I took care of my Quarter Horse "Tappy" this afternoon, cleaned his stall, groomed him, and took him for a walk. After giving him his supplements, I left for home around 7pm. Just an ordinary day, and a happy healthy horse.
Just a short while later;
My Mom was at a meeting at church when Sara Leslie (who owns Tappy's next door neighbor Bouwe) called at 7:57pm to say he was having severe colic (stomach ache) couldn't stay on his feet, and that she would continue walking him until we got there. It's very dangerous for a colicking horse to roll and thrash around, but that's what they want do when their stomach hurts. Mom came straight home to get the drug box, and me (couldn't reach me, my phone died). When we got to the barn, Sara and Tanja Richman-LaStella were having a lot of trouble keeping him on his feet, he was literally falling over. Within three minutes of arriving, Mom gave him 10cc Banamine IV (standard dose of pain killer for colic), and it gave him NO relief! Now we were getting really scared.
I started asking around for a large trailer to use to take him to the hospital, one where he could turn around in, or even lay down while we were driving. Sara graciously let us use her three horse slant trailer, and Barbara Watkins lent us a hitch. Tanja and Barbara helped my Mom with Tappy while Sara and I got the trailer ready.
Tappy loaded right in, and immediately laid down, and we drove him to Steinbeck Country Equine Hospital in Salinas. The have not only the best facility, staff and Doctors, but are ready day or night for emergencies. Dr. Garvey sedated Tappy the moment he came out of the trailer, and gave him more pain medicine - but he continued to get worse. My Mom asked the Staff if we could give him to them, just so he could be saved. I realized my parents couldn't afford surgery, we don't have insurance on him, and his grave condition left him little time. Dr. Tim Easton finally came into the stall to tell us that if we were going to consider surgery the time was now, or it would be too late. Mom called Dad, and they decided that we hadto try and help him. I went to my truck and just cried.
The staff immediately prepped Tappy for surgery, and suggested that we go upstairs and watch. Mom and I went up to the viewing area, and were so glad to be able to watch the talented and dedicated staff of 6 work so hard for hours to save my horse! Dr. Eastman was often shoulder deep checking every inch of his abdomen. Dr. Durham was the anesthesiologist, and noticed that Tappy's blood pressure plummeted as soon as Dr.'s Easton and Garvey found and adjusted his large colon. He had a 360' torsion, and the colon was grey until they untwisted and massaged it. They made an incision, flushed it clean, and found it had just started to change in thickness and mucous because of the lack of blood supply, but felt they may have caught it early enough to fully recover. After a tough time in recovery he was let to his ICU stall, hooked up to an IV, and we got to spend some time with him. He actually already felt a little better!
The Staff has called several times today with updates, they are hand walking him, and was allowed to nuzzle grass on their lawn. Although he tires easily, he seems to be more comfortable and only needs Banamine and antibiotics now. I can not even begin to tell you about how kind, dedicated, and compassionate Dr. Tim Eastman is!
Tappy needs to stay in the hospital for at least a week, and will come home to stall rest with light walking for 30 days, stall and paddock for the next 30, and then increased hand walking for the next 30. If all goes well, and there are no bumps in the road, I may be able to start lightly riding him again in February, what a great birthday present!
I really want to thank everyone who is helping to save my horse. He means a great deal to me, even if I were never able to ride him another day. He is really special (I know, your horse is, too!), smart, talented, and my best friend.
Thank you for your help now and in the future, and for your generosity and kindness to Tappy. Thanks especially to our horse' "Angels" (Sara, Tanja, Barbara, and Steinbeck) who watch out for, and over them, you rock!
- Barbra Watkins
- Gaelle Cimetiere
- Kathryn Dennison
- Corinne Iken
- Pacific Coast Vaulting Club
#1 fundraising platform
More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more
In the rare case something isn’t right, we will work with you to determine if misuse occurred. Learn more
Expert advice, 24/7
Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more