Bridleless Wyatt, known on racetracks far and wide as Donna Keen’s beautiful, “kill-pen save” who ponies racehorses without a bridle on his face, had a brush with illness last week after eating himself sick.
Wyatt, who has Houdini’s knack for getting out of his stall, managed to escape last week and find his way to an unlocked feed storage room.
After consuming three bags of feed—oats and two kinds of sweet feed, Wyatt lay down in the aisle of the shedrow and snoozed, and then later wandered about, checking on other horses, says Keen, who watched the episode unfold later while reviewing footage from the cameras she trains on Wyatt’s stall.
“We keep a camera on his stall because he’s a Houdini,” she says, noting, “I didn’t think he could get out of this stall. But, he had knocked his hay bag on the ground, and he was mad, so he began working to get out of his stall.”
Pushing his butt up against the gate, and with persistence, he used his weight to knock the door off its runners. Once it became unhinged, he used his neck to slide it open, and walked right under the guard chain.
Wyatt’s quest for a late-night snack triggered an immediate emergency response to prevent colic or laminitis, says Keen, adding, “I didn’t want to wait for him to colic. When I saw the feed room and what he’d been into, I called the vet right away to come flush him with oil.”
In addition to the feed, Wyatt consumed unknown quantities of a white powdery supplement, which, when flushed from his system, sank to the bottom of a collection bucket and hardened. This, more than anything, worried Keen. “This really scared us because we worried it settled so hard,” she says. “We worried about it causing an impaction if it settled in his intestines.”
In addition to tubing, Wyatt was also treated with a regimen of medications and electrolytes, and given plenty to drink. He is being sedated and kept away from all but a few bites of food. And his legs have been wrapped in ice boots, as he is forced to stand in ice to help mitigate any threat of laminitis, she adds.
“We’re probably looking at a $3,000 vet bill,” says Keen, a race owner and trainer and founder of Remember Me Rescue. “But he’s bright and perky now. We’re just waiting out the laminitis” by keeping his legs cold. If all goes accordingly, Wyatt will be back on the job soon, a little thinner. And Keen will redouble her efforts to keep Wyatt contained in his stall at night. “He’s a character,” she says. “There’s never a dull moment with Wyatt.” ♥