If I am honest with myself I have been holding on to Petra's negative test results and the vet's optimism as some sort of talisman over the last few weeks. I noticed that Petra seemed introspective and sometimes separated herself from the other horses and their activities. She seemed rather plump but the vet felt that she wasn't fat and suspected either wind or that she might be miraculously in foal. I kept an eye on her and had the Winter check done as a precaution in order to rule out Cushings and worms. Nevertheless she continued to balloon even when the other horses were maintaining the same weight. On the vet's advice I added charcoal and live yoghurt to her feed and was reassured when she continued to eat and eat well. However, yesterday it became clear that she wasn't at all well as she had a swelling that extended from her front legs all the way back to her hinds. Am urgent call to the vets and her blood tests were repeated and she was examined internally. With nothing obvious to show as a result of either I took her to The Barn this morning for a series of tests including ultrasound and a peritoneal tap. Devastatingly this latter revealed that Petra had cancer and that it was all over for her. With the heaviest heart, which now feels as if it has been ripped from my body, I had to have her put to sleep.
My darling Petra was always my best friends' best friend, a great riding companion horse and of course Théoden's favourite wife. Only two months ago she was trying to run off with Tracey when we rode along one of her best galloping tracks. She was the start of my career in horsemanship and has seen me to the end. Her family have been in my family for forty-five years starting with her ex-racehorse granny, Bonnie.
I am feeling extremely sad at the moment but can take some comfort from the fact that she hadn't suffered for very long.