Where’s Ward? On the Road with Loralee (9)


Loralee Ward, Staff Writer

I ended my last travel update with a cliffhanger. We left Jackson, MS, and headed toward Tallahassee, FL. We planned to spend the night in Tallahassee and finish the drive to Kissimmee, FL, the following morning.  We stopped at a gas station to refuel and check horses around 5 p.m. Dupree’s front right leg showed significant swelling. This disapproved our thinking of abscess pressure as the cause for Dupree’s returned lameness. I found a vet near Tallahassee to check Dupree upon arrival.

I tried to maintain positive thinking for the remainder of the drive. However, I knew Dupree likely sustained some sort of soft tissue injury. Soft tissue injuries require a lot of rehab and time.

We arrived at the vet in Tallahassee around 7 p.m. Within minutes of examination, the vet knew that Dupree had torn his deep digital flexor tendon. She said the tear was pretty major. This likely meant a year of no competing, regenerative treatment, etc. We took pictures of the ultrasounds and consulted with our vets at home. They had hesitations about the vet’s diagnosis and wanted a second opinion.

Several phones calls lead to an appointment at Ocala Equine Hospital. Our vets and other professionals agreed these vets would properly diagnosis Dupree’s injury.

The vet at Ocala Equine said in his twenty-four years of practice, he only remembers one other case with a deep digital flexor tear of this magnitude. That owner tried to save her horse, and it died two days later from founder (a buildup of pressure in the feet). He said Dupree had a zero percent chance to recover to live a comfortable life, let alone compete. This meant goodbye.

I cut off his tail and two strands of his mane (status quo for good horses), gave him a hug, and said thank you.

This sucks. Plain and simple. I do not know why this happened, but I know there is a reason.

Dupree taught me how to win and took me places I have never been. Losing a great horse reminds one to appreciate every single run, because you truly never know when it is your last.