Monday, 8 January 2007

Lark's Story - The beautiful mare who broke my heart

I purchased 'What a Lark' (Light Spirits/Rocky Mountain) in foal with Reilly. I purchased her sight unseen off photos taken in previous months and because I am friends with the daughter of her breeder who was able to tell me the history of the mare and her family. She has fancy bloodlines, being closely related to a number of very good NZ performance horses both in eventing, SJ and dressage! Plus, she had the most beautiful head and I am an absolute sucker for a pretty face!
This is a photo of Lark the day after I collected her from the stud. She is seven months in foal in this pic. What you cannot see is the state of her feet ...

That is her off fore after three months in hoof boots and regular farrier treatment. Eventually we had her xrayed: This poor girl had suffered through at least three pregnancies with sub clinical laminitis that was untreated. Her feet oozed pus from the constant suppurating abscesses and she could barely walk.

At first we tried to save her but as time went on, we realised we had no real choice but to settle for palliative care. She had osteomyelits and the bones in her feet were literally crumbling to pieces.

In the meantime, by the time Reilly was born Lark looked like this:

Reilly was born healthy and strong but small. When he was four weeks old I went out to the paddock to find the one thing that no horse owner ever wants to find. My precious little colt was dragging a hind leg and in considerable pain. Immediately I called the vet out who advised that he had not broken his pelvis but he strongly suspected it was fractured. What this meant was box rest for a number of weeks leading to yarding and restricted turnout for yet more weeks.
Reilly is a trooper and coped well and healed well however the restriction did his mother no good at all. I couldn't risk taking her out to hand walk her in case Reilly got upset and the restricted movement meant that the blood flow to her feet was restricted quite badly and her feet flared up and she started to lose condition. We could only manage her pain in a restricted sense because she was feeding her foal. It was a heartbreaking and stressful time for us all.
Eventually Reilly was able to return to a small paddock and to this day has remained sound however Lark never bounced back like he did and we made the very difficult decision to have her euthanised when Reilly was 5 months old. She was only 14 years old.
RIP My Beautiful Noble Mare

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