The 2nd Hardest Fix of all…

A few years ago I wrote about the Hardest Fix of All… This was when I needed to make the decision to help my precious Aladdin cross the Rainbow Bridge.

You can read that story here.

Today, I am going to talk about the 2nd Hardest Fix of all – and that is:  Not making the decision to help an animal pass over the Rainbow Bridge.

OMG, can I do this?  I CAN do this!  I have to do this.

As many of you daily readers know, my beloved lead mare, Mama Tess has been suffering laminitis and founder…

A month ago, on the advice of a specialist, she was moved to a very important equine hospital in my area.  She stayed a month and received excellent care.  MT looked like a million bucks.  However, her feet deteriorated acutely while she was there.

I can only speculate why… And, I cannot think about the ifs/ands/buts because in my heart, I know that her being monitored 24/7 had its advantages in other aspects of her care.

Anyway, on Thursday I got THE call.

Tess’ doctor was on the line with the news that her venogram, which had been viewed by two other consulting specialists in Kentucky, depicted that her left hoof was dead and would not recover due to lack of blood flow.  Through tears, he told me that his recommendation was to put her down.

We opened the stall door and she ventured out... Note the weight on her bad left front foot.

We opened the stall door and she ventured out… Note the weight on her bad left front foot. (Yes, I removed the hose…) Note her gorgeous and glossy coat!  24/7 care and supplements delivered every day – on time – make a real difference!


I just couldn’t do it.

Even though three doctors and every doctor in the hospital agreed, I didn’t.

I didn’t think she did, either…

It was impossible to look into Tess’ bright eyes and do this thing.  She was not there yet.  She was trying to heal so I needed to try to help her.

I got on the phone and came up with a plan via listening to the people the doctors didn’t want me to listen to…  Alternative medicine people.

Believe me, I didn’t take this information willy-nilly.  I wanted proof of past successes, which I received.

And then I went to the hospital and picked up my very alive (albeit painful) mare.


Now, it is up to me and all those who are willing to help her – who are coming out of the woodwork.

An awesome responsibility for us all – in many ways.

For me, and this is interesting to me, I don’t feel as scared or as anxious as before I had her prognosis from the vets…  Odd…. However, I’ve come to realize that I’ve already received the worst news possible.  I’ve already been told that she cannot survive this.  That day has come and gone and, she’s still here – fighting.

Like the aftermath of tornado survivors – the buildings are gone and the whirlwind was horrible – but we’re still here – and we can rebuild.

That is what I say to her and to myself every moment I have doubt.

Doubt does not rebuild.  Hope rebuilds.

She made her way down one side of the barn.

She made her way down one side of the barn.


One day at a time…

Yes, I am scared of infection.  I am scared of colic.  I am scared of not knowing what I should be looking for…  I’m scared of letting you all down.  Ultimately, I’m scared of letting her down.

But, I have people who are answering all of my emails, coming out to check on her and giving me tons of support.

Positive Mental Attitude.



One of the things that bothered me about the atmosphere of the equine hospital – or any hospital, for that matter – was the environment of illness and gloom.  The place may be sunny and open, but everyone there is sick and/or anxious.

The technicians are doing their jobs and some are very kinds, but it wasn’t homey there.

For Tess, I knew there was a lot of human doubt regarding her prognosis.  I felt it loud and clear.  I knew Tess was feeling it, too. This was a very compelling issue for me.  I wanted her home.

At home, she has brightened considerably.  She nickers when I come to the barn.  She looks out her window constantly.  If I come in to feed, she gets up.  She is interested in what is going on around her.  She doesn’t moan or groan.  She doesn’t complain.  She is engaging again.

Good.  Very good.

I promised myself (and Tess and her caregivers) that I would no longer say “if she recovers”.  I now am instructed to say, “when she recovers” as part of my daily thought process.

MT made her way back up the aisle and eventually back into her soft shaving - where I found her this evening when I gave her her evening meds.  She was tired from the vigorous activity, but she got up and stood when I entered the barn.  She is so stoic.  Such a brave girl.

MT made her way back up the aisle and eventually back into her soft shavings – where I found her this evening when I gave her her evening meds. She was tired from the vigorous activity, but she got up and stood when I entered the barn. She is so stoic. Such a brave girl.


Again, part of me is very reluctant to make any promises because I’ve been told by experts that she cannot recover.

But, I’ve also seen pictures by layman experts that have shown cases much worse – that have recovered and continue to live well.

So, when she recovers, I plan to parade her through the equine hospital and give all of them there the protocol.

And, I plan on writing it up on this blog… so that readers can pay it forward to help all those horses who have similar founder issues.

Pay this forward, MT.  Hang in there so we can pay this forward.

Angels, did you hear me?

We have to do this thing.

Together we can and we will.

HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth… if you like this, please pass it around!


Mama Tess is our August Bucket Fund mare.  Click to learn more and to donate.

Mama Tess is our August Bucket Fund mare. Click to learn more and to donate.

Your purchase with Riding Warehouse via this portal benefits the Bucket Fund!  Click here.

Your purchase with Riding Warehouse via this portal benefits the Bucket Fund! Click here.




HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!

22 comments have been posted...

  1. kim carnochan

    Oh dawn…I know MT is going to rebound on this….my mare is going through the same stuff..her laminitis stems from recently diagnosed cushings syndrome…and she is only 8yrs old.
    I have to tell you that Hemo Flo from platinum performance has TOTALLY helped her circulation back into her front legs…which is what it is meant to do.
    She gets it twice a day along with her Bute for pain management…and pergolide and thyroid meds..
    It is helping the blood flow to help repair and rebuild the laminae…..I cannot say enough about it.
    I know this is so look difficult and u know what is in your heart as well as Tess’s….stay strong and she will tell u all u need to know……

  2. Nancy Young

    Jim Lane out of Atlanta, GA has a business called Eq-Well. He is also an author for alternative healing for horses. I believe he is a farrier as well.
    He uses magnets and infrared to heal horses from muscle to hoof ailments, when others have given up. Give him a call. If you are looking for people who have proven success when vets can’t help, he is your man.
    Can’t wait for you to read this and call him. He is amazing and understands horses and their injuries in a different way.

  3. Jan

    I have to second the recommendation for Dr. Esco Buff! He also has a FB page.

    From one Morgan horse lover to another, at least check out his website before you decide your route.
    I think you might feel hopeful after viewing it.

    You and your beautiful Mama Tess will be in my prayers.

  4. Annette

    A horse can grow a whole new foot in one year. If the hoof was that bad, Mama Tess would not be standing. Let the horse tell you when they have had enough. If a horse doesn’t have the will to go on, they will lay down and die. Recently my friend’s mare foaled a wry nose baby. The vet recommended euthanasia. Julie was tired and confused. I told her the decision was hers but if it was me, I would give it a few days and let go and let god. Well, the baby grew to totally healthy. She could nurse on her own and is now 4 months old. She has a crooked nose. Otherwise, she has perfect conformation. Don’t listen to anyone but Mama Tess. It would probably be easier on you to just give up. So no one would blame you if you did. But it doesn’t sound like you want to.

  5. David Schmidt

    Hi Dawn,

    I have been following what you have been writing about Tess for some time now and I have to tell you that I am a little choked up. The decisions that we have to make regarding our loved ones health are sometimes gut-wrenching but it is the price we pay for being blessed with the great experience of loving and being loved so deeply. Horses are great self- healers as I am sure you know. They have great spirit and we have to have great spirit and strength to support them. I applaud your decision to keep fighting for Tess. It gets really tough sometimes. I read what your husband wrote in your blog a couple of weeks back and it sounds like you have some really great support that you need too. Tess will stay in my thoughts and prayers as will you. Hang in there

  6. linda

    Stay positive, don’t loose hope! She will heal in time. As long as she has nutrients to help fight the abscesses internally and a knowledgeable barefoot trimmer she will recover! Prayers for you and Miss Tess.

  7. lynn douglass

    Have you tried the supplemnet Laminasaver? It has done wonders for my mare who’s blood flow was poor after founder.. It worked very well! At each venogram, it was very much improved.. IT would be worth a try…

  8. Doreen

    Dawn – I’d strongly encourage you one more time to contact Dr Esco Buff to get his protocol to treat foundered horses. He has worked with over 3,000 foundered horses, many of them at the point where you’re at with Mama Tess – when the vets have said it’s time to put the horse down…and the horse and owner made the same decision you did…and they called in Esco to give something else a try. He has a HUGE success rate with returning these horses to either complete soundness or pasture soundness. You’re trying everything else – why wouldn’t you at least give him a call to talk to him about what’s happened and what he could do to save her. On his website, he lists vets and farriers along with their phone numbers who have worked with Esco and believe in the methodology he advocates. Esco put this up there so anyone can contact these people. Here’s a link: Please contact him – for MT’s sake and for your sake. I can promise that you won’t regret it!!

  9. Barbara Wood

    You are exactly right. Thank you for listening to your heart. One cannot give up on a horse who has not given up. We are all behind you in this. Consider us all “family”. You and MT are always in our prayers.

  10. Beth Robinson

    These are tough decisions. I would suggest asking MT herself. I’ve had great success with animal communicators. I highly recommend Debbie McGillivray.
    I think she’d the real deal. Good thoughts to you and MT. <3

  11. Karen

    I too read this blog thru tears…I know how you feel…anyway my prayers coming to you and MT…keep hope and faith in your heart and mind…she is so beautiful

  12. Daisy Bicking

    I feel your pain, and hope…

    I work with owners and horses in your situation every day.

    Good for you for pursuing what your heart and mind tell you is the best path for your horse.!

    And if you need any support, please don’t hesitate to reach out…I’d be glad to help any way I can.

  13. Kathy Sutton

    Prayers, Prayers, Prayers for mama Tess and hugs to you Dawn.

  14. Kathleen Smith

    Where to begin? I can imagine. that as a blogger one could wonder how many ,if any, people are reading and feeling what you, the author are feeling. Sort of, “hello?”, is anyone out there?
    I am only one individual, who was born with a fanatical love of animals. especially horses. Presently, I am 57 years young. I no longer ride, or own horses due to being confined to a wheelchair.
    I look for individuals and rescue organizations to support with my heart, my emotions, and small donations. (I am no longer employed due to my disability).
    I want you to know that your blog drew me in with the story of little Betsy Rose. I am now so deep;y emotionally involved with Mama Tess’s spirit to live that I am often overcome reading about her, and your emotional support of her fight to heal.
    I want you to know I understand how difficult the choice you had to make, to keep fighting. I support you spiritually and will continue to make donations when I can. I didn’t intend to be so long winded, I just wanted to share a little about me ,and the fact I am a loyal HORSE AND MAN follower. I care about Tess, and I respect you very much. Keep the hope!
    Kathleen Smth

  15. Jess

    This is the first time I’ve stumbled across your blog and I absolutely loved this post. I currently have a mare who is very lame, and no-one can seem to tell me why. It’s to the point now when we are thinking perhaps we should just put her down if she’s in pain … but I had a very similar thought process as you, she’s not there yet ;)

  16. Nancy Babcock

    So happy to read that you and Mama Tess are connected to the alternative medicine world–it can work wonders, and yes, the attitude of those delivering treatment is also important, as I’ve learned in my own experiences as well as from a friend who runs a rescue for terminally (“hopelessly”) animals. Homeopathy and positive attitudes can/do make a world of difference, and even though I’m conditioned to run immediately to western medicine when an emergency comes up for either my cats or horses, usually it’s when I calm down and get homeopathic help that the real healing begins. So, again, very happy to hear this news about this “new” approach for Mama Tess. Good for both of you!

  17. Melissa

    Once again I’m writing a comment through tears. I think you did the right thing. When it’s time, she’ll let you know. They know so much more than we do, and they aren’t afraid. Praying for you and your precious mare.

Post a comment!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *