This is a story we received form Katlyn, Keno’s adopter. Keno originally came to MHARF as part of an abandoned herd of horses from a failed breeding program. He was originally going to be in our Trainers’ Challenge the following year but was pulled because of an ongoing lameness issue that had been diagnosed as a stifle injury. Katlyn took an interest in him and decided to foster him for us and see what developed. This is Keno and Katlyn’s story:
” A year ago, I brought Keno home to foster him. Not even a month later, I knew I wanted to adopt him. Our bond right off the bat was incredible. He was such a loving boy and I grew very fond of him. However, he came to me with some lameness issues (which I 100% knew about). We weren’t sure what was wrong, but it was assumed to be a right stifle injury. Keno had constant chiropractic work done as well as massages. Everything that was in his body that could be out, was. After a few visits, we started seeing results. We were put on an “exercise” program to help build muscle. Due to his injury and being out, one side of his body was over compensating for the other. Little by little, he was improving. His stifle x-rays didn’t show any significant damage, so we were questioning his lameness. He’s was put on a joint supplement. It seemed to work, but he would be on and off lame. Keno became lethargic and got a really bad cough, so back to the vet we went. After some blood work, he had some elevated WBC. He was put on antibiotics and told it was probably allergies. He seemed to finally get back in the groove. We were able to enjoy some trail riding. He is still green on the trails. Even though he puts an act on and thinks he’s super tough, he is a big softy. It took us about half an hour to get his feet wet in the lake at Maplewood. A duck flew out on a ride down the road, I went one way, he went the other. The wind scared the crap out of him on another trail ride, he bolted and I broke 3 ribs in a beet field. And every time, he doesn’t run. He stays right by my side and looks at me like “Mom, you weren’t suppose to fall off!”. Then he will nudge me like he’s saying sorry for getting scared of the wind.
Winter came and he really started to let me in. I could start to read him better and our communication got stronger. But one day we were riding in the indoor and he bucked while we were riding. Which never happens. So I knew something was really wrong. I did a lot of research about feet, and navicular kept popping up. I discussed it with my vet and two farriers and no one thought it was navicular. Keno has been under corrective trimming to get his heels to grow out. Due to that, he has a longer toe, so we just thought the little tripping and clumsiness was due to that. I brought him to Casselton Vet to have x-rays done. Even though they didn’t think it was navicular, we wanted to take an x-ray to see if his tendons were being pulled on due to poor angles on his feet. When we saw the x-rays, everyone was shocked. Keno was diagnosed with navicular. It broke my heart, because I felt so guilty. This boy has been fighting through this pain just to make me happy. It wasn’t until he trusted me enough that he really showed me the pain he was in. The vet said something along the lines of “holy cow”. So I knew it was bad.
They recommended having him nerved. They did a nerve block to see if he would be a good candidate, and he was like a new horse. He looked pain free. But I felt sick about the surgery. Is it fair to block the pain even though the disease will continue? Was I being selfish? What would the future hold? Is this what Keno would want? I sent the x-rays to 5 different vets. All which suggested the surgery would be his last option. It was too advanced for other options. It took about a week, but I decided to do the surgery. Keno gave me everything he had. I truly believe he let me in, because he wanted to wait until he knew he had his forever home. He knew I wasn’t going to give up on him. Out of any horse, this guy deserves it all. So I scheduled the surgery. He had the surgery, and it has been a long recovery. It’s even some of the best bonding we’ve had. I was there daily, sometimes twice, to change wrappings, clean his stall, take him for walks. I knew I made the right decision. He let me know that numerous times. He is so much more trusting of me. He finally let’s me pick up his feet and he is a lot more comfortable with me. I didn’t think our bond could have got any stronger.
Yesterday we rode for the first time. Outside and in about 20 mph wind (gotta love Fargo). He was calm and very responsive to what I was asking of him. He has the same dog-like personality. He rides with his ears forward and his head held high. I can tell he feels good. If he tried that hard for me when he was in pain, I can’t imagine what our future will hold as we continue to grow.
I owe a huge thank you to Minnesota Hooved Rescue. They truly care about their animals and where they’re being placed. I have talked to Drew and Natalie many times, and they genuinely care about Keno and I. This has been financially hard and insanely emotionally hard. But they have been there eager to hear updates. I also wouldn’t have been able to get through this without my barn family. There aren’t many people who understand and love Keno like I do.”
We can’t thank you enough, Katlyn, for taking such good care of Keno! He is one lucky boy and we are blessed to have you as part of the MHARF community!