What would you do if you walked into the stall and your horse looked like this?

Some of you have asked me to continue to update you on Vaquero. I thought you might find these two videos interesting. The first is what Vaquero looked like when we walked in Thursday night to feed him. Try to imagine what you would be thinking if this is what your horse looked like. Please forgive me for the music…I was crying so hard that I decided to remove the audio and the only way I could figure out how to do that was by adding audio.

The only reason I thought to video this time is because he had looked slightly unsteady ten days before and I have regretted that I didn’t video it.

I had made a video two days earlier (below). He wasn’t quite right but no where near as bad as now.

You can image that if I was concerned with the way he looked when he was lunging that I was devastated when I saw him come out of the stall so much worse. He is being closely monitored and has a myelogram scheduled for Monday. I will keep you posted.


  1. Trudy Paterson on May 8, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    Dear Stacy, I cry for you. I have lost several. I even put my favorite halter, cooler, etc on one very special guy, as I knew I would never use it again and preferred to have him wear it to eternity. guess I felt like a horse undertaker looking back on it. I was with some of my own and some of my clients when they passed. I tried to keep a strong and positive composure as they left us. I could always wait and cry later. so I did. Some days I still do. My deapest sorrow is shared in this time of grief. Try to do as your previous post about Roxy ( altho hard) . Not to cry but to smile. You know the saying. I always screw those up. but mostly you said to smile because it happened. The tears we can’t always prevent. even tho it says not to cry. can’t help it. I am 58n so a bit ahead of you in horse and human years ! There will be more triumphs and more sorrows. wish I could help , Stay strong. or for now at least the best you can. All my best, Trudy Paterson

  2. Dana on May 8, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    Stacy, this is so eerie to me…. My horse died Jan 24th, very similar situation. I went to ride him on a friday, his walk/trot were fine, but canter just felt kinda weird, he was holding his head weird, not wanting to do carrot stretches, pawing and stretching his neck out, “Not quite right”. Vet came out, ok, maybe he fell in the field (mud and cold), 8 days later fell to his knees coming to get breakfast, 2 day later, could barely stand, scheduled to go to vet school early next morning, went down paralyzed 930pm that night. I am just grateful to have not been given the “choice” of putting him down. We figured he had a massive tumor at the base of his neck, but since he died on his farm we didn’t have him sent for necropsy, but its just so real. I am so sorry for your losses these last few months, I feel this loss for you. Take care. Hope you find peace in the love, care, and awesome bond you have with these animals. You are amazing.

  3. peg4x4 on May 7, 2012 at 7:20 pm


  4. mizgreenjeans on May 7, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    Please consider treating him for EPM even if he is not testing positive for it. We have a 32 year-old gelding with it, and the meds are making a HUGE improvement.

  5. sharman woll on May 7, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    I also know – this isn’t the only situation you have had to deal with this yr, I truly can’t begin imagine losing him – let alone another one too earlier. I am so so very sorry. For both of your losses.

    I am going to PRAY for You and Your family every day – to somehow bring Peace an Comfort to your hearts. Trust in your faith, God will see you through!!! As I said, My Heart is with you and your family at this time.

  6. sharman woll on May 7, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    Stacy and family – it is May 7, 2012 and I just saw this, it’s Monday, just got back to work, no computer at home. I am crying so hard after reading all this and seeing those pictures……I hope you can read this!!!! I am SOOOO SORRY – I know how you feel. In 1984 I owned a National an World Champion Halter Stallion who was also a Stakes Race Winner – to a similiar situation. Purdue University tried for almost 2 wks to save him – but when they finally realized it was in his spine, he had lost so much weight, we had no choice but to euth. him. There was no cure. I still don’t deal with it too well………..he was one of the “Few” that comes into our lives – I miss him still. We had vets all over the country, consulting his case – no one had a clue what to do. My heart still aches over losing him, and like you said, sometimes life just isn’t very fair!!!

    I am sending you all warm hugs from the bottom of my heart, and I am crying with you, because unless you have gone through this – it is hard to explain to others. My heart goes out to you – and the only comfort I can offer – is to know – at least he isn’t suffering anymore and you will see him again, over The Rainbow Bridge. God Bless You Stacy and your family – please know my heart is with you!!!!!!!! I am so very very sorry, but he will live on, in your hearts forever!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s so good you have those videos of him, they are just awesome!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂 HUGS

  7. Lisa R on May 7, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    Oh Stacy I am so, so sorry for this hard time that Vaquero is going through. What an awful thing to open the stall door and see. I do hope they are able to get to the root of it and that he makes a full recovery. Sending healing thoughts your way.

  8. Tricia on May 7, 2012 at 11:04 am

    What a sweet horse full of heart, doing what is asked of him even while very unsteady on his feet! I hope he is diagnosed and recovers soon! Hugs to you and your family.

  9. Jenn on May 7, 2012 at 10:29 am

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and Vaquero. Not knowing is the absolute worst part. This past December I made an emergency run to Rood and Riddle with my gelding for a colic that my vet just couldn’t get a handle on and they were the best at investigating it, finding where exactly the problem was and getting my gelding back (he was in pretty bad shape….). You have Vaquero in the best of hands. Take care of yourself too so you can be there for him.

  10. Janis Jessup on May 6, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    I hope you find Peace for him and yourself. Hopefully he will heal and be better. Thank you for sharing with us. We all are praying for you and him and I hope for a miracle soon! Take care!

  11. Anne on May 6, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    Sending love and many horse angels!

  12. Sandra Perkins on May 6, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    Thank you for sharing this. I’d cry too, and then I’d put my analysis hat on too. My first reaction would be to test for poisoning – either by something the horse ingested or by internal means (kidney/bladder failure, etc.). I’m assuming your monitoring water intake, urinating, etc. If he stands with his hind end camped out (when not walking) that might suggest kidney/bladder/internal trouble. Did he have any accidents out in the pasture where a crush injury could be quietly working on him internally? I would go out and check the fences – look for major disturbances in the mud, etc. Anyone report a strange pattern of mud on him – or behavior – when bringing him in. Anyone report changes in eating? Manure quality? Just an idea. I noticed that when he just starts to lunge (at the beginning of the second tape), his right hind comes up short – he kind of stabs it to the ground. He’s already struggling for balance, and that’s why he can’t give you the canter when he goes the other way. His stance in the first video though almost suggests some kind of toxin(internal or ingested) – especially if he was soaked in a sweat. I’m assuming he didn’t have a temp suggesting a virus or other source. The other suspicion would be a tumor of sorts, and that sends you back thinking about all the little changes that you may have noticed over time. Hope these random thoughts are more of a help than a worry, and thank you for sharing your story. We all await some joyous news from you at SOME point- as you are certainly due!

  13. Bridgett on May 6, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    Stacywhat is going on with him? Poor guy!! I hope he gets better!!

  14. Marina on May 6, 2012 at 3:29 pm


    We are hoping and praying for you, Vaquero and your family.

    I have been doing some research and here is the summary of potential causes of neurologic symptoms in horses that I have found so far:

    1. Botulism
    2. Rabies
    3. Equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM)
    4. the viral encephalitides (e.g., Eastern, Western, and Venezuelan equine encephalitis)
    5. the neurologic form of equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1)
    6. West Nile virus
    7. Equine degenerative myeloencephalopathy (EDM) (low vitamin E ???)
    8. wobbler syndrome (cervical vertebral myelopathy)
    9. white muscle disease (low selenium???)
    10. hyperkalemic period paralysis (HYPP)
    11. cervical vertebral instability
    12. lead poisoning
    13. trauma to the head or spinal cord
    14. inner ear lesion

    Hope this helps in some way.


    P.S. Thanks for the awesome demo you gave at the Triple J in Sarasota!

  15. Marsha on May 6, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    Stacy, I couldn’t watch the entire video. My eyes teared up remembering how my beloved Scott was unable to use his front legs when he had West Nile Virus. You and V are in my prayers.

  16. Carey on May 6, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    it is so painful to watch him in these videos. My heart breaks for you. I truly hope it is something that can be fixed and soon. Bless you both.

  17. Shawnee Berg on May 6, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    Sorry. I hope that Vaquero gets better soon so you dont have to cry so much anymore.

  18. Shawnee Berg on May 6, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    I cant imagine what you are going through. My best friend Sasha (my dog) died on May 4, 2012 and ever since then i have been so disoriented. She was hit by a car and hurt badly and died instantly. Hope that Vaquero get better and you have to cry so much anymore.
    – Shawnee Berg

  19. Sandra Clifton on May 6, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    All of the above comments are wonderful and we know that you have put “V” in God’s hands. Did the Vet Hospital in Ky give you any type of prognosis. It scares me so, I would have beem putting him down in the back of my mind. What kind of life is he looking forward to? He is in God’s Hands.

  20. Julia on May 6, 2012 at 11:20 am

    Oh no! I was hoping as I read down that you would say you’d found out what was wrong and it was being successfully treated! At first I thought “Oh no,” because he looked off but then when he was led out of the stall “Holy Sh**” flew out of my mouth. My thoughts and prayers are with you guys. I would’ve been panicked and crying hysterically too. Good thing you have video documentation. I would not have thought of that and it is a valuable tool (thank goodness for my iPhone!)

  21. Gail M. on May 6, 2012 at 11:16 am

    My heart is breaking for you, Stacey! Stay the path you are on, can’t think of anything else you could be doing. Your love and passion for the horses is so evident. Hang onto your faith in a God who heals, and one who strengthens us through the trial. 🙂

    • Gail M. on May 6, 2012 at 11:19 am

      Apologize for the face at the end, hit the wrong icon! Nothing to smile about.

  22. Jan Taylor on May 6, 2012 at 11:10 am

    Stacy….please test him for PSSM…I know I am harping at you about it but please….simple hair test…his reluctance to moving forward and standing the way he is, is classic symptoms of PSSM. Meanwhile, start him on a high fat diet…no grains or sugars!!! Please try it…it sure won’t hurt him…

  23. mphedgehog on May 6, 2012 at 11:05 am

    Stacey –

    What strikes me most as I follow this heart-wrenching story is how you are sharing it with us. It speaks volumes about your philosophy as a horse woman and teacher. It could happen to any one of us, and while I’m sure most of us who have a camera would think to record the horse for the vet, I doubt many of us would choose to blog about it so thoughtfully and clinically. From the moment I decided to adopt my first horse I became obsessed with educating myself about all aspects of horse care, even the hard-to-think-about. Thank you for continuing to teach and inform when your heart is breaking. I’m praying that the professionals at R&R find answers – and a treatment – quickly, and that Vaquero and you and your family feel peace and comfort.

    • mphedgehog on May 6, 2012 at 11:28 am

      (forgive my fat-fingered misspelling of your name, Stacy)

  24. Laura Scott on May 6, 2012 at 10:52 am

    That is heartbreaking to watch. I hope and pray that he has a complete recovery and the two of you can return to your amazing teamwork. You are getting him the best care and doing all you can do. I hope by the time you read these posts that he’s on his way back home to you. I saw him at the Horsefest in Springfield, you leading him behind your golf cart… so cute. He is a beautiful horse. Sending you love and heartfelt prayers.

  25. Anita Dolan on May 6, 2012 at 10:35 am

    Stacy – I am SO sorry that you and Vaquero are going through this. I am praying for some definitive answers for you after the tests on Monday. Thinking of you!!!

  26. Gina Kindscher on May 6, 2012 at 10:28 am

    Pray that is all I can do, my heart is breaking for you and Vaquero, stay weak and lean on God who is strong, that will get you through.

  27. Lyle Decaire on May 6, 2012 at 10:24 am

    Stacy, sorry to hear about the problems with Vaquerro. I have been following your blogs about his condition. We have had the same kind of thing happen with out sled dogs. With them it resulted from an injury to the back when they were just running around and playing with other dogs. We usually had to crate rest them for a couple of weeks to give the spine time to heal up. They have all recovered okay. Hope that everything works out for you.

  28. Cheryl on May 6, 2012 at 10:23 am

    So many things seem to have the same symptons, I had a horse that looked like Vaquero and it was West Nile, the vet I was using would not treat her so I treated her myself and she recovered completely. The weakness and staggering was the same.

  29. Wendy on May 6, 2012 at 10:10 am

    Although this is absolutely heart breaking, thank you for sharing so those of us in the horse community can become better informed on the things that can happen to our horses. My prayers are with you and Vaquero for a speedy and full recovery.

  30. rockinphenix on May 6, 2012 at 9:44 am

    My heart breaks for you! Seeing your beloved horse is such a state is beyond devastating for you. Don’t give up! Its always darkest before the dawn. I had a colt that when i came out to feed in the morning was down on the ground, paralyzed in his rear end , spinning in circles with his front legs. It was determined the weanling colt had stuck his head through a gate and injured his neck. My vet,,,gave him DMSO in intraveinous. I had already gave him a big dose of Bute. By morning the baby was standing! In a couple days , you couldn’t tell he had been injured. Don’t give up…Prayers for healing and comfort are being sent your way by many, many, people and me! Take care…

  31. Lisa Yielding on May 6, 2012 at 9:09 am

    Praying for a quick recovery Stacy! You are my hero….praying for you all!

  32. MileMakers on May 6, 2012 at 3:53 am

    Along with all the great vet care he is getting…have you considered acupuncture and chiro? Might be way left field if you find nothing else with the myelogram and any other standard tests. I am sure you are thinking of everything. Thoughts and prayers from Colorado.

  33. Lisa on May 6, 2012 at 1:24 am

    Stacy, please hang in there. It must be so hard for you to see your boy like this. Keep the faith. Vaquero needs your strength now. He must be so confused as to why his body isn’t working the way it should. Prayers and good thoughts for both of you.

  34. Kathy Kopylec on May 6, 2012 at 1:17 am

    Stacy continued prayers, i`ve had the experience of having my horse stay at the horse hospital and having to leave him and go home when its out of state is so hard I was bawling during the hole exam a friend had to translate on the way home. sorry your going through this.

  35. johanna on May 6, 2012 at 1:09 am

    what a great little horse; his beauty and heart are so apparent.

    ”what would i do if your horse looked like this?” my heart would break, then i would get toxicology and viral tests, an MRI (brain and cervical) and meyelogram (cervical). just as you are doing.

    my prayers are constant for fixable answers/results for brave Vaquero and you.

    [kudos on the beethoven–the perfect choice for cover-up here]

  36. Terri Anderson on May 5, 2012 at 11:56 pm

    Stacy many prayers from Kansas…..

  37. Sharon on May 5, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    For what it’s worth, I was telling my vet about Vaquero and he said it could still be EPM. He had recently spoken with a professor he had while at Cornell University; the professor had a horse present similar to Vaquero and testing negative for EPM. At the necropsy, they found the parasite. I am praying that Vaquero has something that is treatable and very temporary. All of you are in my thoughts and prayers.

  38. Pat Grochowina on May 5, 2012 at 11:02 pm

    Stacy, Thank you for keeping us updated. We are thinking about Vaquero and all of you. Hopefully, the vets will figure this out soon and you will have Vaquero home with all of you where he belongs. Take care.

  39. Karen W. on May 5, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    Sending healing wishes to Vaquero, and your whole family. He has such a sweet face.

  40. linda powell on May 5, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    Stacy, My sides are heaving after watching this and reading about Vaqueros’ condition. I am praying that there is a diagnosis and treatment for him a.s.a.p. It is hard to understand how bad things happen to such good horses and good people. I do want to tell you about my experiences with similar situations (2 of them). One is my best horse (of course) ate hay that had skunk cabbage in it and he was quite sick with symptoms similar to this and in addition he was frothing at the mouth and nostrils, appearing to have rabies. He was treated by a vet immediately and was kept quiet and under supervision for a week or so as he did improve. He did return to normal and that was (so the vet said) because he was treated early on as soon as the symptoms appeared, same day. The other case, not such a good outcome. I board horses and turned about 10 head into a friends pasture for fall feed. The feed was not rich but would sustain them for the month before I brought them home to be fed hay. They were one block away (half mile) from where they were boarded the majority of the time. When I went to get them, 3 of them did act so strange. They could barely lift their heads to have their halters put on and they swaggered and staggered and the walk home was forever. Of course I called the vet and he came over. The diagnosis did not come until they all had to be put down as their symptoms were too severe to overcome. The Utah state veterinarian and their staff did disections on their brains and other parts from the neck up and the diagnosis was botulism poisoning. The investigation on the property showed that in the ditch where the horses drank there had been livestock carcasses disposed up upstream and apparently these particular horses were exposed. This was the states findings. I doubt seriously if this is at all related to your situation but just wanted you to have this information. I am so truly sorry for what you are going through. You really have had a tough few months lately and need and deserve some real good news for a change. With love and best wishes for good news, Linda Powell

  41. praysehim on May 5, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    Thanks for taking time to update us. I am praying.

  42. Jackie on May 5, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    Stacy-From one horse mom to another, I am keeping you and Vaquero in my thoughts. Sending lots of positive thoughts that he makes a full recovery. It’s always hard to watch your “baby” go through something like this and feeling so helpless. ((HUGS))

  43. Jill on May 5, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    Stacy, Have you pulled the shoes? I know that it can increase circulation grately. Especially in horses with inflammation, arthritis, etc. Just a thought. It has help a couple of my horses. Thoughts and prayers sent! Chin up!

  44. Jj on May 5, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    Just a thought but to me this looks like Lyme Disease. You can find out more on lyme disease on snag films a video called under our skin.

  45. Lila on May 5, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    Stacy, I’m SO sorry this is happening to you and Vaquero! Neither of you deserve this. Vaquero, you, and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. I hope R&R can help Vaquero soon!

  46. Trudy Paterson on May 5, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    Stacy, I am very worried in your behalf. I am so so sorry this is happening to you and Vaquero. Sending only good wishes your way.

  47. Jessica Williams on May 5, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    I am praying that God will give Vaquero, you, and your family strength to fight this. Vaquero has such a big heart and with God’s help, he will come out of this fine. Thank you so much for keeping all of us updated!

  48. Linda Boles on May 5, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    Dear Stacy,
    I am so sorry that Vaquero is going through this terrible time. I am also thankful that he has the care of you and your family. Thank you for taking the time to post and let your many fans know what is going on. We love you and will continue to pray for Vaquero and your family.

  49. Vicki Wisher on May 5, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    Stacy, just know that there are so many people praying and rooting for you and your horse. Hang in there! Vicki

  50. Dakota on May 5, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    Stacy I hope they can get to the bottom of Vaqueros problems!! He is such a beautiful animal

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