This is the first update on Miss Fifty since the publication of her story on BloodHorse.com. I will continue to post updates about her on this blog, though they will likely only be occasional for the time being. If you have not yet read Miss Fifty’s story, please do so here.
For more than two and one-half months, Miss Fifty has been living in my barn. After a journey I never could have formed with my imagination, Fifty is finally mine.
(With her on stall rest, good pictures
of her are difficult and rare. This was taken with
Photo by Mary Cage
But unfortunately for Fifty, those two and one-half months have been spent in a stall. Prior to the time she’s spent with me, she’d been stall-bound since late September due to fracturing the two proximal sesamoids – or the small bones located on the back of the fetlock – in her right foreleg. Upon watching Fifty walk, it is not obvious that she is injured, but the broken sesamoids require her to be on stall rest for a lengthy period of time.
When our veterinarian took x-rays of Fifty’s injury shortly after Christmas, the x-rays showed that the sesamoids were healing, but had not healed enough for her to leave the confinement of a stall except for when being moved from one stall to another or to travel to the veterinary clinic. He predicted that it will be at least another three months before Fifty can begin to be lightly hand-walked.
To make matters more complicated, Fifty is a weaver, or a horse that has a habit of shifting its weight, repeatedly rocking from side to side. This extra concussion placed on her legs is not a serious issue – though it is an annoying vice – but may pose as a slight impediment to the quickness of her healing. In addition, when upset or impatient, Fifty also has a habit of kicking the stall, particularly when another horse leaves the barn or at feeding time.
In order to make Fifty feel more comfortable and content while on stall rest, we have placed several toys in her stall. However, she doesn’t seem to be very entertained by these objects. Nonetheless, we will continue to try new things to entertain or distract her.
Fifty appears to be the calmest and most content when she is able to look outside the barn, watching activity going on beyond her stall, or when a horse is kept near her for an extended period of time. It has been a gradual process and will continue to be, but Fifty is beginning to become more mellow and content. Tender, loving care is the best thing for her.
Though it can be rather upsetting to see Fifty so distraught, this is just another bump in the road along a journey that has been abounding with ups and downs. This horse has gone through the barns of many different trainers, has been through a tornado, has suffered an eye injury, has dealt with the rigors of training, has been through one of the most terrifying and dangerous racing accidents of all-time, and, of course, has suffered a career-ending injury. She can get through this. It will take some time, but what doesn’t?
On a brighter note, the final connections that owned Fifty in her racing career – Julie and Nate Vrable of Long Shot Racing Stable, the incredibly generous people that gave Miss Fifty to me – recently sent me the win photos from the three races Fifty won for them. These photos joined Miss Fifty’s first win photo, which was given me to me by Dolphus Morrison, who was the one who purchased her out of the 2010 Fasig-Tipton Texas Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale and the owner who named Miss Fifty for me. I am now just missing one of Fifty’s win photos!