Stacy Westfall’s horse Vaquero showing neurological signs

Vaquero took a sudden, unexpected turn for the worse. Wednesday I was happy to have the information provided in the previous post. Thursday morning the results from several tests came back negative, indicating that everything is normal. Normal blood work, no signs of poisoning of any kind, negative for viruses, and negative for EPM. This all seemed like excellent progress and supports the idea of the arthritis in the neck being the problem. Vaquero traveled well down and back and was very much himself.

At the Thursday pm feeding he was far from normal. This time I thought to grab the video camera.  I shot several videos (the first one I am crying and so upset I removed the sound) and I will post one of them here.

If you do not know what a neurologic problem in a horse looks like then this is your chance to see one. We were trying to move him to the indoor riding arena where there was less risk of him injuring himself if he falls.

He is back on steroids and we are sleeping in the barn. I will keep you posted as I can. You can do one thing for me though if you have time.

PRAY. Pray for the vets that are coming to look at him. Pray for healing. Pray for wisdom for everyone involved. And I thank God that even though his body is clearly not working right Vaquero (if you look at just his head) is still perky and curious. I am so thankful that he is not depressed and in obvious pain.


  1. lyndakbundrant on May 4, 2012 at 9:38 am

    Strong prayers headed to you and Vacquero for a quick healing. Stay strong Stacy–you are his Rock…

  2. Gwen Confalone on May 4, 2012 at 9:33 am

    Was he also tested for the neurological form of EHV???

  3. Connie on May 4, 2012 at 9:22 am

    I am so sorry. I’ve dealt with this before and it’s a sad road to travel. Prayers for a return to good health, God willing.

  4. claudia on May 4, 2012 at 9:20 am

    Stacy,praying like crazy for you and that the vets can figure this out…..hang in there Vaquero ……you too Stacy….

  5. Brent on May 4, 2012 at 9:04 am

    Stacy we are here for you if you need anything you can call the clinic anytime if you have any questions.. We are thinking of you guys, hang in there you are both very strong!!! Pray pray pray!

    • Stacy on May 4, 2012 at 2:55 pm

      We are headed back down. Will be there around 5 pm today. He needs you guys.

  6. Cheryl Stengel on May 4, 2012 at 9:03 am

    Very, very sad for you to watch, Stacy, so sorry. Great mama you are right by his side. He reminds me of me with my Multiple Sclerosis, I walk like I’m drunk sometimes. I am praying for you two. You have added wonderful ideas and actions to the horse world. Big hugs for you both!

  7. Daralin Beckett on May 4, 2012 at 9:01 am

    I earnestly hope you can find out what is wrong and find an effective treatment/cure! A thought I had while watching is that he’s moving like my dog who has Wobbler’s Syndrome. Wobbler’s is caused by the spinal cord in the neck being pinched either by stenosis (narrowing) of the spinal canal or by a displaced vertebra. Obviously you will keep searching for the answer, but if bloodwirk is normal and there’s no sign of infection, I’d look very closely at his neck. The lack of awareness in where his feet are, where the ground is, and general uncoordination are all typical of a problem in the neck, at least in my experience. (I was a vet assistant in a small animal practice and am going to school for vet tech degree, and my husband is in vet school. I’ll show this video to him and some of his classmates, manage of them have worked in equine specialty clinics as techs before vet school, perhaps they may have son insight.)

    Thoughts and prayers are with you all!

  8. Becky Doney on May 4, 2012 at 8:57 am

    So sorry Stacy. Praying for you.

  9. Jamie on May 4, 2012 at 8:56 am

    My prayers are with you and Vaquero.

  10. Mary Sue Faries on May 4, 2012 at 8:54 am

    My heart is aching for you and Vacquero!! What an awesome bond that you have with this gorgeous creature. He couldn’t be in better hands! I have no doubt that God has a purpose for what you’re going through. I’m praying for showers of His wisdom and comfort for all involved. After all, as much as you love Vacquero, how much more does His Creator love and care for him!! Please don’t get discouraged….God is still in control! Thank you so much for taking the time to keep giving us updates….I know that’s tough when you’ve got so much else on your mind!! May you take comfort in all the prayers and love from the thousands of people around the world who care so much for you both!! Hugs and Prayers!!!!

  11. Darlene on May 4, 2012 at 8:49 am

    Prayers are coming your way from Ohio!!!!

  12. Debrah Zimmer on May 4, 2012 at 8:46 am

    Stacy, have him check for lyme disease, my doberman has lyme and thats the way she acts at times, prayers and hug for both of you. keep us informed. God bless you. be strong.

  13. Aileen on May 4, 2012 at 8:17 am

    Very hard to watch the video but so comforting to see him alert and curious. Prayers heading out to all involved. Thanks for keeping us in the loop.

  14. Leslie Bever on May 4, 2012 at 8:05 am

    Sending you both thoughts of healing, peace, and the comfort of angels.

  15. Alice on May 4, 2012 at 7:59 am

    Praying for you all, the vets and Vaquero. And that you will see how God will work this fiery trial somehow for good.

  16. Dawn Beard on May 4, 2012 at 7:53 am

    Stacy , we are with you, holding you all up.

  17. Josie Stemmler on May 4, 2012 at 7:40 am

    When I am afraid, I will trust in You…Psalm 56:3. Praying for wisdom for the vets, strength and comfort for you and your family, healing for Vaquero.

  18. Beth kane on May 4, 2012 at 7:31 am

    When two or more gather to pray God hears our prayers.
    Odd what?

  19. Phyllis Murdock on May 4, 2012 at 7:23 am

    So sorry! Prayers on their way. GOD’s many blessings to all of you!!!

  20. Natashya on May 4, 2012 at 7:11 am

    I’m horrified to see that his condition has worsened. You, Vaquero, and everyone else involved are in our prayers. <3 Do they think it's a possibility he's a "wobbler"?

  21. Gwen Confalone on May 4, 2012 at 7:01 am

    So sorry Stacy, prayers coming. Has he been tested for Lymes?

  22. Shelly on May 4, 2012 at 7:00 am

    My daughter lost her thoroughbred Roxy last year to the same problem. Arthritis in her neck. She had just turned 10, but her 4 yrs on the track were just too much. We kept her in the equine hospital in Burton, OH for over a week. She was showing the same signs as your boy. I hope that he comes through it with the best possible outcome. My thoughts are with you!

  23. Jess Karnuth on May 4, 2012 at 6:47 am

    Have they checked his vitamin E level? my friends horse is practically doing the same thing and two different vets from the northern Ohio area said it was all cause from being deficient in vitamin E. its sad two see two amazing talented horses go through this! hope you find something out soon!

  24. Joanna on May 4, 2012 at 6:46 am

    sure will pray, I feel for you. Lyme disease? I am guessing but we had something similar in our barn, and that is what it turned out to be.

  25. Shana Hadlock on May 4, 2012 at 6:44 am

    Prayers for you. I had this happen to my bay miniature stallion. He was running in his pasture, slipped and hit his head on a fence post and had swelling on his brain. Vet gave him a 50/50 chance of making it. He had no idea where his feet were either. I am happy to say he made a full recovery and is doing great. Did you check to see if Valquaro has swelling on the brain as he could have hit his head in his stall, etc. Doesn’t take much. I hope Valquaro makes a full recovery for you. Big hug.

    • Stacy on May 4, 2012 at 3:11 pm

      I will ask, glad to hear yours turned out well!

  26. travelcat on May 4, 2012 at 6:43 am

    Stacy – I will pray for Vaquero for you. As Christin mentioned, has Lyme disease been considered? With the mild winter in many parts of the country, ticks are out early and in force – I was pulling them off Yankee a month ago, and found one on me (ah!) from just walking around the short lawn grass…

    I hope so much he gets better.

  27. Faye on May 4, 2012 at 6:42 am

    I lost a filly last year and we never really did know the couse but very same thing it looks like. She was the best I ever had. Good Luck and prayers coming your way for everyone.

  28. Poor Stacy Westfall THis is Heartbreaking. on May 4, 2012 at 6:22 am

    […] […]

  29. Judy Smith on May 4, 2012 at 6:21 am

    Stacy and family,I will Pray for Valquaro,When it comes to children and animals they can’t let us know what hurts it is so sad to hear we will pray for your vets to find out the problem too.Love ya!

  30. Jess on May 4, 2012 at 6:01 am

    Prayers being said. Hope he gets better.

  31. Selena Sylvain on May 4, 2012 at 5:38 am

    I am praying for a complete recovery, our thoughts are with you, I too have dealt with neurological problem with a horse and it is not pretty and very heart breaking

  32. Sis on May 4, 2012 at 5:28 am

    Prayers for your family, you and your sweet boy.

  33. Lindsay Silvey on May 4, 2012 at 5:23 am

    I am so sorry, please God he will recover. My thoughts are with you all the way from the UK>

  34. asi witt on May 4, 2012 at 5:21 am

    While I am not able to watch your video (it will tear me up for sure)…please know that my heart is breaking for you during this very difficult period. I will pray for all of you. It is truly heart wrenching to see an innocent animal (your friend) suffer and not be able to help them when they appear to be pleading to you for that desperately needed help.

  35. Tammy on May 4, 2012 at 5:05 am

    I hope he gets better. We will pray for you and all.

  36. Kez Miller on May 4, 2012 at 4:47 am

    You must be so frustrated not being able to FIX IT right away! He’s not distressed, though, and he doesn’t blame you at all – I can see he trusts you totally. I agree with Christin about lyme disease and steroids, so I hope that’s been ruled out. Here’s a prayer for you and V to pull through 🙂

  37. Lila on May 4, 2012 at 4:38 am

    I’m SO sorry! It sounds and looks absolutely devastating. My prayers and thoughts are with you and Vaquero! 🙁 I hope he gets better, and good luck!

  38. Kerry Rose on May 4, 2012 at 4:32 am

    Hi Stacy ,
    I know what your going through and my heart is breaking for you. I hope he makes a full recovery. I have a video on my web page of my horse Money and what he went through if you have the time to watch. I slept with him in his stall for 15 days and he recovered it was a virus though. I don’t regret anything I did to save him and the bond between us now will never be replaced.

  39. Michael on May 4, 2012 at 4:06 am

    I really hope he will be okay, and i will pray for him

  40. Christin on May 4, 2012 at 3:18 am

    My Prayers are with you, Stacy ! Hope, you also tested on Lyme and Borna… I have had a very bad lyme disease and was swinging like Vaquero 🙁 It was a neurological lyme disease. It took 3 weeks high dosis antibiotics. Could be, that the steroids (cortisone) make it worse, if it is lyme!

  41. itrippedinfrontoftheworld on May 4, 2012 at 3:13 am

    Oh Stacy….this is so hard to watch. Prayers of healing for Vaquero, peace and strength for you.

    “But no one except Lucy knew that as it circled the mast it had whispered to her, ‘Courage, dear heart’ … and the voice, she felt sure, was Aslan’s, and with the voice a delicious smell breathed in her face.” ~ C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

    • Stacy on May 4, 2012 at 3:13 pm

      HUGE NARNIA FAN! Love that part and want ‘Gone Further up and Further in’ on my gravestone!

  42. LARINA on May 4, 2012 at 3:04 am

    could it be some toxin from the grasses , such as pasparlin and rye and clover , grass tetney or staggers , I use a toxin binder for this , ????? hope he gets better real soon xo

    • Stacy on May 4, 2012 at 3:14 pm

      bloodwork negative for this

  43. helen mausecz victoria australia on May 4, 2012 at 2:59 am

    God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot understand ,courage to change the things we can Stacey and Vacquero from many miles away you are in my thoughts and prayers at such a distessing time

  44. hiedi on May 4, 2012 at 2:57 am

    Poor guy! I have been following ur post and it is sad what he is going thru. I pray they find the cause and treat him soon! Keep thinking positive and it might turn out to be ok.

  45. Megan on May 4, 2012 at 2:57 am

    Did the vets check him for wobbler’s? I don’t knw his age, but it is crushing on spinal column occurs as horses grow, can test with dye injected and xrays of spine. Just a thought as I knw how distressing not knowing what your treating is. Terrible run of events for you guys. Hope he is doing ok, and you all too.

  46. stephen & helen haddon on May 4, 2012 at 2:56 am

    prayers,thoughts and lots of love coming to you from australia.

  47. Janet Turgetto on May 4, 2012 at 2:47 am

    I seriously hope that he gets better, there is nothing worse that watching something like this and knowing that you are helpless and totally unable to help even though you would do everything in your power to make it right.if you could. Prayers to everyone working on him.

  48. sharon on May 4, 2012 at 2:46 am

    Looks like equine herpes…sorry praying for better results.

    • Stacy on May 4, 2012 at 3:16 pm

      Tested negative for that one…

  49. Karen Erickson on May 4, 2012 at 2:44 am

    I will most certainly be praying…stay strong, for you AND for him.

  50. Candace on May 4, 2012 at 2:42 am

    Tons of prayers coming your way..

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