad things feel free to ignore the list below. Gen really is very healthy considering, he just isn’t in perfect health like I want him to be.
Gen’s list of current ailments:
1) Left Front Leg– This is first because this is the scariest to me. I know Gen got hurt back in 2007 and I should just get over it, but it still bothers him. He is medically cleared to be walked under tack, but I have not done that to him for fear he will be crazy and hurt himself more. When he runs or stomps or is just not nice to that leg it still swells up. I know that he is getting micro-tears in the bad tendon when he is rough on it, and I will always be afraid that those will somehow turn in to a big tear. Rationally, Gen’s leg is actually doing really well. In years past, the swelling after a bad day might take a few days to go down, it is now usually down within 48 hours.
2) Melanomas – So Gen has had 3 Melanoma tumors in his tail forever. They have gotten bigger over the years, and now there are a few more back there so he has 5 growths coming off the dock of his tail to date. I would hate to see him loose his tail, especially because he hates bugs so much, but thus far the hairs around the tumors are still growing. What is new as of this year is that he now has a visible Melanoma tumor under his throat. I know that is pretty common in older grays but Gen has such a pretty face that it broke my heart when I saw it coming in. Thus far it doesn’t seem to be bothering him so I will live with the cosmetics of it as long as medically he is okay!
3) Hypercementosis – This was a new thing I found out about this year. I think I will do a whole post about what it is at some point for those of you who do not know, but it is typically found in older horses. Gen has a great Dentist who was happy to show me what a bad case of this looks like, and how Gen really doesn’t have it that bad. My big fear is that he may end up losing his teeth. Considering he is the pickiest horse I know, my crazy self has panic moments where I see him wasting away and not eating with no teeth.
4) Random Hole In His Gums – So this was a fun one which will get its own post. It wasn’t an abscess. His gum turned a scary color and then bam…giant hole at the tooth root for two of his teeth. This was something that the vet actually didn’t think would get better, but it has! Still not 100% healed though.
5) Scar tissue around his epiglottis – This is an issue from his race track days when my little Gen literally ran his heart out to win. It doesn’t bother him all the time, but when he rushes to eat or doesn’t chew well his food can go down the wrong pipe. Unlike with choke or something more serious, Gen can cough and it all comes out. I am knocking on wood as I write this, but this problem seems to be the most manageable and is the one he has had for the longest.
6) His Weight – I know that is not exactly a real ailment, but it is a bit of a health concern. I get that it is harder to keep weight on an older horse, especially one with issues in his mouth, but he is just a touch too thin for my taste. I know he doesn’t look too bad in the pictures above and below which were taken yesterday (he was sweating in his fall coat with the summer like temps), but I just like to see him a little heavier this time of year.

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One thought on “A Gen Update

  1. Gen is looking good for his age. Of course, as they age they get a little of this and a little of that and we and they just have to deal with it. It’s the same thing for us older gals (not you) it’s always something new going on health wise or stiff joints etc. But we deal with it. Someone once told me “getting old isn’t for sissy’s” and now I know what they meant!

    I think you are a good loving caring horse owner and Gen couldn’t be in better hands. Enjoy him while you have him and try not to obsess over everything 🙂

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