Dominic Part 2.

Dominic Part 1 is here.


When we last spoke, Dominic was settling in for the night after being purchased by me via online bidding – in my office in CA – and was going to leave on the truck from Texas in the next morning.


I received a text from the driver very early the next morning.  I now had the hauler’s information. (I have to say, everything about this auction was first rate.  The organization was top drawer and the service people were great!).  The driver sent me 3 photos of Dominic as he loaded him – just to confirm that this was the horse and his condition when he left – with the big “3” written on his haunches in blue.

Dominic the morning after the sale being photographed and loaded by the hauler


I was told that it would take 3 days.   They had 9 other stops to make so they’d be in Paso on Wednesday.

I knew the rig wouldn’t make it up our driveway, so I asked Twin Rivers (a 3-day Eventing Venue nearby) if I could wait for the trailer in their huge Event Parking lot.  I knew the big rig would have plenty of room to turn around, and Dominic could offload/onload safely.

They kindly agreed.   I was set!

Now Dominic just had to get here.


The hauler called me Wednesday morning, telling me he had to drop off a few horses in Southern CA, but would be “right up” around 1-3pm.

I doubted that, but kept an open mind.  You see, Southern CA and Los Angeles is a traffic nightmare.  I’m sure this hauler had been to CA previously, but probably not the Central Coast.  The only way to get here is on HWY 101 or HWY 1.  Both are two lanes.  Both are not used to big rigs so they don’t have that ‘wide open spaces’ feel.

Around 5pm I received a frantic call from the hauler saying he can’t find any place to fuel up where his rig could turn around.

Yup.  Oy.  I couldn’t help him, so I just hoped he was super resourceful.

On my end, I was sweating because I don’t drive well at night and the sun was going down imminently.

At 6:45, I still hadn’t heard from the driver, so I just took my chances and drove down to Twin Rivers while there was still a speck of light.


It was kinda funny because I was parked in the most obvious spot, I thought,  next to the road, but the driver turned up Twin Rivers owner’s personal driveway.  (eyeroll). Since the owner hadn’t told her husband about our deal, he came rushing down in his golf cart to find out what the heck was going on.

I quickly told him the deal I made with his kind wife –  just as the big rig had made it around their house and down to the facilities, where were were having our conversation.  Husband satisfied, he quickly left in his golf cart to go back to his dinner – and this HUGE, GLORIOUS, BRAND NEW, SHINY AMAZING 10-horse air ride glamour equine motor homelike trailer rig pulled up and parked next to my tiny little itty bitty (that turns well) rig.

And there he was.  The only horse on the trailer was Dominic.  His Little black face was peering out one of the middle windows.

The driver came over with a huge goody bag from the sale plus Dominic’s giant sale poster.  I was fighting the light so I just thanked him and put the bag and poster in my truck – and asked him if he could load Dominic in my trailer because I was short on daylight.

He did.  Dominic came right off the trailer and right into my trailer.  Done.  Easy peasy.

I shut the door, thanked the driver again and drove home – all giddy.

When I got there, it was dark.  All of my horses were stirring and calling… they were so excited to see this new horse!  Dominic walked off the trailer very calmly and I walked him to his quarantine pen.  He walked in, I took off his halter and he stood there like a gentleman.

He was trained!

I stared at him for about an hour, in the dark.  I watched him eat.  I spoke to him and fed him special pieces of hay.  Then we both went to bed.  I dreamed about him and hoped he’d settle in nicely.



Over the first two days, Dominic was alert but not bothered at all.  He seemed very friendly and willing.  He wasn’t fighting with anyone although he did show too strong of an interest in Beautiful Girl.  I made a note to myself to check his hormones while I shut the gate to that pen and moved him away to the dogleg pen.  No one was on either side of him, but he could see the other horses.

On Day 2, he was perfect.  No studliness, just a quiet guy who had just been through a huge couple of weeks.   I took a few photos and sat in his pen with him for hours each day.

The first morning home in Paso.

The second day home in Paso… I love this shot because he has a lizard on his left front foot. He was so calm – except when BG was around. So I separated him from that pasture and put him in the dogleg run.


On the third day of being home, I fed in the morning and all was well.  I went back out around 10am, and Dominic was three-legged lame.

He was holding up his right front.  He could put no weight on it.  He pleaded with his eyes as he jumped over to me using his other 3 legs.  I couldn’t help but see how athletic he was – the thoughts you think while your brain slows everything down and…

…the world becomes slow motion.

I ran inside and couldn’t remember how to dial the vet.  Finally it worked and hearing my desperation, he came right over – in about 20 minutes.  He must have teleported from wherever he was in the county.

Doc said that there were only 3 reasons why a horse would be this lame – and two of them aren’t good.

After a few quick tests, he ruled out the ‘good’ one – which was an abscess.  Dominic didn’t have an abscess.

Luckily, he quickly ruled out the worst one, which was a broken leg.

Now the third reason for three legged lameness – Dominic had torn his suspensory ligament – in the front.  It is very rare to tear the front suspensory.  An Xray confirmed.

If he could heal, it would be a year off.

We’d know if he would ever be sound probably in 6 weeks.


The good news was that he wasn’t going to die.  The bad news was that I had no idea if he would ever be rideable.

My insurance only covered mortality but healing a suspensory isn’t expensive, it just takes time.  If it is going to heal, rest is the cure.

I had had him 3 days, not even.  We were moving in 4 weeks  – all the horses were scheduled to be on a 7 hour ride… And then this…  Could he move with us?  Or would he have to stay behind?

Would he ever be rideable?

(to be continued)

This was Dominic yesterday…

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

9 comments have been posted...

  1. Calvin48

    I was so shocked when I read the post; Dominic pt.2. How awful for you and the poor horse. I saw his video from the trainer, and I don’t think I’ve ever been so impressed with a horse. Something similar happened to me in 1997. I bought a 12yo TB who was sound. In the spring of 1998 he came up from the field dead lame. The vet determined it was a suspensory injury and the horse had a year off. In the spring of 1999 I started his rehab, and by the fall the horse was back to his old self. Unfortunately, he became ill with what was determined to be liver cancer in the spring of 2000 and was put down in July. Not a happy ending, but at least you know that horses can recover from this type of injury.

  2. Nina E

    What a mind boggling thing to have happen. I am glad that Dominic is on the mend. And I pray he will be rideable. He’s a beautiful boy and he will have a wonderful life with you no matter what his soundness outcome may be.

  3. dawndi Post author

    Sadly, I sold my Theraplate after Mama Tess passed – I should never have let it go. Interesting protocols! Dominic is healed, per Xray and Ultrasound. But we will find out for sure once he is cleared to work. THANK YOU

  4. Julia S

    Dawn, I am so very sorry that this happened to Dominic (and you); I hope he will recover completely from his injury. You have previously mentioned the Theraplate and how it helped your mare Tess, with laminitic pain. I researched it due to your high recommendation and it seems it could be a very useful adjunct therapy for Dominic to help reduce inflammation and speed healing and recovery. My mare also suffered a serious injury (soft tissue) to the front of one of her hocks, which took over a year to heal. At the end of the year following a failed tunnel skin grafting surgery, her wound finally healed with a much simpler procedure called Pinch skin grafting. Small “pinches” of skin are taken from the horse’s neck or flank and then “planted” in the wound. We felt a miracle had occurred when we removed her leg wrap after a week and saw that the skin grafts had “taken” and promoted new skin growth closing the wound completely with beautiful new pink skin within a month. We also used a class four cold laser which further stimulated faster healing. The laser works very well on soft tissue injuries; perhaps it might also help Dominic. My husband has used one in his chiropractic practice for over 10 years with excellent outcomes. I know from following your blog for many years that you will provide him with the very best care and do everything possible to help him.
    I wish Dominic a full and complete recovery,

  5. dawndi Post author

    Thank you for this email. First of all, no horse is totally calm and bomb proof – one can only do their best in choosing and ride intelligently. Having said that, I know very little about purchasing barrel horses – but I have learned some things from my friends who have. These horses are doing very hard work, so a vet check was very smart. Hopefully your vet determined that the horse had not been drugged for any showmanship. As far as training, I know practice is key. –As far am me personally, if you read my blog, I rarely purchase horses. I was a breeder so I purchased cooled semen for mares that I selected for their breeding and conformation/temperament. Breeding is also a gamble. But for the horses I have purchased, I was very into understanding the bloodlines and conformation – and working through people I knew and trusted. If you read my blog, you will see why I chose this auction. I have never done it previously and probably would not do it again – only because with enough time, I think any horse can be found for less expense. However, the training and availability to see and watch many horses in one place, was very convenient.

  6. Deborah Tiganila

    Your post is the only one I read, and it is very good. So how is Dominic doing now? I did have a question, where do you buy your horses. You stated you got him at an auction. I would think that would be dangerous. I ask because I just spent several months looking for a horse for my Granddaughter for her her ninth Birthday. When I found a horse that I was interested in, after seeing lots of videos. I paid a trainer to go and evaluate the horse. They were asking $10,000 for a beautiful 4 year old mare. He told me the horse was worth three to four times that amount. So I had all the medical test done, and arranged for someone to trailer the horse and bring her on a nine hour trip to my granddaughter. She will arrive on May 7th. We will give her time to rest and acclimate before starting her training. My granddaughter is a Barrel Racer. We will train the horse and her together. This is her first horse, and I got insurance, but still I worry about all the things that can happen. That is why I read your post. If I bought another horse, do you recommend an auction? I do not know how you can be sure that you are getting a good, calm horse. Thanks for your advice. We keep you and your horses in our prayers. Deborah

  7. Joan McCormick

    Oh no! No, no, no! This is just not fair to him or you!!!! He us amazing and so gorgeous! He us my dream man, temperament, looks and size!!

    Sending in the healing angels for a full and fast recovery!!!????


Post a comment!

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