An animal can change our lives in an instant. Many animals become like family, and such is the case of a 15-year-old gelding named Curly, who resides near Pearcy, Ark. The roping horse traveled home from the 2015 College Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyo., where he and Seth Driggers, had just won 5th place in Team Roping. When he unloaded from the trailer, Seth and his family, who are competitive in the sport of rodeo, knew he wasn’t feeling well after his 18-hour trip.
“Initially we thought he was tired from his trip or missing the horses that he is used to being around,” said Lisa Driggers, Seth’s mom. “But when he laid down, he didn’t want to get up, and when we put him out with the other horses, he was not his perky self.”
After a few trips to the local veterinarian, and no clear diagnosis, the Driggers took Curly to Oakridge Equine Hospital at Edmond, Okla., when his temperature spiked to 103-degrees. He was eventually diagnosed with Pleurisy.
Pleurisy is a painful inflammation of the membrane that lines the inside of the horse’s chest cavity and covers the lungs. The condition results in fluid accumulation and affects the horse’s breathing. Lisa said the surgeons at Oakridge had removed part of one of Curly’s ribs behind his shoulder to scrape the infection from the lining of his lung. This left an approximately 8-inch hole in his side that required flushing with a water hose three times a day for cleaning.
Seth, who rode him during the CNFR in Casper, said they initially drained 4.5 gallons of fluid from his lungs, and then they tried to encourage him to eat and drink to regain his strength. They tried different feeds, but nothing seemed to work permanently. Then, Seth asked the veterinarians if they could try Vitalize® Equine Recovery Paste (transitioned to Vitalize® Equine Recovery Gel July 2019) on Curly to see if that would help stimulate his appetite.
And just like one animal can make a difference in our lives, one product made the difference to Curly’s life.
“I credit Vitalize Recovery Paste for making that difference in my horse,” Seth said. “Without that helping him eating, I don’t think he’d be here today.”
Seth said prior to their experience with Curly, they had not used the Vitalize products; however, they had been using VitaFerm® and Concept•Aid® on their cow-calf operation for years, and were big believers in those BioZyme products. Once they started treating him with Recovery Paste, he started eating and drinking and getting back his strength.
“We call him our little gold mine because of all the care and attention we gave to him,” Lisa said. “He is just one of a handful of our horses we would have given this much care to, but he was worth it. We’ve had him since he was two. He brought our boys through junior high, high school and college rodeos and now, my 3-year-old niece is riding him. He is a horse that just knows what to do, whether it’s letting our young niece ride him or Seth competing on him, he always adapts.”
With nearly three months in various vet hospitals and losing at least 300 pounds two years ago, Curly will likely not ever make the PRCA circuit, but he is recovering, and the Driggers are starting to rope from him again, He has a small indention in his side where part of his rib was removed.
“The most important thing to keeping your animals healthy is to keep them eating and drinking. If you have an animal go through a traumatic experience like we did, make sure they have a healthy gut and give them the Recovery Paste. Their chances of recovery will be a lot better,” Seth said.
His mom echoes that sentiment, saying they now use Vitalize Recovery Paste any time they go rodeo more than eight hours from home, both before they load onto the trailer and upon arrival, just to keep their horses’ guts in check. They also include Vitalize® Equine High Performance pellets in their horses’ daily diets.
“We’re definitely a VitaFerm and Vitalize family,” Lisa said.