By Sierra Elliott

I had just gotten my first horse and everything was perfect. He was a chestnut appendix quarter horse named Bradley. He was the love of my life and I felt like the happiest girl in the entire world.

Then came our first show, and everything was going great. We placed very well in all of our classes. Then as I was warming him up for our over fences class I noticed that he felt a little off so we ended up not doing our class. I cried because I was only 11 at the time and had no idea if he was going to be okay or not.

We decided to give him a few weeks off because we thought he was just lame. After a few weeks he was still lame so we called the vet out. Unfortunately, our suspicions were confirmed. Bradley had Navicular. Not just Navicular, severe Navicular. We tried lots of different treatments and tried to get him sound but two years later he was still unrideable. We thought we were going to have to put him down.

At the time I remember thinking that this was so unfair. Why did I have to say goodbye to my best friend. I cried and cried. I didn’t want to lose him. Then finally, after a lot of time and worry and frustration, we were able to get Bradley sound. Although he is no longer able to jump, we switched over to dressage. This summer we did our first dressage show and we placed second. My experience with Navicular has taught me a very important lesson, and that lesson is never give up hope.

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