Bet on a Star, '81'
Bet on a Star found his way to us after surviving Hurricane Irma. The wounds on his leg were in need of critical attention but he was nuzzling our faces and open to being comforted from the moment we met. The love flowing from his heart and his desire to heal was captivating. Although he became a talented Therapy Horse, he is currently on stall rest recovering from an successful surgery where his lower hind leg was amputated. We are currently raising funds for his prosthetic device. Our hopes is that he becomes an ambassador for those with limb replacements.
After losing his barn in Clewiston, FL, 81 was stranded in water for days. He contracted a deadly disease called Pythiois, he was in need of critical care. Hopes, Dreams and Horses in partnership with Majors Solution, are specialists in aiding in the recovery of this disease. He was brought to us by his owner Jack for care until the barn was rebuilt. After 3 debridements and daily internal Majors Solution in conjunction with External Majors Solution on fresh bandages, 81 was thriving. Ownership was transferred to HDH in December of 2017. He joined the team of therapy horses and immediately had a major impact on the center.
Unfortunately his wound was producing an excess amount of new tissue called proud flesh. A fourth surgery took place to have it removed. After the second cast was removed he lost his hoof. His physical and mental health were impeccable aside from the loss of his hoof and the thought of euthanasia broke our hearts. He had overcome so much and never complained once in the process.
The saying, 'It takes a village' best described the events that unfolded in Jupiter and Wellington, FL over the last year. '81' never faltered, just accepted every setback he encountered with a cheerful attitude and captured the heart of anyone he came in contact with. He went through a series of 3 surgeries (debridements) with Dr. Lowery of Jupiter, FL before ownership of the horse was transferred to HDH at the beginning of 2018. When the field operation options were exhausted, HDH decided to try one last surgery in a hospital setting with Dr. Weston Davis of Palm Beach Equine. He did an amazing job of removing the proud flesh, but unfortunately weeks later a complication with the cast resulted in the loss of 81’s hoof. Now there were only two options: euthanasia or a limb replacement. Dr. Davis happened to be friends with the leading world expert in equine limb replacements, Dr. Ted Vlahos of Sheridan Equine Hospital in Wyoming.
It took about a month from the time 81 was approved as a candidate for the surgery to put together the team of vets and choose a hospital that was fully equipped to serve his needs. We were put in touch with Dr.Tom Griffith, of 'Equine Services LMT' in Wellington, FL. The facility is the only local equine hospital with an MRI. The owner of the clinic, Dr. Haynes Stevens assisted Dr. Ted Vlahos with the amputation of the horses leg. It was the first amputation to happen in Wellington, Florida and will hopefully be a revolutionary option for horses in South Florida in the future. The horse is now healing in a cast with a temporary prosthetic device for 2 more months. Once the amputated leg is completely healed, 'Hanger Clinic' of Rivera Beach will fit and custom make a prosthetic device for '81'. He is expected to be able to walk, trot and canter as soon as the device is in place.
'81' will be reintroduced to the therapy horse program at Hopes Dreams and Horses this winter. He will now be a huge asset to the Equine Assisted Psychotherapy program, as well as a therapy horse for people with prosthetic devices. Hanger Clinic is also extremely excited to have their clients and patients be able to have this local therapy as an option in the near future.
At our center we believe in finding the silver lining. When a therapy horse and a student/client connect, the healing process is amplified if they can relate to one another. Thats when we knew, he would be an exceptional healer to humans with limb replacements. His service could impact countless lives, from Children, Trauma cases to Military Veterans with PTSD and more.
His will to live in undeniable. We will not give up hope on our sweet boy.
81 is a perfect example of overcoming trauma. He was in shock the day he arrived in our arms. We began the healing process with some TLC and he returned the love ten fold. He was so patient with us handling the wound on his hind leg. He never had the attitude of why me? (Horses can and do have these emotions.) And he was open to receiving love and help. The moment he stepped on our property he was teaching these, often times, hard life lessons.
The willpower it takes to overcome physical and emotional trauma isn't always easy to find. Somehow, 81 comes by it naturally. He is who we turn to when we need guidance in moving forward, not giving up, taking life one day at a time and being grateful for the help of others. With these traits, he has thrived and we believe will continue to do so. Throughout his journey he has implemented these traits in every human he graces with his presence.
81 Featured on the Dodo before his Surgery