There’s nothing but blue sky ahead for Cappy and Augusta Lord
The Capt.’s Reddie, better known as simply Cappy, never let on he was in pain.
In show after show, the 7-year-old bay Thoroughbred carried his young owner higher and higher, wrapping up their 2010 dressage season with a prestigious finish as reserve champion.
Even after Augusta Lord packed up the ribbons and had begun training her fine horse for more, Capt.’s Reddie seemed only a little stiff and mildly unhappy.
“We started to have minor training difficulties,” Lord says, “and everyone suggested I start injecting him. But, I just wasn’t comfortable injecting such a young horse without knowing what was causing his stiffness. So, I took him to the MidAtlantic Equine Clinic, and the vets there were baffled too.”
Veterinarians gave him every lameness test in their arsenal. He passed with flying colors. Then finally, they trotted him in a 10-meter circle on a lunge line and concurred: “Something looked a little funny in the right hind.”
The Capt.’s Reddie Barn name: Cappy Sire: Saint Reddie Dam: Capt Golden Girl Foal date: April 10, 2002At this point, months had passed since horse and rider had concluded a show season so successful that he was pinning as high as sixth in rated shows. And it wasn’t until spring of 2011 that veterinarians discovered what the stoic young horse had been hiding.
A chronic hole in his suspensory tendon, upper hind, showed 30 percent of the ligament was gone, Lord was told.
“The vets told me he shouldn’t even have been walking sound on an injury like that, and he carried me through a whole show season!” she says. “It made me feel awful. I had no idea.”
And from that moment on, the young rider, who was just a teenager, resolved to do everything she could to ease the pain in her beautiful and courageous horse.
Beginning with shockwave therapy to boost circulation and stimulate blood flow in the area, Capt.’s Reddie was ultimately treated with stem cell replacement therapy, she says.
“The vets made an incision in the upper fatty part of the hip and spun the fat cells down to stem cells and inserted them into the hole in the ligament,” she says, noting that expenses were covered by her very supportive equine insurance company, Hallmark Insurance, who were “fantastic” as she and her horse endured months of testing and procedures.
Cappy and Lord show in their recent 2010 heyday
After the surgery, Lord and her OTTB embarked on a two-year recovery. The young rider never left her horse’s side. She graduated high school, deferred college for a year, and in the winter of 2011, she packed her bags, loaded her horse onto a trailer, and traveled to Massachusetts to serve as a working student for Olympic dressage rider Dotty Morkis.
“I lived in the hayloft of the barn and I spent my off hours rehabbing him, every day,” she says. “I had no family in Massachusetts, I didn’t know anyone, and being a working student can be brutal. There were times I found myself sitting on the floor of his stall, crying.”
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