Storm

On the 1st April, we lost Storm.

I have written about Storm before. He was beautiful, nervous, kind, reactive, generous, accident prone and talented. He was my horse, and he is missed.

I decided to breed my old mare because I wanted a horse to grow from the beginning, and I know the specific blood lines I wanted. I also had to have the first of my back operations, so I know riding would be out of the question for a while.

Storm was born at Alvescot Stud on 22nd May 2000, he was a big bright bay Colt with a dotting mother.

Taking them to Diesel’s British Sports horse grading was a highlight, we went to the stunning Catherston Stud and was judged by the lovely Jennie Loriston-Clarke. So many lovely, well behaved foals… and then there was Storm, he got away from me, and enjoyed his freedom for a bit there… To be honest, I was really not sure what I had gotten us into, but the remarks about Diesel and Storm were lovely and they were graded into the Stud book.

He was then allowed to grow up at the stud.

All went well until he was around a year old. Mrs Hobbs called me and asked if he was insured, he was. They told me that they thought he may have Wobblers Syndrome. I, knowing these people knew what they were talking about, arranged to take him to the vet clinic.

The Wobbler syndrome was confirmed, and the advice was to give him some time and keep him in. The next few months were terrible, I was constantly waiting for the call to tell me that he had gone down and not getting back up. It never came, and he became more stable. He was eventually allowed back out into a small field, and his coordination.

Over time his gaits improved and you could not see his issues unless you looked for them. I kept him at a local barn and started some basic work with him. We even went to some ‘parties’ where I showed him in hand and he won a number of classes.

We then decided to move to Canada and I was pregnant with my first child. Storm and N came too!

I taught Storm to lounge and we worked on ground manners. He was then backed by Will Clinging. This went well, and I had a horse I could ride. But, I was unable to answer all of the ‘questions’  he threw me, and he went to ‘Dean the cowboy’. We took him over for a session and Storm tried everything to get Dean off. From rearing, bucking, spooking, running, and throwing himself to the ground, then, suddenly went “OK… fine, let’s do this”, and he was walk, trot and cantering around the ring.

When Dean had finished, he got off, gave Storm a huge hug and said..

“This horse is awesome! He needs to stay here until I am happy he is safe.”

He stayed for 6 weeks.

He came back more confident, and I had some coping skills for when he ‘lost the plot’ .

Once we got into the swing of things we managed a few dressage shows, some showing classes, and even a couple of hunter rounds.

But, Storm continued to be accident prone and was off work regularly due to cuts, bumps, weird lumps and even the occasional pulled muscle.

We also found that he would not lie down to sleep, we tried a whole number of things to help with this, but, nothing worked and he became sleep deprived and would fall in his stall, this lead to a whole range of injuries. Which, I think, was when he damaged his hock and he became chronically lame on it. There was not obvious reason, ultra sound and x-rays were clean, but it was swollen and he was lame. He did not seem to care too much and he was pasture sound, So I retired him. He eventually became sound though!

Then the colic episodes started

Last June, he had his first bout of Colic. I found he lying down and knew there was something wrong. My vet came out and we got him up and moving, and recovery was quick.

He had a further 2 bouts of colic in January and February, and then again on the first of April. He has shown signs the day before and again, my vet had visited and we treated him and he was quiet over night.  When I went down in the morning, he looked tired and would not eat, I put him out in our ring, and he lay down. Vet came back out and we realized there was nothing to be done. He was showing signs of both gas and obstruction colic. We decide to give him some fluids, and stomach contents came out of the tube.

We had discussed surgery, but even though, I did not want to say good buy to Storm, I was NOT going to put him through surgery. I had made the decision some time ago that he would not be leaving the farm again. It was hard to keep my resolution, but Storm did not deserve to die on the operating table. If I had sent him, it would have been for me, not him.

I do believe that colic surgery has it place, but recovery is tough and survival rates are not great. Taking into account his age, his chances of a full recovery with no recurrences was not high. This was the right choice.

His postmortem shows that he had Duodentitis-proximal jejunitis. The cause could not be identified ( all blood work was clean) and there was nothing that could have been done.

Here are the comments:

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Sometimes there is nothing we can do other than give them a safe and painless passing.

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