SHINING MOUNTAIN THOROUGHBREDS
My biggest rehabilitation project to date is one of my personal horses, a now 9 year old Thoroughbred gelding whose registered name is Unbridled's Catkan but who has, from the moment he was born, answered to the name of Bubby. Bubby was orphaned at birth and was a very sickly foal on top of losing his dam, so I had quite a time getting him to eat. After trying at least 10 different types of bottle and nipple combinations, I finally came up with one that Bubby liked and would drink from. Every time I would try to switch him to drinking milk from a bucket, he would get sick again and the only way to get him to eat anything was go back to the bottle. My vet had me picking him up every day and standing on my bathroom scale to check that he was gaining his 2 pounds a day, which, due to his sickness and lack of enthusiasm for eating, he rarely did at first. He was born in March in Montana, and it was a very cold March at that, so I kept him dressed in down vests and leg wraps in the barn to keep him warm, as well as having several heat lamps directed on to his straw bed. This was my first experience with an orphan foal, and it was from raising Bubby and one other orphan of my own since then along with getting several others started for other people that has brought me to the methods I use today. I made all the usual mistakes many people make when raising their first orphan, playing with him and, since he would cry something fierce whenever I left him behind (none of my other horses would tolerate him and I didn't have my wonderful goat billy at that time) once he was strong, healthy and curious enough, letting him tag along with me as I did my daily work around the farm. He would follow me around the outside of the arena while I was working with horses inside, stand by the wheel barrel while I cleaned stalls, frolic around me like a whirling dervish while I moved sprinklers, and was basically my equine shadow. I'm sure he would have followed me right into the house if I'd let him.
Well, Bubby grew up to be a very handsome, very fast, and very athletic and competitive horse who was showing great potential as a race horse. On the morning of November 27, 2007, just as I was getting ready to send him to the race track to begin his official race training, I went out to feed and found Bubby in his field on 3 legs with no control of his right front leg. It drug along uselessly as he would try to move, but on first inspection I could find nothing wrong. I got him in to the barn and called my veterinarian who came out immediately and found that Bubby had broken his right shoulder blade in what turned out to be 4 pieces. Had it been any other horse, I would have had him put down immediately, but because it was Bubby and we had been through so much together and still shared a very deep bond, I couldn't just let him go without trying to save him. For the next week, my local vet called different surgeons around the northwest and they all said, based on the xrays we were able to get, that there was nothing that could be done. Bubby handled this week very stoically and bravely, learning to navigate around his stall without using his leg and even to lay down and get up again. Bubby and I have a great sense of communication and I told myself that if he ever gave up, that that would be the end, but as long as he was hanging in, I would keep trying for him. We had tried to put a splint on to help stabilize the break, but the pain of that nearly sent Bubby through the roof, so, other than pain management, we were unable to do anything for him. We finally found a surgeon who was willing to at least come and take a look at Bubby before making a final decision. After examination and further xrays, he thought he had a chance of being able to put the shoulder blade back together and so we loaded Bubby backwards into our 3 horse slant and hauled him 4 hours to a hospital where, on December 5, it took 6.5 hours of surgery and 3 plates to repair the breaks. As it worked out, it was a fortunate thing that he had spent that past week learning to get around without his right front leg, because when the surgeon got in to the repair process, the breaks were much worse than we had thought and there was a very great concern that Bubby would tear the whole thing apart coming out of anesthesia. I was allowed to stay with Bubby in the recovery room because the vet knew of our history and was hopeful that having me there talking to Bubby would keep him calm as he woke up. When it was time for him to stand, I had to go stand at the door, but could still talk to him, and he stood up just as he had all week, on 3 legs, not using the right front at all and preserving all the work accomplished over the past 6.5 grueling hours.
Bubby spent the next 2 months in the hospital while we waited for the bones to become stable enough for us to move him. He ended up with an implant infection and had a few other set backs, but February 2, 2008, we were finally able to bring him home.
Over the next year, Bubby's recovery was a series of steps, some of them so tiny that you barely noticed them, some of them huge leaps that made you look back and say "Were we really way back there just a second ago?" When we first brought him home with his list of rehab exercises, he still wasn't using his right front leg, hopping on 3 legs whenever he moved around his stall. His daily stretches to stimulate and work his muscles were hard for him, and at times, hard for me because he would resist. The first day I caught him actually walking, not hopping, across his stall was huge, and although, for a long time, whenever he wanted to get across the stall in a hurry he would still pick up his right front and hop, the times he would use his leg got more and more frequent. Then the day came when we were able to take a few halting steps out the stall door, then to the end of the barn and back, outside around our circular drive and back, and finally 3 miles of walking each day. Over this time he has also progressed from stall confinement to a 12 x 12 corral outside during the day which was slowly expanded until he was in a 36 x 48 pen until now, finally, he is able to be turned out in a normal sized paddock. He runs, bucks, and plays like any horse and, as of January 1, 2009, the first time I tried it, is sound to ride again!
Shining Mountain Thoroughbreds is a Thoroughbred farm specializing in the raising and preparation of Thoroughbreds for sale and the race track as well as the retraining of retired racehorses for second careers after their racing days are over. Several years of working with race horses both on and off the race track have given me a wide knowledge base for treating and rehabilitating various injuries from minor to severe. Although we are primarily a Thoroughbred farm, any horse of any breed in need of lay up or rehabilitation is welcome. Whether it is a horse that needs medications that the owner doesn't have the time or ability to give, bandage changing, stall rest with hand walking, post surgical care, or any number of other requirements, I will work closely with owners and veterinarians to provide the best available individualized care for the horse. I will provide all care if necessary or, if the owner wants to be involved and just needs part time care or simply a safe, clean stall for the horse to live in while recovering, we can customize a routine that best fits all requirements. Someone is on the grounds 24 hours a day to observe horses, veterinary assistance is within a short distance, and every effort will be made to see that your horse's recovery is a successful one.
We use not only traditional medicine but also work very closely with two different equine chiropractors, a Reiki Master, 21st Century Homeopathy, and a craniosacral specialist.
October 2012, Arctic arrived at the farm with one of the worst cases of Pleuropneumonia my vet has ever seen. Immediately upon diagnosis, Arctic was checked into the hospital, where, in the first 3 days, we drained nearly 6 gallons of fluid off his lungs. He weighed 930 pounds, wouldn't eat, and was given very little chance of survival. Three times over the 2 weeks Arctic spent in the hospital, I was strongly encouraged to euthanize him as it was thought that he wouldn't live, and, if he did, that the lung damage and scarring would be too great for him to overcome. He was put on 3 times daily IV and IM antibiotics, and his chest had to be drained every 3 to 4 days. I didn't feel that Arctic was ready to give up however, and so, the day after Thanksgiving 2012, because the vets all know my background of being able to care for critically ill horses, Arctic was allowed to come home to continue fighting. Over the next 3 months Arctic has not only flourished and surpassed all the vets' expectations, anyone who doesn't know his story, and even those who do, would be hard pressed to tell that he was ever sick. He is still on daily antibiotics along with several times a day treatments with various homeopathic remedies created by my good friend Jeanie Fullerton. Once a week my friend Brooke comes and treats Arctic with Reiki and other energy work. His check ups are now 2 weeks apart, and each one is better than the one before. He is up to 1155 pounds, and to watch him race and play, you would think he is just another young stallion feeling his spring oats.
February - he is now on once a day IM Naxcel and flourishing.
March - he is off Naxcel and is on twice a day SMZs.
April - I am happy to report that Arctic had his final checkup before taking him off antibiotics completely and he passed with flying colors! He will be monitored with monthly visits to Dr. Shawn Gleason.
May - We have comfirmed the first mare in foal to Arctic and he is thoroughly enjoying his life as a healthy young stallion.
We will keep you updated on Arctic's progress!
A huge, heart felt thank you to all my family and friends for their generous financial and emotional support to Arctic and me, to Pfiser Animal Health for their kind and generous donation of nearly a month's worth of Naxcel, and to Dr. Gleason, Jeanie and Brooke for their help in treating this beautiful boy.
Copyright © 2014 shiningmountainthoroughbreds.com. All rights reserved.