Thursday, August 27, 2009

Linus's New Package!

Shoeing package, of course! Absolutely no pun intended... Ok, maybe a little, but it's late and I'm functioning on an overwhelming lack of sleep. Moving on...

As we all know, Linus is a Thoroughbred. Anyone who is familiar with horses knows that this breed is certainly not known for the quality of their hooves. They are bred to run, and the physical quality of the animal nearly always takes a backseat to their speed on the track. Thoroughbreds today are typically thin-soled, have a poor quality of hoof wall, and are prone to abscesses, stone bruises and other hoof-related soundness issues. This has occurred after years of breeding plans that had little to no concern regarding the long term health of the animal.

After months of evaluations and researching his history, it was determined that since Linus is going to be used for arena and trail work, he would benefit from shoes and pads. Besides the obvious protection that the shoes will give him, pads were deemed necessary to help protect his soles, and an angle increase via a wedge pad to balance his hoof/pastern angle.

Brad Erickson and I have the same goals: we want to allow Linus to continue out his many remaining years as healthy as possible. Linus is nearly done with his rehabilitation and we want to do everything possible to keep him comfortable, happy and sound. Brad showed up yesterday and the pictures below tell the story of his hoof makeover!

This is what we started with... (And by "we" I mean Brad. I had absolutely nothing to do with this amazing transformation besides asking 1,000,000 questions, all of which Brad graciously and thoroughly answered.)

Brad begins to work on Linus's hooves. He had an under run, slightly contracted heel to deal with, as well as a few blemishes from past injuries and his neglect. Overall for a Thoroughbred, Brad was impressed with the depth of his soles and his hoof walls.

Front left hoof, before the trim...

And after the trim!

The right front hoof before the trim...

And after the trim!

Brad used a 3-degree wedge pad to increase Linus's angles. His heels were under run and we needed to increase his hoof angle to better match his pasterns. These pads are also perforated to allow for a pour-in pad that will help support the frog while helping to reduce the likelihood of thrush.

Pouring in the Equi-Pad CS...

A view of the pad as it dries...

Finishing up the right front pour-in pad... (Notice how shiny Linus's coat is!)

Just as a reminder, this is what this hoof looked like before...

...and this is the final product! (That's the same hoof, I swear!) The hoof is now well balanced and well supported, and there is a huge improvement in the hoof and pastern angles.

Brad, thanks for all of your hard work and dedication to our animals! We all appreciate everything you have done for Faith and Linus. Neither of these horses would have made such amazing recoveries without your knowledgeable and dedicated service!


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Linus is Back to Work!

Today was the big day - Linus' first day back under saddle!

Let's start at the beginning... Linus came to us with two known "issues". First, we were informed that "he absolutely CANNOT be crosstied!". Supposedly he used to pull back and panic, but after a few days of working with him and teaching him to give to pressure, he stands nicely and behaves himself like the good boy he is.

The second thing we were told was that, "you cannot tighten his girth indoors." Well, come to find out, it's not where you tighten his girth but with what force you choose to do so. As long as his girth is tightened incrementally, Linus is fine. He doesn't blow out, or up, and stays quiet and relaxed. I have been working on this with him diligently over the past few weeks, and he has done wonderfully.

So today was the big day...

We put Linus on the crossties, gave him a good grooming and made him shine. He enjoyed every part of it, especially having his butt scratched. (Some things will never make sense to me, I guess!) Lucy put on her riding boots, strapped a helmet to her head, and the three of us headed off towards the arena.

I walked him around while tightening his girth a hole at a time and he was fine. No bolting, no sucking in, no rocking back on his hindquarters. He just needs to be handled slowly, that's all. The girth was tight enough, and with an easy leg up and Lucy was in the saddle. Linus stood like a gentleman and waited for her cue.

They began walking around the arena and within a few moments, he dropped his head down and relaxed. He seemed comfortable with the day's activities, content to be back to work, happy to have a purpose again...

After a while they picked up a trot. It was difficult at first - Linus really isn't in a hurry to go anywhere and Lucy's short legs weren't very convincing to him. It took a lot of squeezing, a lot of clicking and eventually he decided he couldn't stall any longer and picked up a cute little suspended trot. A little squeeze back on the reins and a "whoa" and Linus went right back into a relaxed walk.

We reversed direction and asked for both gaits again. It still took a bit of convincing, but he eventually decided he would give us another trot. After that came our final test - the canter. After seeing how lazy he was at the trot, I had really low expectations of him actually picking up the canter without the use of an artificial aid. But, as fate may have it, he not only picked it up, but stepped into it beautifully from the walk!

His canter was... different. Not how I would expect a 16.1 hand horse to move, but cute nonetheless. He naturally stays very collected and is a smooth but lofty mover. Lucy said he felt different than our other horses, but she liked it.

Although we haven't taken him out yet, we have heard from his previous owners that he was a quiet, trustworthy mount that used to carry 6-year-olds on the trails. After what I saw today, I wouldn't doubt any part of that.

The good news is that Linus is sound and ready to return to an easy lifestyle of being a family horse! The sad news is that we are hoping to find him a good home and he may be leaving our farm here.

We hope that over the next few weeks of working with him under saddle more, that he will be ready for a new home by the end of September. I am hoping that I will be able to find a family that will be able to adopt him or lease him long term. The "perfect home" comes in many shapes and sizes, but my biggest concern is that he is well-taken care of, and of course, adored like the sweetie he is. He deserves it.

The positive side to Linus's moving on is that this will open up room at our farm here to take on another rescue case if one should come this way.

If you, or anyone you know, would be interested in giving Linus a perfect, long term home, please contact me at

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Summer is Finally Here!

Faith, July 7th, 2009
Our summer camp program began yesterday, so I have been up to my ears in paperwork, lessons and organizing activities for the kids. The days are long, the work is tiresome, but I love every minute of it! And now I finally have a chance to sit down and give everyone updates on how Faith and Linus are doing.

Faith has been doing very well. We cut back her grain slightly again and thusfar she has maintained her weight nicely. Lately she has had more frequent sore days with her knee. The mornings seem fine, but occasionally she looks off at night. On those days she gets a gram of bute in her grain at dinner. (The apple-flavored bute works great for her!) Other than that, things with her have been uneventful... knock on wood!

Linus is doing amazing! He is healing well and seems quite comfortable and content. And now I don't feel awkward showing him to visitors! Below is an updated picture of him, shortly after receiving a bath. He has gained weight (the weight tape says 65 pounds!) and lost something else... Hahaha! What a handsome boy he is, huh?!

Faith and Linus have both been very helpful with our summer campers and have been an intergal part of our team. The campers seem to have taken to them very well; the horses enjoy all of the extra brushing, cookies and attention.

During their stay here, we try to introduce our campers to as many different aspects of horses as possible. One of the topics I have found more difficult to make fun and exciting is the "Health and Nutrition" discussion. However, after learning about what Faith and Linus went through, the kids seem much more interested in learning about colic, thrush, lamenesses, leg wrapping, etc. The questions they are asking are thought-provoking and their interest in it is impressive. As I have always said, educating the public about animal abuse and neglect is the second most important job that Faith and Linus hold. The first is getting better. :-)

The sun came out in the afternoon and myself and the campers had a chance to give Linus a bath. He still had some sweat marks on him from the anesthesia he received at the hospital, so it was good to finally get him cleaned up and looking handsome again!

Linus enjoying a full body wash and the sunshine!
Lucy scrubbing Linus's tail clean.
Linus and his girls!

My favorite part of the week so far happened yesterday morning. A 6-year-old girl walked up to Faith, hands outstretched, with a big smile on her face. The old mare dropped her nose into the girl's hands, her forehead resting against the girl's body. The little girl then whispered into her ear, "You don't need to worry. I won't hurt you." It was an absolutely perfect moment nad nearly brought tears to my eyes.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Linus is Back Home!

Our boy is back home! I went up with two of my students today to pick up Linus from the hospital. I spoke to Dr. Myhre and he said that Linus is doing really well and has been an excellent patient. The swelling was minimal and he is urinating normally. Dr. Myhre answered all of my questions and gave me directions for his recovery period. Linus was sent home with his notes and pictures that his staff took.

The letter reads as follows:

"Linus was presented to Myhre Equine Clinic on June 20, 2009 for penile amputation surgery. History included paraphimosis of the penis will associated swelling and abrasions. Preoperative blood work was within normal limits. Linus was started on a regimen of antibiotics and anti-inflammatories. He will go home on these same medications. Linus was put under general anesthesia for the procedure. A urinary catheter was placed, the distal end of the penis was removed, and the incision was sutured with 3-0 vicryl. Linus recovered well from the anesthesia and urinated through the catheter immediately following surgery. He continued to urinated through the catheter. The urinary catheter was kept in place for two days. On July 2nd, the catheter was removed, there was minimal swelling at the surgery site and the penis was retracted normally into the sheath. Linus is currently receiving 11 tablets of SMZs orally twice daily and 1 gram bute twice daily. He has been a wonderful patient and very good to work with.


Medications: SMZ - 11 tablets orally twice daily for two weeks; Bute - 1 gram orally twice daily for one week.

Recheck: Please have Linus examined by Dr. George within one week to ensure that surgical site is healing properly.

Further Care and Monitoring: Please continue to monitor Linus for any increased swelling, discharge or difficulty urinating. If any problems occur, please call Dr. George or MEC immediately.

Thank you for bringing Linus to Myhre Equine Clinic. Do not hesitate to call with any questions or concerns.

Grant Myhre, DVM"

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Before surgery....

and after...


Since surgery took longer than planned, Linus's total bill was larger than we expected. The grand total was $2707.60, but Dr. Myhre was very generous and took off $500.00 as a donation towards our cause. He told me that he thought what we were doing for Linus was valiant and that, "it is nice to see someone willing to clean up someone else's mess for the sake of the health of an animal". Thank you Dr. Myhre for the compliment and helping us out!


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Surgery Day!

We just got back from the hospital and thankfully Linus's surgery went well! Dr. Myhre said that there were no complications and everything went quite smoothly. Here are pictures of today's events! (Most were taken through a glass window, so I apologize for the poor quality.)

Dr. Myhre (second from left) preparing Linus for surgery on the table. Note the plastic exam gloves on his hooves to help keep the area as sterile as possible. The technician on the far right cleaned his entire abdomen with betadine solution. By the time this picture was taken, the temporary catheter is already in place.

Dr. Myhre assisting a technician in starting his IV. Apparently Linus has difficult veins to work with.

The tecnician on the left is standing on the operating table monitoring Linus's vitals. Every few minutes she took notes of his heart rate, his breathing and the amount of drugs and fluids he was receiving. The machine she is standing in front of is the ventilator, and it is breathing for him.

Dr. Myhre, himself prepped for surgery, doing a final check of the ventilator and IVs. Here you can see the tubes for the ventilator going into Linus's mouth.

Covering Linus with drapes...

The first incision with the help of Dr. Myhre's assistant.

The excess has been removed and now comes the delicate part of suturing the skin in place and recreating the end of the urethra.

The surgeons finishing up the last details. The tech in the background stayed next to Linus's head throughout the entire process and monitored his condition.

The table was lowered back down to ground level, where Linus was given an injection to begin reversing the effects of the anestesia. The breathing tube was temporarily disconnected to put Linus's halter back on.

The vets prepare to move him back into the recovery room, strapping his hind legs together and then untying his front legs from the table.

With a veterinarian and technician lifting his head and Dr. Myhre at the controls, Linus begins to lift off of the operating table.

With a few pushes, he heads for the heavily-padded recovery room.

About a half an hour later, he gets himself up to his feet, and is led back to his stall. His entire body was trembling from the anestesia, and he was a little off-balance, but he made it back safely. Here, two of the techs remove his IV.

Linus will stay at the clinic for a few days. The catheter will be removed prior to coming home, and then he will be under the supervision of Dr. George. We are told to expect about 7-10 days before he is healed and pain free!

A special thanks to Dr. Grant Myhre and his wonderful staff! Also, a huge thanks to everyone who donated to Linus's cause! We couldn't have done this without you!

Monday, June 29, 2009

At the Hospital!

We just pulled into the driveway after dropping Linus off at the Myhre Equine Clinic. Three of my students tagged along for the ride: Jenna, Miranda and Lucy. We stopped for a quick lunch, and then an hour and twenty minutes later, we were at the clinic.

We rounded the corner into the clinic's office, I noticed that the operating room was being used. As I began filling out Linus's admit forms and I pointed my students towards the OR. They eagerly walked up to the window to watch, curious as to what was waiting for them on the other side. The veterinarians were getting ready to begin surgery on a 3-year-old TB stallion who was under anestesia and upside down on the operating table. Unbeknownst to me, he was a cryptorchid and the surgeon was going in to remove his undecended testicle. I'm shaking my head as I write this... These kids are definitely getting quite the education lately!

Linus's paperwork was filled out and we headed towards the barn to see where he would be living. His name and medical chart were hung on his door. We then headed to the parking lot to unload him and bring him into his (hopefully) temporary home.

He willingly walked next to me as I headed into the new barn, albeit he appeared quite anxious about the ordeal. Hopefully he hasn't figured out what is about to happen to him, although I'm sure if he had, he would have high-tailed it in the other direction!

I led him into his stall and he dropped his head for me to remove his halter. We let him settle in to his new surroundings as we brought his specially-packaged dinners into the feed room of the clinic.

Afterwards, we went back to watch more of the stallion's surgery, just in time to see the surgeon find, pull out, and remove what he was looking for. The looks on the kids faces were priceless... :-)

Jenna saying goodbye to Linus at the clinic.

Linus's medical chart on his stall door.

Lucy stretching up tall to say a temporary goodbye to the old man.

Linus will be fed his regular dinner tonight, and then will have all food removed from his stall by 8:00pm. He will not be fed breakfast in the morning, since they want his stomach empty for the anestesia.

I will be calling the clinic in the morning to speak with Dr. Myhre to find out what time he will be going in for surgery. Then, I will head up to the clinic with my mom and some of my students to watch and take pictures.

Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers tomorrow!


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

His Future

Linus enjoying being groomed by Nicole, Lucy, Rachel and Miranda - June 24, 2009.

The weather here lately has been terrible. Today was officially the 9th day in a row that we have had rain. Our turnout areas are getting muddy, so we have been rotating horses in the arena. Faith and Linus have been cooped up more than they'd like, but they are taking it well.

Faith has been doing fine. No big news on her part.

Linus's "part" though... Well, let's just say that it's still hanging around! (Bad joke, I know...)

Last night Melissa stopped by just as I was beginning my nightly routine with Linus. Every night I tend to his all of his wounds and need to make sure "the organ" is clean. It also gives me a chance to make sure the infection isn't getting any worse. Since Melissa was there, I figured she would eagerly and graciously volunteer for the cleaning task, but she somehow was a lot less excited than I had hoped. I lost the "nose goes" game, so she held him and I did all of the work. She must cheat because I seem to lose every time... :-)

I put on rubber gloves and cleaned him up with a topical cleanser. Some of the scabs have begun to break off, so it was rather nasty last night. (I actually felt sick a few times, and I'm pretty good at dealing with gross stuff.) After everything was cleaned up, I slathered Silvadene on it. Thankfully, since it has been exposed for so long, the nerve endings are mostly dead and he has very limited feeling in it. He has been a good boy and hasn't offered to kick or act naughty.

Although I have close-up pictures of "the organ", I know that a lot of kids read this blog, so I will not post them on here. (Actually, even if kids didn't read this, I probably still wouldn't post them.) However, many have asked about the severity of his infection, so if anyone is interested in seeing the extent of the issue we're dealing with, feel free to email me and I will forward them to you.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Here are a few pictures of Linus taken outside today. Look at how much this guy has improved in just over three weeks!

Besides issues with "the organ", the only other issue that we're working on are the massive cuts Linus has all over his body. His hips, back and hindquarters are just riddled with what appears to be marks from bites and kicks. They are all 2-6 inches long and some are fairly deep. None needed stitches when he arrived - and they were too old at that time to benefit from sutures anyway. We have been putting topical ointment on them twice daily and many are improving. His hair is starting to grow back in some areas, which means his body is functioning better now. He has quite a few wounds on his forehead, as shown in the picture below.

Overall, we are on the right track and Linus is improving better than expected! Not to mention that he is an absolute sweetheart and just a doll to work with!

What is going to happen during and after surgery for Linus?

The surgery consists of removing about 90% of the actual penis. The surgeon will basically cut it off, reroute the blood vessels, and then reconstruct the urethra. The urethra is made of very elastic tissue and will try to collapse on itself. Therefore, Linus will have a catheter inserted during surgery, and it will remain in place for approximately 5-7 days.

When the surgery is complete, his penis will just slightly protrude the end of his sheath. He will still urinate like a normal horse and there should not be any long-lasting issues or concerns with it. The surgeon informed me that very rarely will this procedure have any concerns once it is healed. The only psychological anguish he will suffer will be from the other geldings cracking jokes at his expense... :-)

Linus will stay at the hospital for at least a few days for observations and IV antibiotics. Once out of the hospital, he will return home and be under the supervision and care of Dr. George. Hopefully Linus will be back to normal within 7-10 days. The catheter will come out in that same time frame.

This procedure should not affect his future use at all. Actually, it will improve it! It's not healthy to ride a horse with a paralyzed penis, so once it is taken care of, he'll be a new and improved model!

I stand corrected...

When Dr. Barnes came last week for Faith, I discussed Linus's problem with him and learned something new! Apparently, there is a difference between a prolapsed penis and a paralyzed penis. Get your notebooks and #2 pencils ready...

A prolapsed penis occurs when the muscles begin to pull the penis back into the sheath and the skin folds up on itself and basically gets caught. The muscles keep pulling the penis in, but it can't move, and eventually it cuts off circulation to the end of the penis and the tissue dies. And we all know what happens to dead tissue - it falls off. Gross...

A paralyzed penis is one which the muscles inside the sheath lose their strength and elasticity, (often from over-tranquilizing,) and can no longer retract the penis. The tissue still remains alive and functional, it is just exposed. The problem with the exposure is infection and pain. This is what Linus has.

My dad always says that you learn something new every day... He is probably just overflowing with pride from the article his daughter just wrote. Good thing the old man has a good sense of humor, right?! :-) I love you, Dad!

Future Plans for Linus

Once Linus has fully recovered from surgery we will continue to rehabilitate him and get his weight to a healthy level. Although he is making excellent improvements, he still has about another 175 pounds to go. I am sure that the stress from the surgery will also hinder his steady improvement, but I have faith in him that he will pull through despite the setback!

The way he has been improving, I think that we may try him under saddle around the beginning of August. This is totally a guess, but if he continues to improve, I think we just might be on him before summer is out!

I'm hoping that everything I have been told about Linus's work ethic is true. It would be great to find him a job to do. Having a "purpose" after their rehabilitation helps any abused animal recover psychologically from what has happened to them. And people too, for that matter!


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Surgical Estimate

The past few days here at the farm have been ridiculously busy, so I apologize for not posting updates sooner!

Linus had made absolutely amazing improvements in such a short time! The weight tape says that he has put on 40 pounds so far, which is just incredible. He looks a million times better than he did back on June 2nd.

He is all set for surgery on June 30th. We recently received a written estimate from the clinic for the procedure, pictured below. The estimate now totals $1711.96 but may change depending on any issues they encounter during the procedure, if he needs additional anesthesia, etc.

We are so close to reaching our goal for Linus! We only need $350 more to cover the expenses for his surgery. Please click below to help us out!

Julie & Linus


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

News Update

Overall, Linus is doing really, really well. To start, he has gained about 30 pounds since he arrived here 14 days ago. The weight he has put on is noticeable even to me, and I see him every day. The lice are gone. His wounds are scabbing over and healing.

My favorite thing about this guy is his absolutely adorable personality. He must be the friendliest horse that I've ever worked with before. His personality is amazing and I love spending time with him. He is very well socialized, loves attention and is very gentle. Plus, he'll do anything to get his butt rubbed. He's a big fan of that. :-)

Farrier Visit

Brad Erickson came out last week to trim Linus. Linus could have been a bit better, but was distracted by one of our farm critters here. You see, we have a pig at our farm and "Charlotte" temporarily lives in one of the horse stalls. I would like to take a moment here now to say that I am by no means a pig farmer. She was given to me by a student so she didn't end up on someone's dinner plate - I'll explain in more detail in a quite humorous post some day!

Well, it's quite apparent that Linus has never seen or heard a big snort before and he freaked out about 90 seconds after being in the aisle. He backed down the aisle a hundred miles an hour and I thought for a second that his eyes were going to pop right out of his little skinny head! I eventually got him under control, but he kept his eyes glued to the stall for the rest of his time in the barn, his muscles flexed and his veins popping out of his skin. Silly thoroughbreds... :-)

Besides the porkroast-induced heart attack Linus suffered, he was eventually OK and Brad got the job done. We are leaving him barefoot for now, but his prior owners told us that when they used him for lessons they had him shod all around with pads on his front hooves. If and when we ever get to the point of riding him, I will have Brad evaluate him and if he thinks that shoes are a neccessity we will have them put on.

Linus's Guy Issues

Linus's "organ" hasn't made any improvements despite the many treatments our veterinarians have given him. It is still infected, with parts of skin continuing to slough off, even after receiving a 4-day run of Naxcel. Due to the fact that we do not want any infections to spread, we have finalized plans to have a penile amputation completed. He is scheduled to be admitted for surgery on June 29th at the Myhre Equine Clinic, with surgery on June 30th with Dr. Grant Myhre.

I have spoken with Dr. Myhre on the phone a few times over the past week and he has been absolutely wonderful about answering my questions and making me feel at ease with the procedure. Also, since Linus is a rescue, he has kindly offered to do Linus's surgery for us at a reduced rate. Thanks so much Dr. Myhre!

You can read all about the clinic by going to and all about Linus's surgeon, Dr. Grant Myhre, at


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Reunited with an Old Friend

At 11:30 a white car pulled into our driveway. Out stepped a lady in breeches in boots, with an apple in her hand. She came up towards the barn and introduced herself. She was Becky, the lady from the farm where Linus worked as a beginner school horse not too long ago.

I led her into the arena, and when she saw him, her eyes immediately welled up with tears. She walked towards him and in an instant it was clear - he recognized her.

He walked towards her with an eager look on his face, glancing back at me a few times, but never skipped a stride. He dropped his head into her arms in a most comfortable way. She gave him the apple and told him how much she loved and missed him. He seemed to agree with her.

Becky was disgusted by his condition and saddened by the fact that it had happened to such a sweet horse. She apologized to him for allowing him to end up this way, although she and I both know that she couldn't have predicted the future two years ago.

Becky told me about his history with her. At his farm, he was known as "Cutter", but since he was a total baby doll he was frequently referred to as "Cutter Butter".

He taught beginner lessons and was a solid jumper. She said that he was the most bombproof, beginner friendly horse she had ever met. He was frequently seen packing 7-year-olds around a course of crossrails. They trail rode him frequently, and he would willingly and quietly lead or follow.

She also showed me one of his idiosyncrasies - Linus likes to have his butt scratched. Yes, you read that correctly. His butt. A few minutes after they were reunited, he took a few steps away from her, turned, and then began to back into her, stopping just before his tail hit her nose. She put her hands up and began scratching around his tail with her fingers, never missing a beat in our conversation, as though this was normal practice. I stopped and started laughing, and she said that "he just has a weird sweet spot." Apparently.

The more she scratched, the more he leaned. He stuck his upper lip out, and rolled his eyes back. He moved his hips so she hit the good spots, and when she found them, he leaned into her. He enjoys having his tail scratched, too, and would hold it away from his body to remind her that she had missed it. She spent the better half of the hour rubbing his butt while we talked. And he loved every bit of it...

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Tomorrow, Brad will be out to trim Linus's hooves around 4:30pm. I'll do my best to get pictures of the first hoofcare that this poor guy has received in the last 8 months.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Linus has a History!

After making quite a few phone calls over the past week, I have learned about Linus's past...

Just like every other racehorse, Linus is tattooed on his upper lip. The tattoo is made up of 6 characters: one letter followed by five numbers. The letter states which year they were born, the number states which horse they are. Linus's tattoo reads, "V24136". The "V" means he was born in 1992, making him 17 years old!

I called the Jockey Club and double checked to make sure his tattoo matched his markings. I told them that he had a left hind sock and a "smudge" of a star on his upper forehead. Sure enough, it was him! His real name is "Literary Claim"!

I looked up his record, and here's what I found:
-> He was born California on March 27, 1992.
-> He was sold at Barretts Equine Ltd Auction in 1994 as a two-year-old. He was purchased for $2,500.
-> In 1996 and 1997, he raced as a 4- and 5-year-old. He made 9 starts, won a single race in 1994, and won a total of $6,785.
-> The comments on his race record speak volumes of his ability on the track. The comment for his winning race was "big move, proved best". The other comments are: "outrun", "showed little", "broke slowly", "rushed and tired", "best stride late", and "outfinished". Ok, so he's not a derby winner, but he's still a special boy!

Where Linus went and what he did from 1997 to 2003 is unknown.

Then, in 2003, Linus showed up at Crowley's Auction in Agawam, MA. After he went through the sale, he was brought to his new home in Grafton, Mass.

In one of their farm's turnout pens, Linus ran away from the other horses and his leg became entangled in the gate. He stood back up, but only on three legs. His front left leg was torn wide open. They aptly decided to name him "Cutter".
They nursed his wounds back to health, and he lived at the farm in Grafton for four years. The farm is a lesson and trail riding stable, and he was a valuable part of their team. Linus's job was to teach beginner lessons and trail rides, and he did so willingly. He taught many kids how to trot and canter, and was frequently seen jumping 18" courses.

From there, his luck went downhill, but we don't want to dwell on the negative. What we know now is that he is safe, well fed, and as comfortable as we can make him.

Linus appears happy at his new home, and is exceptionally friendly and well behaved. He nickers to everyone who walks through the door, and really seems to enjoy the company of children. And he just loves ginger snap cookies!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Yesterday I spoke again to the lady who was the instructor at Linus's old barn in Grafton. She loved Linus to pieces and taught many children to ride on his trustworthy back. Although she was heartbroken to hear about what had happened to him, she was glad to know he was being taken care of. She will be coming to visit him tomorrow afternoon, and I'm sure the meeting will be bittersweet.


Sunday, June 7, 2009

Surgery is Definite

Linus's sutures did not hold, so Dr. George came back Wednesday to try again. Those lasted for two days, and then they needed to be removed. His "organ" was becoming more and more swollen and began cutting circulation off to the end of itself. Ehhh... this is not what I wanted to hear.

We discussed options, and it is clear now that surgery is our only choice. The entire organ needs to be amputated. The surgeon will fully anesthetize him, and then remove the majority of the organ. Then, the urethra is carefully restructured so that he will still be able to urinate normally.

There is a fairly good success rate with this procedure, but there are also quite a few complications that can arise both during and after the surgery. Bleeding is a major concern, as there are quite a few major blood vessels in the area.

It's not a simple process. Nor is it an inexpensive one. Penile amputations run about $2500.00.... Thankfully, we explained our situation to an equine hospital, and they can do the procedure at a discount for $1,700.

Currently, we have already spent nearly $700 on Linus's rescue and veterinary bills. We did not plan on this horse's rehabilitation costing this much, and we need everyone's help! His surgery cannot be scheduled until we raise enough money for the procedure. Any help that you can give us would be greatly appreciated!


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A New Start and a New Name!

Today my students and I were discussing possible names for "the new guy". They came up with Chance, Frankie, and a few others. I let them talk for a few minutes, and then offered "my" suggestion. The second it came out of my lips, they all smiled and instantly agreed that it was just perfect for him...

Thanks to everyone on this blog, this handsome old man has a new name to start the next chapter in his life - Linus!

The last 24 hours have been busy, busy, busy...

First off, late last night his stitches let go and he was a free man again, so to speak. Dr. George says that he'll try larger sutures next time and try a slightly different stitching method, and hopefully those will work.

This morning Linus looked great! Dan brought him his hay around 5:30am, and he nickered at him the entire way over. He ate the majority of his hay and drank about 4 1/2 gallons of water overnight. When I headed down a bit later, I got his grain, supplements and meds ready.

For now, he will be receiving the following feed, supplements and meds twice a day:
1 quart of Hay Stretcher
1 quart of Equine Senior
5 grams of Probios
2 ounces of Electrolytes
10 SMZs1
Free choice hay

Below is a picture of Linus in his temporary quarantine stall, shortly before I began working with him today. Although he is away from the other horses, he can look out the clear plastic panels on the arena and see the naughty geldings in the paddock just outside. He watches them frequently during the day, but for now he has to wait to meet them.

My first big task with him was the one that I dreaded the most: delousing him. Yuck...

We were told that he was very headshy and it would take her hours to get a halter on his head. I walked into his stall, held his halter up, and he practically put it on himself. (Apparently he likes us better. Perhaps it's because we feed him.) I led him out of his stall, tied the lead in a safety knot to the panel and began bathing him. The water was warm, but he was not thrilled about the idea, and moved around a fair amount. It didn't take long for me to figure out his weakness: Linus loves ginger snap cookies! Thankfully our good friend Norma came to visit and dropped off a bag for him last night. Every few minutes, just as he looked as though he was going to get antsy on me, I'd give him a cookie. Then it was scrub, cookie, scrub, cookie, scrub cookie for the next half hour. He was finally as clean as I could get him, full on ginger snap cookies, and ready for his delousing powder.

Now, I have never deloused anything before, so it took me a while to get the process down pat. Of course, Linus wasn't too thrilled about getting powder shaken and blown out of a bottle at him, either. So it was shake, cookie, shake, cookie... You get the picture. A few minutes later, he was covered with a thin coating of white powder. He may have looked funny, but his breath smelled great. :-) Unfortunately the battery in my camera died, so I didn't get to take any "dusty" pictures. The next treatment I will - don't you worry!

A student of mine took him for a walk in the arena this evening while I cleaned out his stall, refilled his water bucket and put his dinner in there for him. He walked around like an absolute gentleman, never pulling on the lead or getting ahead of her. He was curious about his new surroundings, but seemed comfortable. After a few minutes, he slowed down and put his head down to the ground, playing in the footing with his nose. I told her to lengthen the lead and step away from him. Once he saw that she was out of his way, he laid down and rolled. He stretched his back out, rubbed his head and neck, and then stood back up. He looked finally looked happy.

Dr. George will be back tomorrow afternoon to put sutures back in his nether-regions and hopefully it will stay put this time.

Although I will be very busy over the next few days, I will do my best to keep everyone updated on Linus's progress!