The first year I worked at the thoroughbred farm, we had three foals born. One of those babies was William (Haileybury). He was crazy Bernice’s first foal.
This year, William is five. Due to a whole variety of circumstances (no stalls available, a bad virus that he took a long time recovering from, etc.), he was a bit late to go into training, and did not progress as quickly as might be hoped. This was his third year to go down to the track, but he has not yet raced.
The day before yesterday, William broke down. I was sick when I heard the news. All they knew at that point was that something was broken. Turns out that it was a non-displaced condylar fracture of the cannon bone. He had no prior injuries, and nothing noticeable happened to cause the break. He was fine on the track, but by the time they got him back to the barn, the leg was swelling up and he was quite lame. The vet came to x-ray it. He was put into a cast while discussions about his future went on.
There is no chance of William ever returning to race training at this point. He’s just too old to go through a lengthy recovery and come back. He’d be a maiden six-year-old. So that makes him a completely valueless horse who has never won a cent. However, William is good, honest little horse who has done everything anyone ever asked of him.
Really, there were three choices…. 1 – euthanize him, 2 – cast him and put him on stall rest for many months and pray that he doesn’t displace the fracture during the healing process, or 3 – send him to a clinic and pay thousands of dollars to have the leg surgically pinned back together. The best (and only sensible) business decision would, of course, be option 1. Which, of course, was not the decision made. Thank goodness.
Today he was shipped over to Milton to the Equine Hospital. The vet says he arrived safely, without displacing the fracture. He was such a good boy that she was able to do the x-ray there without any help. He stood perfectly still for her. The vet thinks two screws will be enough.
He’s in surgery right now as I type. If the leg comes apart, or is worse than the x-rays indicate, there will be no choice but to euthanize. If he comes through the surgery safely, he has a very good chance of coming out sound after time to rehab.
Now we wait for the phone call…