A plain bay T’bred once mistaken for dead by his veterinary doctor, recovered from the colic that laid him so low he appeared to have died in 2013, and has gone on to win ribbons for children in hunter/jumper classes.
Gambler, a 7-year-old gelding adopted by Ester Packer from Florida TRAC in 2012, is often referred to as the “miracle horse” these days.
In 2013, the Thoroughbred who raced under Jockey Club name Savemyspotimbeting was taken to a veterinary Hospital in Florida, and treated for recurrent colic, says Packer.
“Gambler was so sick that the vet called me at 8 p.m. and said he was going to bring him to his house for the night, that he didn’t want to leave him overnight in the hospital’s paddocks. So he went home to get his truck and trailer, and when he returned to the hospital, Gambler was lying down,” Packer says, recalling the heartbreaking details leading up to the rollercoaster ride that followed. “My vet called me about an hour later and said he was really, really sorry, but that Gambler had died. He told my father he had nudged him, listened for breathing, and the horse was dead.”
Show name: Gamblin Man
Foal date: May 17, 2007Devastated to lose the horse she loved for his mellow personality and cooperative nature, she tearfully phoned her circle of friends to break the bad news. “So many people loved him that I took 20 minutes calling everyone,” she says.
No sooner did she hang up on a call than her phone rang again. It was about 10 p.m. It was her veterinarian again.
“He said he’d never had anything like this before, but that Gambler was alive. When he went back to the paddock, he found Gambler standing there, eating grass. He watched him for a while to see what would happen and then called,” she says. “He told me, ‘He’s standing right here.’ ”
After that, the veterinarians familiar with his case started calling him the “miracle horse.”
Though no reason for the colic and unusual turn of events was ever identified, Packer took immediate action with his diet. “I changed everything!”
“I changed his hay, grain, everything. He gets Equi 14 pellets by Seminole, and I put him on 2 scoops of Cool Calories 100, a fat supplement. And he gets lots of good hay,” she says.
Packer had been volunteering for Florida TRAC in 2012 when she took pity on the “boring bay” and offered to foster him. An animal caregiver at a chimpanzee sanctuary, she took pity on the gentle horse who suffered a terrible case of rain rot. “I figured nobody would want him, since he was a boring color and covered in rot. And I loved his laid back personality. He’s so calm that he’s more like a Quarter Horse.”
Since his bouts with colic, the shine has come into his coat, and Gambler has proven to be a perfect lesson horse. On Nov. 16, he packed around one of Packer’s students at the Twin Rivers Saddle Club, winning four blue ribbons. And another young rider is schooling him over 2-foot-3 fences.
“He’s my amazing horse. I’m so glad he’s still here,” Packer says. “It broke my heart when I thought I’d lost him.”
9 responses to “T’bred once declared dead now wins blues”
Hey! I know this horse!!!! Raised him the day he was born until a yearling!!!! Glad to see he is in good hands!
Yikes! “Kicked him”? I worked at an equine vet hospital for 10 years and I don’t think I ever saw one of the vets kick a horse to see if he was still alive!!!
But yes, I too am so glad Gambler won that bet!!
The vet no doubt did this as a very last resort. I imagine a scenario with people, if they pass out and don’t come to, or if they’ve suffered a serious heart malfunction. Then the time for gentle tapping ends. Mind you, this is a guess. I wasn’t there.
It says nudged not kicked.
Suzanne, it originally said “kicked” and the interviewee said perhaps she should have said nudged, so I changed it. She didn’t ask me to, but, if she meant to say nudged and not kicked, I figured no harm was done. It was probably enough to see if the horse would respond. – Sue
Thanks Susan! That makes more sense (and makes that vet sound a lot more humane, haha!!).
What a wonderful story. Congrats Gambler
Hmmm. Wonder if the vet went back to his Merck Manual to review the “colic” chapter :o) Seriously, maybe the “kicking” dislodged the obstruction and all was well. Vet didn’t say he took out his stethoscope to check for sure. Glad Gambler won THAT “bet.”
Was wondering the same thing myself. The other standard check for mortality besides the stethoscope is to press on the eyeball. Eyes are super sensitive, and if the horse is still alive there will be a reaction. Anyhow, glad to hear he survived no matter what weird things happened to him.