Another Gatsby Baby

Another Gatsby baby arrived at our farm yesterday. His name is Winston and he is 5 years old. He is here to be sold under Julie. I cannot wait to see him develop as a hunter under her guidance. He's five years old and has been started over fences. He's cute (duh), sensible, quiet, easy...and did I mention cute?? I'll post some video once he is settled in.

He gets his ears from his Dad

Big Brother, Little Sister



Under Saddle

I have decided to go ahead and start Olivia under saddle. She is back to full health and is thriving in her environment so I thought the time was perfect. We have been working on very small things: steering, moving forward, and understanding leg aids. She catches on quickly. Her steering has improved greatly and she moves off my leg nicely. Carrying a dressage whip has greatly improved our forward movement. I'm not sure what it is about it, but just having it in hand (or even tucked under my armpit) keeps her moving right along. We last about 15-20 minutes and then we call it quits. Nothing too strenuous and only keeping it at a walk/trot level. We've been doing this about 2-3 times a week when the weather permits. It's an amazing feeling to be on my own horse!!!

Post Hospital Stay Colitis Treatment

After Olivia's colitis caused her to have a prolapsed rectum (I'll spare you the photos), it was determined it would be best to completely take her off all hay. Olivia's total protein levels (albumin + globulin) were off the charts low indicating her colon was ulcerated and leaking protein out. When doing a tap of her lower belly, protein levels were high, confirming the colon was leaking the protein. The level we were most concerned about was her albumin level, which in mid December was 1.2 resulting in a total of protein level of 2.5. Normal albumin levels for the adult range is between 2.3 and 3.8 and total protein levels are 5.4 to 7.8.

We switched Olivia's grain from Triple Crown Growth to Triple Crown Senior, as the Senior is a complete feed and a better option for digestibility given seniors with no teeth can eat it. We slowly increased the amount until she was being fed about 5lbs 4x a day.  She had lost probably 200+ pounds in 1 month which was significant for her. Every rib was visible as well as her spine and tailbone.

Her medication concoction consisted of:

  • 10 Sucralfates 2x a day (this is a medication that coats the colon and stomach to alleviate discomfort)
  • Gastroguard (later switched to Abler's omeprazole)- given 2 hours BEFORE the sucralfates to allow for absorption 
  • Assure Plus in AM/PM feed
  • Probiotic (My favorite and arguably the most effective on Olivia is the gel paste by Probios)
This daily treatment was also on top of bandage changes for her knee AND a lidocaine steroid gel concoction applied to her rectum every few hours.

To say the guys at my barn who care for our horses are amazing is a complete understatement! It took a village to get Olivia healthy, but with the most amazing care in the world, she got there! I always promised I would do everything in my power for her and exceptional care is something I take extremely seriously. There are, hands down, no better caretakers in this world than the guys who work at our barn.  These guys love these horses like their own and I couldn't be more blessed to have them caring for Olivia.

As Olivia's blood work slowly but surely showed positive trends over the next several months we were able to begin adding hay products back into her diet. She did a full 2 months with absolutely zero hay. We first started back with Triple Crown's Alfalfa Forage Blend soaked in water with Flaxseed Oil added for lubrication. After doing some research on different oils, I chose flaxseed oil due to its high content of omega 3's. Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid (EFA) that supports immune health, aids in reduction of inflammation, and also supports in the prevention of gastric ulcers. Within several weeks we slowly increased her allotment of this until she was getting a full 1 gallon size bucket full of this wetted and oiled concoction. From there, we added back just a handful (like 1/8 of a flake) of regular long stemmed fescue orchard mixed hay, soaked and oiled as well. We increased it over several weeks alongside the Alfalfa forage she was getting. During this process we continued with blood work to watch her progress internally. Eventually, with the advice of my vet, we started giving her small amounts of regular dry hay. She tolerated it just fine with no symptoms of discomfort.

Today, she is back to eating just regular hay out of a slow feeder hay net, her grain ration has decreased, and she is off the sucralfates, Assure Plus, and omeprezale. She is healthy and happy and sassy as ever with just a Smartpak that gives her prebiotics, probiotics, omega 3's as well as some garlic flakes for immune support.

Dull coat but starting to gain weight

Back home. Post mane falling out. Good weight gain & healthy coat returning

Coosa Valley Equine Center. Part 2

We made it to The University of Georgia vet hospital in the middle of the night, around 2am. [Note: This was early December]. She was so dehydrated that her blood was incredibly thick. The lab machine wasn't even able to recognize it as blood. She was immediately hooked up to IV fluids. More tests confirmed she was going into kidney failure.

Without assigning blame, the doctors indicated there was no way this level of dehydration was possible within 24 hours (since she'd been home from the other clinic).

Upon morning I contact the other clinic (Coosa Valley Equine Center) to receive her full medical records. Her diarrhea had started much earlier in the week. I was never once informed of the diarrhea. I asked if they had run blood work once her diarrhea had started and they said yes. I asked for the results, given that no blood tests showed up on my detailed bill. The blood results given to me were hand written.

I have every.single.reason to believe Coosa Valley Equine Center 100% missed the boat on Olivia's care. The photo, as seen in my post below, shows a significant amount of diarrhea in her tail as she's walking out of their clinic. Upon arriving at UGA she was immediately placed in isolation, as they didn't know the cause of her diarrhea. Her entire stay at Coosa Valley Equine Center she remained in general admission. UGA repeated fecal tests several times to ensure she didn't have contagious diseases, Coosa Valley Equine Center never did this.

My horse will never return to that clinic again. I fear for every horse in that clinic. Not only do I feel the medical care given there is poor, I also feel they severely lack precautions in the spread of contagious diseases. Olivia had a textbook case of colitis that was NEVER recognized by Coosa Valley Equine Center. They were administering high doses of bute and antibiotics to a horse that was just a part of a horrific barn fire. Three for three on causes of colitis. Why they didn't take REAL blood tests is beyond me. Why they didn't give fluids to a horse with raging diarrhea is beyond me. Why they didn't tell me she had diarrhea is beyond me. WHY THEY SENT HER HOME with raging diarrhea is BEYOND ME.

Because of the neglect of Coosa Valley Equine Center, Olivia spent 4 weeks total at the University of Georgia fighting for her life. She survived and recovered from severe dehydration, severe kidney damage that shouldn't have rectified itself, and a prolapsed rectum all from her severe colitis case.

We are now five months into recovery. It has been a long journey of healing but my miracle baby has once again overcome the worst. There were several times the doctors said "a normal horse would be dead right now, but she's fighting so hard we're still having to sedate her." They say you know when a horse stops fighting...and I am so so so glad my baby has never reached that point.

She is a sassy, strong, whole-hearted fighter that is truly on this earth for a purpose.
Isolation at UGA. She had ice on for 24/7 for 4-5 days

Before she went off hay permanently 

One of my many visits 

Coosa Valley Equine Center. Part 1

We decided to keep Olivia at the clinic (Coosa Valley Equine Center in Pell City, Alabama) for a day or two so the stress of another trailer ride wouldn't "do her in". I always try to make the best decisions for her and at the time, that's what felt right. Little did I know it was just about one of the worst decisions I could have ever made.

I should have brought her home, I should have kept her with me, I should have never trusted her in the care of someone I didn't know. But in all honestly, it is not my nature to question a vet.

I called the clinic every day to get an update on her. 1-2 days turned into a full week. They wanted to keep her until her lameness at the walk had subsided. Every day they told me she was doing great, she was improving.

When we got the OK to bring her home (which I *never* rushed) I was in week 1 of my new job so my parents drove down to Alabama to get her. I told my mom to take pictures, and I'm thankful she did. My mom told me her butt was covered in poop and the vet told her it was simply because of her food change.

[Side Note: I brought a bag of Olivia's food with me Day 1. She had been on Triple Crown Growth since she was 3 or 4 months old and had never had a food change in her life. They told me they didn't need her food - they were going to simplify her diet and just give her plain oats. It's what they felt was "best" for their horses at the clinic]

I met her off the trailer when she arrived home. It was late but I spent some time hugging and loving on her because I was so happy she was home. 

The next morning I went straight to the [temporary] barn. It was early December so it was ice cold outside. We had set up camp at the local horse show facility and it was Week 1 of a busy A show. I had noticed and smelled her diarrhea soaked tail the night before so I set out to get that mess cleaned up. As I was washing her tail in the wash rack, she stood perfectly ground tied as I ran freezing water through her tail. This was when my gut pinged me and said something wasn't right.

I called my vet.

While waiting for her to come I took her back to her stall and encouraged her to drink some water. She drank just over 1/2 a bucket of water.

The vet arrived and she wanted me to watch her water intake closely. We talked about tubing her and giving her fluids but since she just had 1/2 a bucket of water she didn't feel comfortable giving her sedation drugs or putting her through the additional stress of that. After all, the poor baby really had been through the ringer in the last week. We gave her some gastro guard and syringed some salt water in her mouth in hopes it would encourage some additional fluid intake.

That evening at around 11pm one of our caretakers called and said Olivia wasn't doing well and I needed to call the vet out. I called the vet and immediately headed that way. Our vet was already there when I arrived. She was getting ready to tube her to give her fluids.

I'll never forget what happened after we tubed her. She laid down to rest. I sat down with her and put her head on my lap. I sat there rubbing her head while the vet called The University of Georgia to refer her in. My dad was on his way to hook up the trailer so we could take her. And on my lap she started convulsing. I jumped up right away and we immediately tried to get her up. She wouldn't get up. I ran, sobbing, to find our guys and they came running. We had to tie ropes around her to get her to stand. I was behind her pushing, crying, and kicking her begging her to get up while the vet and two guys pulled on three ropes. I remember the vet yelling at Olivia to quit scaring her momma like this.

She finally got up... 

Not even 24 hours from being home from Coosa Valley Equine Center was she almost dead on my lap. If night check hadn't of happened that evening, Olivia wouldn't have made it through the night and we likely would've found her dead in her stall.

Olivia's Bone Fracture & Puncture Wound

The day of the fire Olivia's wound was examined by the vet who looked at all the surviving horses. Miraculously, Olivia is the only one who ended up with a wound. We believe she hit it on the corner of a metal mounting block. After the fire she was found in the arena with her other baby friend, frantic as you can imagine.

I returned home from North Carolina on Saturday, two days after the fire. Olivia had been hand walked by my friends while I was gone. She seemed to be doing good, but due to the location of the puncture the vet wanted us to keep a close eye on her. An infection making its way to the joint was a possibility since it was right on her knee. The day of the fire she was injected with antibiotics as a precaution, but it was still something to watch for. 

When I got home I went straight to see her. And much to my dismay, she was in a tremendous amount of pain. She barely wanted to move in her stall to greet me. When I brought her out she was barely even baring any weight on it. I called the vet back out. She immediately suggested that we head to the surgery clinic in fear an infection was seeding in her knee.
Heading the the Clinic
Once we got to the clinic [review on this clinic coming soon!], we took X RAYS and determined there was no infection in the joint. 
Puncture Wound
But what was determined was that she fractured her knee.  It was minor but was the source of her pain. You can see the chip below on the X RAY, look to the bottom left and you can see the chip splintered out from the knee. This image was taken straight on with her knee flexed back. 

Bone Fracture 
We decided to keep her at the clinic. Since the drive was 2 hours we didn't want to risk any further complications with added stress. In hindsight, I wish I had taken her home, but more to come on that later...

11.27.14 Lost but Never Forgotten

I wanted to make a post with pictures of the horses we lost in the fire. These horses were considered companions, friends, family, amazing athletes, and champions. The loss of these horses was huge. The devastation even larger. We still cry. We still talk about the memories. Together we've become stronger from this experience. New Vintage Farm is a family now, and we have a bond that many will never understand.






Savvy and Dutch


Cheyenne & Biscuit



Clyde & Donkee

Valentino and Chaparra