Anne’s “War Horse” Shadow

Shadow is 24 years old—for a horse that’s getting on in years. In human years, he would be 70 years old. So, Shadow is no youngster. Yet, he is a very lucky horse. From the age of 6 months, he has always been Anne’s horse. Like humans, horses play many different roles in life. Some horses are regularly auctioned, moving from home to home. Others find themselves in rescue homes because of neglect by the owner. Or for the fortunate few, some horses have forever homes.

At 2:00 in the afternoon on Jan 31, 2024, Anne got a call from Dawn at Rising Hope Farm. She told her that Shadow had an accident and tore off the side of his front left-inside hoof. Dawn found him by the round bale, hay feeder standing in a pool of blood. As a result, Anne raced to the stables, half expecting to put her horse down.

Shadow has a history of hoof problems. In fact—in 2023 his right front hoof became abscessed, resulting in a long crack running from the top of the hoof to the bottom. The crack never healed, so her farrier made a flexible, flip-flop half-rubber shoe to reinforce the hoof.

Besides hoof problems, in 2014 Shadow was diagnosed with melanoma, an incurable cancer. The disease caused him to develop polyp-like bumps inside his mouth, along his tail, and inside his intestinal tract.

In 2022, he came down with a mysterious illness that two vets attributed to a tick-borne disease. His throat was swollen, he had yellow snot flowing out of his nose, and he found it hard to swallow. Then a couple of other horses in the barn became ill with the same malady. Another veterinarian, Michelle, was called and she discovered that the horses had Strangles, a communicable disease.

Strangles is a common disease among horses and is frequently fatal. The disease infects the upper respiratory tract, resulting in inflammation of lymph nodes in the pharynx, larynx, and trachea. Because of the swelling, the airways oftentimes become obstructed which can lead to death.

So, when Anne made her way up to the stables her thoughts were clouded with apprehension and the possibility that Shadow’s luck had run out. When she arrived she realized the prognosis wasn’t good, the wound was ripe for infection. The days that followed were crucial for Shadow’s survival. Anne knew that a rigorous routine of cleaning, sterilizing the wound, and wrapping the hoof would make the difference between life and death for her horse. Thus began a struggle to save Shadow’s life—requiring Anne to spend many long hours each day in the care of her horse.

Shadow’s health improved. Now, he was confined to the barn as his hoof began it grow back. About three weeks later, the farrier, Lee Morris, looked at the hoof and knew exactly what to do. He had seen the same thing on a horse he shod in England several years prior. Therefore, he gave Shadow a specially made, round shoe to reinforce the hoof.

Three months passed, and Shadow found himself confined to his stall in the barn. Anne supplemented his diet with CEP Hoof Rx which contains a blend of vitamins, minerals, and multiple amino acids to improve overall hoof health.

Although the injury was severe, Shadow never became lame, and Anne could ride him. Yet, she was concerned that in the fields his wound could become infected. Needless to say, Shadow became restless while he watched the other horses enjoying themselves in the pasture. After all, April brought fresh, green grass and warm weather.

Now that his hoof hardened and had mostly grown in, Shadow joined the other horses in the pasture.

Fortunately, Shadow survived, and Anne nicknamed him her “War Horse”. They look forward to many adventures together as the season changes—summer is not long away. I wish them both, a long life—and of course—Happy Trails.


Copyright © 2024 Patricia Miran All Rights Reserved

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