|When Jake came to the MMSC in February, I wasn’t sure if we could find him a person and a new home, but I hoped against hope that we could!|
I had had other horses with EPM during my six year tenure at the MMSC, so I wasn’t flummoxed with Jake’s diagnosis. I first battled this degenerative nerve disease in the early 90s with one of my own horses. I treated it as my vet recommended with the anti-protozoan drug Marquis and stopped working my horse for a while. He recovered and went on to a successful competitive career.
The day he was diagnosed with EPM was the first day we had ridden him. After his three year hiatus on the farm, Jake started his training reactive, distractible, and very out of shape. So we had decided to go slow: lots of natural horsemanship, bomb proofing, long lining and groundwork. I was keen to have a solid partnership built on the ground before trying to move on and up-in the saddle. Given that we had only ridden him once, a week off work was not going to set him back much if at all.
Everyone was told about Jake’s issues: a bum knee, bowed tendons, and EPM. I knew that most would be scared by that laundry list but I hoped against hope, that maybe someone would see what I saw in this special horse. A few people did ride him and commented on how lovely he was, but left it at that. One person, however, liked him so much she wanted to come back and try him again.
|Jake had progressed so in his health and training in a mere six weeks that we felt he was ready to go to a small show in May. We were so proud of him! He got ribbons in every class! Even in the beginner cross rail class!|
The next day as I watched Carolyn ride Jake he seemed tense and back sore. “He is not himself today and he’s not breathing right,” she said. I couldn’t hear much from the ground, so I got up on him myself. Yes, he was back sore and tense, stiffer to the right than to the left, but stiffness can happen at any time, especially to seasoned racehorses. But what was disturbing was the raspy rattle when he breathed.
|Jake and his new person Susan.|
“And I deserve a horse like this!!!”
She squealed with delight.