Greatwood

Greatwood is a charity that cares for former racehorses and helps young people with special needs by using educational and interactive programmes involing the horses. Here they have given us a great rescue story about a former racehorse named Malapropism (Mally for short). He was born in 2000 and is a Chestnut Gelding; his racing record was 154 starts; 14 wins; 37 places (flat).

“We were recently asked if we could help this horse by finding him a good, safe and secure home. We looked up his form and were astounded! We have only ever come across one horse that could even try to measure up to his number of runs, and that was Montendre (another Greatwood horse) with 104.

Mally arrived at Greatwood on March 24th 2011, and took everything in his stride. He didn’t bat an eyelid when he saw a goose fly past with Mable the Unstable (our Jack Russell) firmly attached to its tail. He also got rather attached to our three amigos, the Shetland ponies that were stabled next to him on arrival.

Only a couple of days after we took Mally in he appeared to become even quieter than usual. He was so withdrawn, although he had eaten up that morning, and when we took his temperature it was sky high at 39.5 when it should only be 37.5. Our vet was called to give him a good check over and administered painkillers and antibiotics thinking perhaps that he had some sort of infection. His temperature came down at first and he appeared to be responding to the medication.

The following morning he seemed to be extremely uncomfortable and off colour so we called the vet again as we were beginning to suspect that there was something else going on. His belly was scanned by the vet, and that together with a peritoneal tap confirmed that he was suffering from peritonitis. His medication was increased and we were optimistic that we had caught it early enough. Sadly, Mally deteriorated that night and we all feared for the worst.  Our vets were called again and managed to stabilise him, and attended to him thereafter every day for the next week.  Helen kept an eye on him every 2-3 hours during the night for the next 8 nights. However, he went downhill ever further and it was then that the vet detected an impaction, he was tubed and we all prepared ourselves for his fate.

In the short time that Mally had been at Greatwood (14 days) we had all become very attached to this lovely horse and felt compelled to do the best we possibly could for him, especially as we had brought him to Greatwood charity to find him a new loving home.

The next day his conditioned worsened and Helen felt that we would soon have to make a painful decision to ensure that Mally didn’t suffer any further. The impaction hadn’t shifted, despite the vets own recipe of solution that is proven to be extremely efficient in clearing impactions of the gut. Despite all that he was going through he was such a good patient throughout, and because of his determination we decided that we were left with no alternative but to send him to hospital to give him the best possible chance. Marlborough Horse Transport arranged to come and pick him up within the hour and took him to Valley Equine in Lambourn. Mally was operated on Friday afternoon, and as suspected, he was suffering from a ruptured abscess in his large colon and another couple of tears in his large colon.

Every day we called the hospital expecting to hear the worst, but every day we were informed that Mally appeared to be recovering.  We couldn’t believe it.  One week later he was returned to Greatwood! He had lost a fair amount of condition, which is hardly surprising, and he had to undertake a month’s box rest with walking in hand two or three times a day. We’ve been told that he will be allowed back out in the field on June 6th.

He is gaining strength every day and is already showing his cheeky side by letting us know he is fed up that he can’t be fed hard feed yet and is a bit disgruntled about having to eat soaked grass pellets, but almost turns himself inside out if he sees a packet of polo mints!

We have to thank our vets Mcgonnell and Gillatt for their amazing diagnostic skills and care and also Dr. Jessica Kid at Valley Equine in Lambourn, without their help Mally would not be with us today. We are thrilled to bits to have him back in one piece – the sleepless nights and nursing were definitely all worth it.”