This is tough.
I have touched on Wrigley previously, but many of you have asked about him, BG and Gwen. I really didn’t want to go there, but it is time.
First, I believe that I have been lucky. Other than Dodger passing at the old age of 40, I had no horse health issues for the entire 6.5 years we were in Paso Robles.
Wrigley was Mama Tess’ last baby. He was 14.
Approximately mid September 2022, a month before we were to leave to come back to Grass Valley, Wrigley looked like he was coming down with something. I had the vet out and he determined that Wrig had a respiratory infection. Wrig was put on antibiotics, which he ingested well. In a few days, he looked much better.
However, after the full course of antibiotics were finished, he showed signs of slipping backwards. So, we put him on a stronger antibiotic.
Then we shipped all the horses to Grass Valley. The trip was 7 hours so the vet gave Wrig an IV antibiotic shot to make sure he was boosted for the stressful trip.
Wrigley arrived in Grass Valley and flew into his old pasture. He was happy and home. But the next morning, I could hear him breathing, so I knew he was in trouble. We immediately took him to the equine hospital. There, they did an ultrasound and saw that the infection had gone to his heart.
Wrig was in Intensive Care for 5 days. The specialists there had hoped that they could find the balance between the strongest antibiotics to help his heart without over-burdening the liver and kidneys – with compromised blood flow. And, he had already suffered damage to his heart valves. It didn’t look good, but we tried.
Sadly, the infection took his lovely heart, and we were all crushed. The vet and vet techs were crying along with me. He was such a very sweet boy.
In December, when I was immobile due to my hip replacement, Hubby was feeding. He went out, in the dark, to feed – and he noted that BG didn’t come to dinner. Hubby walked out into the fields until he saw her, down and writhing.
He ran into the house. I called the vet. He went back out, got her up and into the barn. The vet came. She had a bad feeling that this was twisted gut. Hubby put BG into our trailer and drove her to the hospital – he had never driven a horse in the trailer before.
About 2 hours later, I received the call from Hubby that it was twisted gut. The ultrasound was not good. I knew there was no way back from that. Hubby told me that he would stay with her and not leave her until she had left us. Which he did.
Finn was beside himself for a few days… and so was I. BG was shy but as good as gold. She never gave me a moment of back talk. A golden angel.
I had presented what was happening with Gwen here.
The vets and I thought we could manage her coffin bone rotation. Of course, we could not do anything about her suspensory issue on her other back foot, due to the prior injury to her hock. Gwen was fit and strong and healthy, otherwise. She had never been sick a day in her life.
However, on May 8th, I went out to the barn and everything was different. I knew she was in pain and I knew it was bad.
We had a talk. She said she knew she couldn’t recover. She knew it was her time… she also said that she felt it was really bad luck that she messed up her hock. I asked if she was kicked or if she kicked someone in order to get the wound (I never knew how it happened). She said it didn’t matter now.
And with that, I called the vet and set up the appointment for the next day.
We hung out together as many hours as possible. I gave her all the drugs I had and she had a fairly good several hours. We ate what we wanted. I told her about how I watched her birth 28 years ago (she’d heard that story so many times…) and we just sat together.
The next morning, I found her outside, sniffing the air and looking regal. She knew. Not even her pain could keep her from looking over her home one last time.
At 8:30 sharp, the vet arrived. She confirmed what we knew, Gwen’s coffin bone was pushing through her sole.
And, with all the grace of the most proud and honest horse, Gwen walked out of the barn and stood for the last time.
I cried for so long. But she is now with her mother, Mama Tess, her friend BG and her little brother, Wrigley.
I have been so lucky to have so many special horses who still live in my heart.
Now, I need to tend to Finn, who just lost 2 of his pasture mates and his sister. Although he has Missy Miss, he does feel the void.