Oct 27, 2011
From the Recovery Room
by Ryan Rothenbuhler
Last week I had the opportunity to attend the Hoosier Classic Yearling Sale in Indianapolis. For those who do not know about the Hoosier Classic, it is a very large standardbred yearling sale. There were just over 600 yearlings at the sale. For me, the biggest pleasure in attending this sale came from talking to horse owners about their horses that I had worked on. I especially enjoyed seeing horses at the sale that had been successfully treated in our hospital and were now looking sharp in tip top sale condition. When you work hospital cases, you often do not get to see your patients in the greatest condition.
The morning started off a little slow at our booth in the sale barn. We were located in the back, so a lot of people did not know we were there. As the morning went on, I decided to wander around and see how many owners and trainers I recognized from working with their horses.
The first person I ran across said I did not know him personally, but that I had worked on his brother's horse. He said his brother's horse had colic surgery sometime last year and I had removed a stone from his abdomen. I chuckled and told him to follow me. I had actually brought this so called stone, also known as an enterolith, to put at our booth as a conversation piece. He had never seen the stone let alone discussed the surgery. I showed him the 6 pound stone that I had removed from the horse's intestine, and through pictures showed him what colic surgery was all about. He did not believe me at first, but after I showed him a picture of his brother's horse, he couldn't stop talking about how well the horse had done after surgery.
Later in the morning I was walking around the aisles of horses and ran across the driver of "Sargent Bogo". He pulled out our brochure and told me he had been showing people the before and after pictures. Bogo was one of my first severe wound success stories since starting work with Conley and Koontz Equine Hospital. During the phone conversation with the referring veterinarian prior to Bogo arriving at the clinic, I was told it was doubtful that this injury could mend, but he would send it to me for consultation anyways. After Bogo's hospital stay, he healed and went on to be a successful winning racehorse. Bogo is becoming well known for his speed at the track, and also for his recovery story that is featured on our website.
All day I ran across owners and trainers that I had worked for over the last two years. The conversations usually started with "remember that foal - he's over here" or "remember this yearling - look at him now". It was one success story after another. I looked at healed horses where referring veterinarians did not think there was a chance for a successful resolution. There were horses that had sustained wounds only a few weeks earlier, and the owners were afraid that they would not make the sale. The majority had healed with no obvious scars.
I observed that most of the horses that I had treated did go on to sell in the auction. The money that they brought in the auction was not the most impressive part. The real satisfaction came from looking at an owner who did not think their horse would make it to the sale and seeing them smile as the auctioneer screamed SOLD!