Category Archives: Horse Care/Protection

Happy Birthday Belle: Recovering Geriatric Colic Case Turns 34

Belle recovering at home in Vero Beach, FL. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Penn.

When Jennifer Penn learned that her horse Belle was in the beginning stages of a bout with colic in February, she knew she was not ready to say goodbye to her beloved horse. The 33-year-old American Quarter Horse named Wagners Mint Joker, but known to Penn and her family as Belle, was the horse of a lifetime.

Penn’s mother, Becky Seton, and late grandfather, Bob Lowery, both of Vero Beach, FL, purchased a then 12-year-old Belle for Penn in 1998. “We were both 12 years old and it was a match made in heaven,” recalled Penn. “I had outgrown my show pony, so it was time to look for an all-around horse that I could show and have fun with. I am an only child, so she is like a sister to me. As I grew up, I experienced life right alongside her.”

Belle quickly lived up to her reputation as an all-around horse, actively competing with Penn at AQHA breed shows, open and 4-H circuits throughout Florida, show jumping events, and excelling in western trail competitions. Belle even pulled a cart for a time.

When Penn was 18, she started her own lesson program with Belle as her equine partner. “Belle provided a solid foundation for many riders, both young and old,” she said. “She not only taught me how to become a horsewoman, but she has also impacted so many young people’s lives and taught them showmanship skills. She’s special to me and my mother Becky, but also to so many people who have gone on to become very successful horsemen and horsewomen.”

Belle was partially retired in 2018, and was the guest of honor at Penn’s wedding the same year. The mare gave her last lesson about six months ago. She was still being ridden once a week with the occasional trail or pony ride for yet another up-and-coming rider.

Belle was thriving until colic threatened to disrupt her retirement.

On Saturday morning, February 1, Belle had not been drinking from her water buckets, did not finish her breakfast, and had only passed manure twice throughout the night before. Penn took these abnormal behaviors very seriously. “She’s tough as nails, so she was not showing any signs of discomfort; she was just standing there quietly in her stall. By knowing her habits we were able to identify a problem and make early decisions.”

Belle was initially treated by her primary veterinarian, Dr. Kelly Alderman of Alderman Veterinary Services based in Fellsmere, FL. Based on Dr. Alderman’s recommendation, Belle was transported to Dr. Karie Vander Werf’s Treasure Coast Equine Emergency Services in Palm City, FL, where an ultrasound on Sunday showed an impaction in the large intestines and displacement of the small intestines.

“It was very obvious to us that if we were going to consider surgery, we would have to do it sooner rather than later,” said Penn. “The decision was made to preserve her strength and transport her to Palm Beach Equine Clinic for Dr. Weston Davis to operate on her.

“It was because of his confidence in the surgery despite her age, that I was at peace with the decision to proceed with surgery,” continued Penn.

One of three board-certified surgeons at Palm Beach Equine Clinic, Dr. Weston Davis performed the emergency colic surgery to remove a right dorsal impaction in the large colon and correct a severe displacement caused by altered motility within the intestines.

“Her primary veterinarian had done everything that she could medically do for the horse before referring the case to Palm Beach Equine Clinic,” said Dr. Davis. “In some colic cases, a prolonged course of medical treatments might result in the horse no longer being a surgical candidate. When things were not improving quickly enough, the horse was sent to us. Our main concern was to determine if Belle was as healthy a surgical candidate as she could possibly be.”

According to Dr. Davis, Belle’s physical examination and blood work revealed her to be a very healthy, albeit geriatric, colic case. “She is the oldest horse that I have performed colic surgery on. At the time of her arrival, Belle was well-hydrated with balanced electrolytes levels and stable organ systems. She was an overall good candidate for colic surgery, even at 33 years old,” he said.

While not every geriatric colic case is well-suited for surgical intervention, Dr. Davis considers two factors before moving forward with any surgery. “The surgery has to make sense for the horse, meaning that they are a healthy candidate with the ability to recover, and they have the will to live,” said Dr. Davis, who noticed how resilient Belle was from the moment he saw her. “The other point is that the surgery needs to be financially reasonable for the client. In Belle’s case, there was a will to live, and a strong emotional connection with this horse.”

After a successful colic surgery, Belle was moved to the Palm Beach Equine Clinic Hospital for recovery where she was cared for round-the-clock by Dr. Candelaria Chunco and hospital staff.

“Dr. Davis and Dr. Chunco were fantastic,” said Penn. “They were both so kind, and I received regular text updates. I knew that they were invested in her recovery. When she stood up after anesthesia, I remember Dr. Davis saying to me, ‘this horse is a badass,’ and she really is!”

Belle returned home to Vero Beach on February 19, and celebrated her 34th birthday on March 27. “Her recovery was slow, but she is doing well, regaining an appetite, working her way back to regular turnout, and starting to act like her old self again,” said Penn. “She is an incredibly special horse to not only me and my mother, but to my husband, family, friends, and the horse community here. It’s so wonderful to have her back home.”

Palm Beach Equine Clinic continues to stay up to date on COVID-19 developments and will update our clients, partners and fellow equestrians as the situation progresses. Contact Palm Beach Equine Clinic at 561-793-1599 for questions or to speak with a veterinarian.

Palm Beach Equine Clinic
www.EquineClinic.com
561-793-1599

Hats Off to the Horses 2020 Continues with the Slim Shadey Chapeau

Dagmar Steiner and Slim Shadey at Old Friends (Photo: Laura Battles)

GEORGETOWN, KY – APRIL 3, 2020 –  The annual “Hats Off to the Horses: The Road to the Derby” online fashion auction continues this week with a new Derby-style chapeau going on the virtual block to raise money for Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Facility in Georgetown, KY.

This is the 11th consecutive year that Old Friends has joined with acclaimed milliner Sally Faith Steinmann of the Massachusetts-based Maggie Mae Designs® to auction off four handcrafted Derby hats between January and April, each inspired by one of the non-profit organization’s 200-plus retired racehorses. To date this online fundraiser has garnered nearly $40,000 for Old Friends.

This new hat was inspired by graded stakes winner Slim Shadey, and it is showcased here by equine artist Dagmar Galleithner-Steiner.

The hat will be up for bid for 10 days only from 8 pm (EST) April 1st through 8 pm (EST) on April 11th. Interested bidders can go to the Old Friends website at www.oldfriendsequine.org and follow the link, or CLICK HERE to visit our eBay page.

To read more and to view additional images of the hat, CLICK HERE.

About the Horse

A two-time graded-stakes winner, Slim Shadey — by 2001 Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Val Royal (FR) out of the Chief’s Crown mare Vino Veritas — was bred in Great Britain by Phil Cunningham and spent two seasons racing throughout England and Ireland. He made his U.S. debut for Cunningham and trainer Simon Callaghan in 2012 at Santa Anita, kicking off what was to become his banner season.

In February of 2012 Slim captured his first graded stakes, the Grade 2 San Marco at Santa Anita (a race he would capture again in 2013). Then, in September, Slim took the top spot in the Grade 2 John Henry Turf Championship, which served as a stepping stone to a run in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf where he finished 8th (a few lengths behind the winner, Old Friends retiree Little Mike). By 2014, the now 6-year-old Slim began a series of claims. In 2018 Slim was claimed by owner Michael Hui for trainer Mike Maker.  After a series of unsuccessful starts for his new connections, the time finally came for Slim to hang up his racing plates.

About the Hat

Since Slim raced for several different stables Steinmann used a combination of his pink, black, and white silks for the trimmings of this stunning Derby hat.

A large foundation was created using a base layer of soft pink dupioni silk. The brim was then trimmed with a single layer of pink silk organza ruffle, which allows the light to pass through the sheer fabric. A fancy black braiding was top stitched where the silk layer meets the brim edge. To further showcase racing silk colors, a large rose curl, created out of alternating layers of pink dupioni silk and white silk organza, adorns the front of the hat.

For the final touches, a medley of black and white silk organza “feathers” were added, a black satin sash encircles the crown, and a black pebble button edged in gold adorns the sash in the back.

The hat is stunning from every angle and measures approximately 21 inches end to end. The lining for the “Slim Shadey” was done is a soft pink satin to coordinate with the floral trim.

As a physical remembrance, several strands of Slim’s tail hair have been braided and woven into the trim.

Our thanks go out to artist Dagmar Steiner for helping with this year’s “Hats Off to the Horses” and also to Old Friends volunteer and photographer Laura Battles for her stunning images.

Bidding on the “Slim Shadey is open now.

For more information about Old Friends, see their website at www.oldfriendsequine.org or call the farm at (502) 863-1775.

Maggie Mae Designs® Custom Millinery offers magnificent hats for all occasions, from glamorous racing events such as the Kentucky Derby and the Royal Ascot to stunning bridal wear and handsome cocktail fashions. Every hat is carefully handcrafted by milliner Sally Faith Steinmann from her home base in South Harwich, MA. Salons of her fashions can be seen on her website at www.maggiemaedesigns.com.

MEDIA CONTACT: Cynthia Grisolia, (347) 423-7322, cindy@oldfriendsequine.org; Maggie Mae Designs (508) 430-1626, sally@maggiemae.com

Stop Wild Horse Eradication Plan in Caliente Complex

The Cloud Foundation is fighting hard in federal court to stop BLM from zeroing out — or permanently removing — ALL wild horses in the remaining 6 HMAs of the Caliente Complex of eastern Nevada. While BLM claims the horses are destroying the range, they continue to permit thousands of cattle to graze in the same area.

Last month, a federal judge issued a ruling against us and the 1700+ wild horses who live in Caliente. Now the Cloud Foundation, along with Western Watershed Projects, is preparing to fight this bad ruling.

Our legal team is getting ready to file the appeal. We cannot concede defeat. If we do, these horses will lose their freedom forever — 1,700 more victims of the BLM’s sick system of wild horse imprisonment.

Lawsuits are expensive and we need your help. Thousands of wild horses are slated for removal if we don’t prevail.

We know this is a big ask in these unprecedented times. But without your help, these magnificent animals will lose their families and their freedom, and some will likely lose their lives. Please donate if you can to this worthy cause. Together, we will fight with everything we’ve got to keep them free. That’s our promise to you, and to them.

No donation is too small (or too big!). We know these are extraordinary times, but YOU are extraordinary people. Thank you for everything you do, for how much you care, and for your support of our work.

The Cloud Foundation
107 South 7th St
Colorado Springs, CO 80905
www.thecloudfoundation.org

Old Friends Debuts Virtual Tours

GEORGETOWN, KY – MARCH 30 2020 –  Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Facility in Kentucky, debuted the first in a series of Virtual Farm Tours that will enable fans to continue to access the non-profit organization’s 100-plus equine retirees at its Georgetown location during the COVID-19 quarantine.

The series, dubbed “Monday Mornings with Michael”, is hosted by Old Friends founder Michael Blowen and will offer short visits with a few equine retirees each week. They will be posted on Old Friends social media platforms on Monday mornings and will also be available via their website and YouTube channel.

The first video showcases Old Friends’ oldest retires, multiple stakes winner Dinard, who is 32, and one-time claimer Archie’s Echo, who is 31.

You can see it on YouTube by CLICKING HERE.

For more information, visit www.oldfriendsequine.org.

MEDIA CONTACT: Cynthia Grisolia, (502) 863-1775, cindy@oldfriendsequine.org; or Barbara Fossum, (502) 863-1775, barbara@oldfriendsequine.org

Old Friends Statement Regarding Death of War Emblem

War Emblem at Old Friends (Photo: Laura Battles)

GEORGETOWN, KY – MARCH 24, 2020 –  Michael Blowen, founder and President of Old Friends, the nonprofit Thoroughbred Retirement Farm based in Kentucky, released the findings of the necropsy report regarding the recent passing of 2002 Kentucky Derby – Preakness winner War Emblem.

War Emblem, 21, was found deceased at Old Friends on March 11, 2020 after what was initially perceived to be a fatal paddock accident. A full medical report was, at that time, pending.

The following statement was issued by Old Friends resident veterinarian, Dr. Bryan Waldridge of Park Equine Hospital in Versailles, KY:

“After War Emblem’s sudden death, a complete necropsy was performed at the University of Kentucky Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. The cause of death was ruptured small intestine. The cause of the tear in his small intestine could not be determined by anatomic or microscopic examination. No strangulation or displacement of the small intestine was present. Rupture of the small intestine without a predisposing cause is an uncommon and, unfortunately, fatal injury.”

“We were very proud to be given the opportunity to repatriate War Emblem when his stallion career came to an end, and we were lucky enough to have him with us for nearly five years,” said Blowen. “His great speed, great beauty, intelligence, and distinct personality made him one of our most popular and beloved retirees, visited by hundreds of fans weekly, even in our off season.

“Our entire staff was devastated by his unexpected passing,” Blowen added. “We’ll all miss him terribly.”

For more information, please call (502) 863-1775 or visit the website at www.oldfriendsequine.org.

MEDIA CONTACT: Cynthia Grisolia, (347) 423-7322, cindy@oldfriendsequine.org; Michael Blowen (502) 863-1775, michael@oldfriendsequine.org

Black Mountain Burros Need Your Voice – NOW

The BLM is pushing a 10-year plan that would destroy America’s last large and genetically-healthy wild burro population. The proposal would roundup 1,250 of the 1,700 burros (nearly 75%) and artificially skew the female-to-male ratio which would likely cause tremendous social disruption.

We are calling on BLM to abandon the proposed massive roundup plan, and instead utilize humane on-the-range management. We’re asking them to create a Black Mountain Burro Range, which would eliminate livestock grazing and protect this cherished burro population and all wildlife for years to come. Please act to protect these beautiful burros NOW!

COVID19: Rewilding Our Relationship with the World

In a rapidly changing world, one thing is for certain. Humanity needs to take a hard look at our relationship to animals and nature. In this article from The CANA Foundation, the link is established between the exploitation of animals in the wet markets of Asia and the callous treatment of our wild horses, though they are not yet slaughter-bound, for private gain.

As an organization dedicated to protecting wildlife on our wild lands, TCF advocates respect for all species. As the article states, “We must REWILD our way of thinking. We have to take a step back and see that the greatest and most important assets that we have are the lands and the animals that call them home. Somewhere in the connection between those two things and us, lies our humanity, and we desperately need to find it again.”

The Cloud Foundation
107 South 7th St
Colorado Springs, CO 80905
www.thecloudfoundation.org

Old Friends Welcomes Pollard’s Vision

GEORGETOWN, KY – MARCH 16, 2020 – Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Facility in Georgetown, KY, has welcomed new retiree Pollard’s Vision.

The multiple graded stakes winner and one-time Kentucky Derby hopeful, who is now 19, arrived from Mighty Acres in Pryor, OK, where he has stood since 2015.

Blind in his right eye since birth, Pollard’s Vision was named after Seabiscuit jockey Red Pollard.

Bred in Kentucky by Charles A. Smith, Pollard’s Vision (Carson City – Etats Unis, by Dixieland Band) was campaigned by owner Edgewood farm and trainer Todd Pletcher. A consistent performer throughout his career, the dark bay colt broke his maiden as a 2-year-old at Saratoga in only his second start. At three, he captured his first stakes and punched his ticket to the Churchill Downs starting gate on the First Saturday in May by winning the Grade 2 Illinois Derby in a wire-to-wire victory.

His 2004 Kentucky Derby run resulted in a 17th place finish, but Pollard’s Vision went on that year to capture the Grade 3 Lone Star Derby, the Grade 3 Leonard Richards Stakes, and, as a 4-year-old, the Grade 3 National Jockey Club Handicap.

He suffered a career ending injury in 2005 in the Grade 1 Whitney Handicap at Saratoga and was retired.

Pollard’s Vision began his stud career at Wintergreen farm in Kentucky. He relocated to Waldorf Farm in NY in 2013 and to Mighty Acres in 2015.

He is the sire of six-time Grade 1 winner, Eclipse Champion, and 2020 Hall of Fame nominee Blind Luck as well as Grade 1 placed Twentytwentyvision, among other stakes winners.

“We’re very grateful to everyone at Mighty Acres, especially Randy Blair, for allowing Old Friends to care for Pollard’s Vision in his golden years,” said Old Friends founder and President Michael Blowen. “I remember him so well when he was racing and I’m thrilled that, now, I’ll be able to see him every day.”

(Please note: Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, Old Friends remains closed to public tours until further notice.)

For more information, please call (502) 863-1775 or visit the website at www.oldfriendsequine.org.

MEDIA CONTACT: Cynthia Grisolia, (347) 423-7322, cindy@oldfriendsequine.org; Michael Blowen (502) 863-1775, michael@oldfriendsequine.org

GEORGETOWN, KY – MARCH 16, 2020 – Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Facility in Georgetown, KY, has welcomed new retiree Pollard’s Vision.

The multiple graded stakes winner and one-time Kentucky Derby hopeful, who is now 19, arrived from Mighty Acres in Pryor, OK, where he has stood since 2015.

Blind in his right eye since birth, Pollard’s Vision was named after Seabiscuit jockey Red Pollard.

Bred in Kentucky by Charles A. Smith, Pollard’s Vision (Carson City – Etats Unis, by Dixieland Band) was campaigned by owner Edgewood farm and trainer Todd Pletcher. A consistent performer throughout his career, the dark bay colt broke his maiden as a 2-year-old at Saratoga in only his second start. At three, he captured his first stakes and punched his ticket to the Churchill Downs starting gate on the First Saturday in May by winning the Grade 2 Illinois Derby in a wire-to-wire victory.

His 2004 Kentucky Derby run resulted in a 17th place finish, but Pollard’s Vision went on that year to capture the Grade 3 Lone Star Derby, the Grade 3 Leonard Richards Stakes, and, as a 4-year-old, the Grade 3 National Jockey Club Handicap.

He suffered a career ending injury in 2005 in the Grade 1 Whitney Handicap at Saratoga and was retired.

Pollard’s Vision began his stud career at Wintergreen farm in Kentucky. He relocated to Waldorf Farm in NY in 2013 and to Mighty Acres in 2015.

He is the sire of six-time Grade 1 winner, Eclipse Champion, and 2020 Hall of Fame nominee Blind Luck as well as Grade 1 placed Twentytwentyvision, among other stakes winners.

“We’re very grateful to everyone at Mighty Acres, especially Randy Blair, for allowing Old Friends to care for Pollard’s Vision in his golden years,” said Old Friends founder and President Michael Blowen. “I remember him so well when he was racing and I’m thrilled that, now, I’ll be able to see him every day.”

(Please note: Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, Old Friends remains closed to public tours until further notice.)

For more information, please call (502) 863-1775 or visit the website at www.oldfriendsequine.org.

MEDIA CONTACT: Cynthia Grisolia, (347) 423-7322, cindy@oldfriendsequine.org; Michael Blowen (502) 863-1775, michael@oldfriendsequine.org

Equine Coronavirus vs. COVID-19: Two Distinctly Different Diseases

The recent spread of the novel coronavirus has raised serious concerns as the status continues to evolve. As equine veterinarians, Palm Beach Equine Clinic would like to address the questions and concern raised by horse owners regarding the potential impact of this disease on the equine industry.

Coronaviruses include a large group of RNA viruses that cause respiratory and enteric symptoms, and have been reported in domestic and wild animals. Equine Enteric Coronavirus and COVID-19 are both coronaviruses; however, they are distinctly different viruses.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), infectious disease experts, and multiple international and national human and animal health organizations have stated that at this time there is NO EVIDENCE to indicate that horses could contract COVID-19 or that horses would be able to spread the disease to other animals or humans. Equine enteric coronavirus and COVID-19 are NOT the same strain, and there is no indication that either are transmissible between species.

Therefore, it is important to concentrate on the health of our equestrians by being precautious and following recommendations from public health officials. Palm Beach Equine Clinic will continue to make every effort to stay informed on the developments with COVID-19, and will continue to provide expert veterinary care to all horses regardless of the status of this disease.

A Profile of Equine Enteric Coronavirus

Equine coronavirus is an enteric, or gastrointestinal, disease in the horse. There is NO EVIDENCE that equine enteric coronavirus poses a threat to humans or other species of animals.

  • Transmission: Equine coronavirus is transmitted between horses when manure from an infected horse is ingested by another horse (fecal-oral transmission), or if a horse makes oral contact with items or surfaces that have been contaminated with infected manure.
  • Common Clinical Signs: Typically mild signs that may include anorexia, lethargy, fever, colic, or diarrhea.
  • Diagnosis: Veterinarians diagnose equine enteric coronavirus by testing fecal samples, and the frequency of this disease is low.
  • Treatment and Prevention: If diagnosed, treatment is supportive care, such as fluid therapy and anti-inflammatories, and establishing good biosecurity precautions of quarantining the infected horse. Keeping facilities as clean as possible by properly disposing of manure will help decrease chances of horses contracting the virus.

Information for this notice was compiled using the following sources:

Cornell Animal Health Diagnostic Center

American Association of Equine Practitioners, Equine Disease Communication Center

CONTACT PALM BEACH EQUINE CLINIC

Wild Horses Are Native to North America, Right?

Written in 2008, this short article provides a great overview in layman’s terms of why our magnificent wild horses are a reintroduced native species to North America. Dr. Jay Kirkpatrick, researcher of reproductive physiology and developer of the groundbreaking PZP fertility control vaccine, along with Dr. Patricia Fazio, researcher of equid evolution, outline facts that simply don’t change: Equus Caballus, the modern horse, originated and evolved here in North America and therefore must be a native species.

The Cloud Foundation
107 South 7th St
Colorado Springs, CO 80905
www.thecloudfoundation.org

Say “NO!” to NEPA Changes

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is arguably the most important environmental law in the United States. Facts, science, public input, and minimizing negative impacts to the environment are the cornerstones of this essential law.

NEPA provides protections for our wild horses, the environment, clean water, clean air, and all wildlife. The federal government is proposing new rules that would gut NEPA regulations and eliminate or reduce public participation, sidestep environmental analysis, and allow industry (such as livestock interests, mining, drilling, logging, etc.) to write their own environmental reviews. This is categorically unacceptable and contrary to the original intent of the law.

Please take just a minute to submit comments telling the government to abandon this dangerous proposal.

The Cloud Foundation
107 South 7th St
Colorado Springs, CO 80905
www.thecloudfoundation.org