Since this guy has been front page news recently, I thought I would formally introduce him to you readers! This is "Artillery Exchange," who we know as "Gunny." When we got word that we could come up to Philadelphia Park, there were horses available, we accepted sight unseen, as we did our first OTTTB. That is a huge risk, but we took it..... We had no idea what we would be getting, just "some horses." Well, a groom brought out Major and loaded him, and then another groom was leading this one out. I thought they were just moving him to a stall or something, but he walked him up to our trailer..... the trainer was standing there. "This is the one you'll want to ride," he said. It took me a second to realise that this was our horse. He had just been off the track a month or so, and still had that ultra-conditioned, top-notch athletic look, and the aloof, almost "Holier-than thou" attitude to go with the look. He was born and bred in Florida, and this year he is 6. His papers have 12 spots to record races won, and ten are recorded there. That's 10 he won, not just ran in. He also has paperwork from the Pimlico Racecourse in Maryland, where the Preakness is held - so he may have run on the same track as many famous racehorses before him. Several of the races he won were claiming races, so he changed hands many times before ending up with us. And we're so glad he did.
You can see in the photos how sad and forlorn he is right now, suffering with his abscess. I had to wrap his hind legs, as standing around so much is causing them to swell up off and on. You can also see how thin he is looking - I don't have a "before" photo to show for comparison. In the past few weeks, with the heat, bugs, and now this painful abscess, he dropped off a lot of weight. We're working on that, though.....
My niece Abigail was with me at the barn one evening, and we were giving Gunny a nice iodine bath for his rain rot as he slowly ate his dinnertime feed,with his hoof in a bucket of Epsom salt water. I play classical music in the barn for the horses pretty much all the time, and the piece was a "peaceful reflections" piece; very slow, low, and depressing; like a death scene in a movie. It just added to the gloomy atmosphere in the barn with this suffering horse - so we had to switch to another radio station before we sunk even deeper into the depths of despair.
Last night, when I showed up to feed him and the other two, I was delighted that he voiced his pleasure that I was there, and that he wanted to be fed, yesterday! - with loud, piercing whinnies. It was music to my ears, as in the past few days, he had been so depressed, he would barely lift his head to look at me when I was nearby. He is now getting better and better almost by the hour, and we are working on replacing all the weight he lost, now that his appetite is improved. *Whew* ! I am so relieved that he is better. I get so tense when my horses are suffering and I don't know what else to do for them.