Sunday, March 8, 2015
We became aware of Apollo in December 2014 when we received a call from Bowie Training Center. His owner was distraught and not certain what would become of him. She was considering humane euthanasia because she wasn’t sure anyone would be willing to take him on. I went to Bowie to see what I could do. The pictures included in this post were taken that day in December. I plan to take new ones soon. Please note the heart on his face!
Once at Bowie, I met an adorable and very sweet three year old gelding with what I felt was tons of potential. Like most retired racehorses, he simply needed an opportunity. Apollo had a non-displaced fracture of his sesamoid and that is the reason his owner wasn’t sure anyone would be willing to take a chance on him.
At TPR, this is one of the things we do – rehabilitate. One of my goals by participating in the makeover and in particular writing this blog, is to take you on this journey with Apollo, so that perhaps some of you will feel comfortable giving a horse such as him, the opportunity, he needs. Most rehabilitation is common sense.
Once Apollo arrived at Leighton Farm he was immediately put on stall rest – his connections at the track had done all the right things by identifying there was a problem and stopping him immediately. He had been on stall rest since November 14. We did a digital series of the injury soon after he arrived in December and found the crack to be healing nicely. He is scheduled to have another set of digitals done very soon.
Apollo is currently still on stall rest until he is cleared for limited handwalking and turn out. That will be determined by the new radiographs. In the meatime I would like to outline some of the things we do here at Leighton Farm to ensure a horse has a successful healing period.
I think it’s easy to understand why a horse would be frustrated being kept in a stall 24 hours per day especially when “the other horses” are going outside! For that reason we never leave a lay-up (that’s the term racing people use for horses that are being rested for injury), in by himself. We are sure to have someone in the stall next door at all times.
We also have stalls for horses on rest that the side door opens and gives them a bit more of a view. If this excites the horse, we close the door, but in most cases it really helps the horse deal with the long time in the stall. One thing we have going for us with an ex-racer is in most cases, they are accustomed to being in the stall for most of the day. Obviously this is an advantage over a horse that is used to being outside 24/7, but that said, at the track, EVERYONE stays in except for training.
We also do not feed the horse any grain whatsoever – that is not to be confused with starving him. We feed a very European diet to all of the horses here. They have constant free choice hay and get two meals per day of Legends Hay Stretcher and Soybean oil which is 100% fat and a great source of Omegas. It is also quite cost effective! This diet doesn’t ramp the horse up – whether you are trying to do dressage, jump, event or lay up a horse – it keeps them on an even keel and keeps good weight on them at the same time.