There is no shortage of opinions in the horse world: If you asked five equestrians about their preferred method of, say, stall cleaning or wound management, chances are you’ll get six different answers. But something I’d like to think most owners and riders agree on is that when you’ve struggled with an equine lameness, the ultimate goal once soundness returns is keeping that horse sound and doing what he or she loves to do for as long as possible, without risking further injury. That’s my goal with Dorado, at least, and it wasn’t more than a few days ago that I had something of a revelation on this topic.

Just because Dorado could compete at a higher level doesn’t mean he should. After several lameness scares, keeping him healthy and sound is more important than moving up the levels.

Photo: Kristen Janicki

A few years ago and before I got a “real” job, I was a working student for a wonderful Scottish woman who’d ventured around the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event track a handful of times. And while Dorado and I traveled up and down the East Coast with her and her horses, we both learned a lifetime’s worth of lessons. In less than a year, she basically re-taught me how to ride, and helped turn my green-as-grass Thoroughbred into a confident eventer that never took a lame step. We’d schooled