Home Safe

The past 4 days have been trying. To say it has been an emotional rollercoaster might be an understatement. I cried at the clinic on Monday. From there I was in a bit of a numb haze waiting on further testing. By the time I went to get Annie from the clinic I was just happy she was coming home.

For those of you wondering how Annie is seriously already facing injections etc… Don’t think I haven’t blamed myself. What if I pushed her too hard too fast? Could this have been prevented? Is it my fault? But the thing is that ever since I tried to introduce the concept of not going around like a giraffe this has been a problem. It isn’t a problem that just developed now after a little over a year of being in more consistent work. Before we ruled out kissing spine surgery with the scintigraphy my vet lamented that he sees issues in the back and neck in OTTB’s frequently given when they are started.

There is no way to know if this was something she was born with that would have been an issue regardless but it is likely something that was agitated by having a rider on her back at a young age before I got her like most horses off the track. Anything you might be thinking – I am already beating myself up for so go ahead.

I know that there are probably a lot of people that don’t understand my obsession with this horse. She was $1,200… Surely it would be easier to “cut my loses” and start over. For me that isn’t an option. She is a really special horse. Sometimes I want to strangle her or myself but I seriously have never had more fun on a horse. She is usually game for any of my crazy requests. She is one of the sweetest creatures I have ever handled on the ground (even after getting oral Banamine for a week – sry Nanners!). I may end up seriously beside myself with frustration at times but only because I know what she could be capable of and I wish I could be a better rider for her.img_0017

On paper people see a dragon mare that is an aggressive cribber, has questionable feet, and can be a sass master under saddle… If I did that same analysis of myself I am not sure anyone would fight for me either. Annie and I are more similar than I realize. We both get incredibly frustrated when things don’t go as we anticipate. We can both have short fuses. She is admittedly the talented athlete of the two of us though. I have spent the better part of this past week trying to come up with a plan for her should this course of treatment not work. I didn’t relish the idea of having to retire a 5 year old for various reasons…

Then on our way home from the clinic last night Annie started acting colicky. At first I thought she was just agitated about the trailer ride in the heat… But then she started violently throwing herself against the butt/breast bars and divider. From there she started kicking at her belly and pawing.  She acted multiple times like she was going to go down in the trailer.

To say that I panicked is an understatement.  I called the vet who said to continue to the farm as that was closer and another hour in the trailer wasn’t going to improve the situation. I practically held my breath the rest of the way home. When I got to the farm and took her off the trailer she was breathing heavily and drenched in sweat. I gave her an injection of banamine – spent the next 5 minutes praying there wasn’t air in the syringe (that I checked about 5 times), hosed her off to help her cool down, and then we hand walked. Within 20 minutes she was looking much better and I could finally breathe. I ended up staying at the farm for a couple of hours to make sure she was alright and then my awesome BO’s checked her in the middle of the night.

love this mare with all I’ve got


We got lucky. It was all rather dramatic but ended up totally fine. That isn’t always the case though. As horse owners we have to be prepared to make those hard decisions quickly. I am grateful that I didn’t have to. There isn’t a lot of rhyme or reason to this post except to say hug your horses. There have been all sorts of sadness in blog land lately with our equine friends. Hug them while you can. Hopefully I can remember how devastated I felt thinking about a life without Annie the next time we are struggling with a concept or I am upset by a vet bill.

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  1. Oh my gosh, I think you’ve had more than enough stress for a while! Hopefully the injections work and you and Annie can move forward and have many more adventures.

  2. Just remember, you put more into your horses and do more for your horses than many people do for them or would ever do for them. Don’t beat yourself up or let the “what ifs” come into play. Seriously, I admire how much you do for Annie–I know she’s getting the best! I don’t think I’d have caught it sooner. I hope everything from here on out goes as well as it possibly can!

    1. I appreciate that Sarah. Just kind of a rough week. I normally have no doubts I’m doing all the right things but with her it was so hard to gauge if it was pain or training. And she’s done a lot but it’s not like I pound her into the ground. 🙁 I try to do the best I can that’s for sure.

  3. don’t beat yourself up – ottbs go through so much on the track (even if they never race), and most aren’t bred for ideal conformation anyway. had she stayed on the track, she undoubtedly would have already started with injections – seems like almost every race horse gets at least something injected. charlie sure did! it ain’t always about age.

    annie is a nice horse. and i’d lay down real money that she’s got less going on physically than a lot of other horses in sport horse careers. now that you know what the issues are, hopefully it becomes easier to continue asking her to keep working with you. the reality is that a continued focus on dressage will only make her stronger through her back and more comfortable. and she definitely seems worth the work!

    1. Thank yo Emma. Houston got injections starting at 6 or 7 I think so I know it’s not always age. It’s nice to hear that though. I don’t want to have to duct tape her to keep her sound so my fingers are crossed the aggressive preventative measures will help us in the long run.

  4. Did they not warn you that Osphos can make them colic? It can and does. It’s more of a cramping than a real colic and normally passes quickly. So this is probably what happened to the poor girl. Ugh, what a week for you! I’m so sorry you dealt with all that, and I’m glad she’s doing better!

    1. They did. But she had it around 11am and I didn’t bring her home until after 5-6pm. My vet said that it usually would have happened in that time frame. Guess Annie’s special in all ways.

  5. I’m sorry you are going through something similar to what I did with Stampede – a longer period of slight issues and no real answers followed by all the bad answers. I fought so hard for that horse and poured so much money into him. No one else will ever see him as worth much of anything besides me and I’ve just had to be fine with that. Some horses are just special to us. Thankfully they don’t know what their potential is and don’t care if they meet it. Stampede’s issues were managed for quite a few years and now he happily hangs out at home and I love him just as much if not more.
    The being worked young thing is really interesting. While Stampede wasn’t a racehorse he was started at 2 (I actually saw him being backed) and grew until 7 which I think is a huge factor in his back problems along with his fall with me over 10 years ago.
    I hope Annie is on the upswing now and you guys can get back to having fun and jumping things. Some horses just require careful management and hopefully she is just one of those. You are in tune and will know when she’s uncomfortable, don’t beat yourself up over things you can’t control.

  6. It doesn’t matter what you spent to purchase her…some of them just special.

    There is NO judgement coming from any of us. Horses break. Hang in there. She’s lucky to have you and I bet you will be back in business before too long.

  7. Good grief you have been put through the ringer. I have also heard that Osphos can cause some colic, but who really knows with these horses! Absolutely stop beating yourself up. Had she gone to ANY other person, the chances are high that she would have been required to continue to work even in pain, because so many owners just assume its behavior issues. But because you landed with you, she now has excellent chances at recovery and becoming comfy and happy in her work again.

  8. I am so sorry you are feeling this way. Please don’t beat yourself up, I know in my heart this is not your fault. I also know how easy it is to blame yourself. This post made me sad and I’m just sorry you’ve had such a rough week. I’ll message you this evening, I just wish I could take you out for some wine. <3

  9. So many thoughts but mostly just hugs. I know this stuff is hard! You’re handling it all really well and there’s no question in my mind Annie is a diamond in the rough! Keep on keeping on.

  10. Boy, sometimes nothing is easy. You are doing all the right things for Annie and that is to be admired. Don’t let anyone get you down! Sometimes things happen with horses that are totally out of our control. Hugs to you and neck hugs to your mare!

  11. I hope no one questions why you love this horse. She is really special, that is easy to see. She reminds me so much of Penny, so I have a major internet crush on her too. Sidenote, I also paid $1200 for Penny…they have a lot in common heh.

    Sending you both lots of positive vibes and for the best possible outcome.

    1. That’s funny that they were both 1200. She’s a really special horse. I just hope she can continue to be ridden and advance. She has so much untapped potential. I feel like I’ve barely begun to scratch the surface!

  12. Oh my gosh. My heart is going out for you and Annie. I seriously cant imagine what you are going through. So so glad the banamine did it’s job and she ended up being ok. Talk about a high stress trailer ride. Jeez!

  13. Definitely don’t beat yourself up. It was probably a culmination of genetics and rotten luck. Hope she pulls through and can live a great life with you.