On Monday, our daughter and son-in-law had a doctor's appointment for an ultrasound that would hopefully tell us what they are having....so Grandpa (my hubby) and I went along to learn the good news. Welllllll, the doc didn't see any boy parts, but doesn't like to say it's a girl unless he sees girl parts, and with the little critter bouncing all over the place like a ping pong ball, he had trouble getting a good "butt shot"...he thought he saw the girl parts, but not well enough to call it. He's calling it a "girl" with the option of changing his mind when she goes back in 4 weeks for the next ultrasound.
I'm calling "her" our little alien baby as to me that's exactly what "she" looks like in this pic (the left eye is directly under the word left, with the right eye directly below the left eye and you'll notice to the right of the eyes is the little pointy chin....her right upper arm is directly above where I've typed in right arm) So to me..."alien baby" since I can't really call it/him/her a girl yet!
Even without finding out for sure what they are having, it was still very exciting and was definitely the "UP" part of our roller coaster week!
Now for the "DOWN" part....
(In this photo is "JIMMIE" with my hubby giving Gus his first horseback ride, video at end of article)
Meet Jimmie...our daughter and her hubby purchased him last July, he was to be HER first horse (meaning mom and dad didn't own him). We all fell in love with Jimmie when we saw him run the barrels at the NBHA Ohio State Finals last July 4th weekend. He was just a 4 year old at that time and had been run in a couple futurities, but still needed a lot of work. So they purchased him and brought him to our farm for her dad to continue with his training which he did the rest of last summer and fall. Her plans were for him to continue the training this year, then maybe she'd start showing him later in the season....but.... she found out at christmas she was "expecting" and knew she wouldn't be able to ride this year, was okay with that as he'd just get more training with dad and be even better for her next year.
What is that saying about the best laid plans???
Anyone in the horse business knows that horses are not the most healthy of animals, and Murphy's Law is always in effect. Take an old horse with no pedigree or specialized training, just out in the field munching on grass -- he's considered a "yard ornament" and NEVER has any health issues. Now take the horse with a great pedigree, awesome conformation, speed (very important for a barrel horse), spend some money on him, vaccinate him, have his teeth taken care of by a professional equine dentist, feed him all sorts of healthy vitamin supplements, regular vet care, specialized feed, (lot's of training, money and work is going into this horse, not to mention the bonding happening as you work with your "partner")....You can probably see where this is going...
After the ultrasound appointment on Monday morning, we had to hurry home as our equine dentist was scheduled to be here to float (file) Jimmie's teeth as he had started having trouble eatting his grain in the past week...when we brought him into the barn, he just looked SICK, all over sick, his coat was dull, his eyes sunken with discharge, he had lots, I mean lots of discharge coming from his nostrils and mouth....so we thought he had a tooth that had abcessed and were thankful the dentist was due any minute.
Dentist arrives, takes care of the teeth, which really were sharp, plus removed a cap (baby tooth that had not fallen out) that was making his gum very sore, so this certainly explained him having trouble eatting, but he thought he might have a sinus infection (I've gotta admit, I didn't even know horses could get sinus infections).
Next call, the vet..scheduled to come out the next morning which was Tuesday....vet arrives, Jimmie has not consumed any grain or hay or water, although he tried and we figured his mouth must be sore from the dentist, so we're really not worried yet. Vet checks for an impaction in the intestine and can find none, he IS dehydrated, not surprising, she then tubes him (tube up his nostril and into his stomach)...she gives him lots of saline water with added vitamins, some pepto and other things to help with his dehydration and to help soothe his tummy in case it was bothering him...she determined that he had a "choking episode"...this is where a horse maybe takes too large a mouthful of hay or grain without enough saliva and it ends up balling up in their esophagus where it enters the stomach, this would have caused the discharge from his nostrils and eyes. To learn more about "choke" check out this link Choke in Horses
She is worried about how depressed he is...she thinks there is something else going on that caused the "choke" in the first place. She takes blood, mentions a couple different causes and leaves us with instructions and the recommendation to get him to a vet hospital if he gets worse or doesn't improve within 24 hours.
Okay, time to start worrying....we make his stall as comfortable as possible, make a quick dash to the local feed store for some expensive alfalfa pellets that we make into a mushy mash hopefully to entice him to eat as he needs to rebuild his strenth. We notice really quickly that he is going down hill fast and needs to get to the vet hospital.
Enter MURPHY'S LAW....our pickup was in the shop, and our son-in-law was on his way back from out west picking up a horse trailer for someone else, so we had to wait until he arrived and while we waited we called the vet hospital to give them the heads up.
As soon as Brian arrived, they loaded Jimmie up and took off for the 45 minute drive. The hospital started him on intravenous fluids and said they'd call the next morning. And call they did with the prognosis....Rabies OR Botulism, but the vet was pretty sure Botulism, which is FATAL. To learn more about botulism, check out this link Botulism in Horses
The vet recommended humane euthanasia, so as of Wednesday, March 30th at approximately 11:30am, Jimmie was put to rest.
Our family has gone from the highest of highs, to the lowest of lows in the space of 3 days...we lost a family member. Our grief is not just from the money that was spent and lost, it is more from the loss of a wonderful partner that showed awesome potential. We are grieving the loss of his future possiblities, the future that he won't be a part of now and how we are already missing his truly sweet personality, his soft eyes and his easy going and loving disposition. I've included a video of one of his last runs from last October, hopefully even if you don't know horses or barrel racing, you'll be able to see a small glimpse of the possiblility of what he could have been. It is by no means a perfect run or even close to perfect, he still had a lot of work to do and a lot to learn, but it is still enjoyable and you can see how much he enjoys what he's doing (both he and my hubby that is).