Last December Tracie Houle shared with us the story of her OTTB eventer Palmetto Moonshine, “Toddy,” who beat a frightening episode of ventricular tachycardia (or abnormal heart rate, in simple terms). As Tracie put it: “the heart of a horse can surprise you if you let it, literally and figuratively.” Since then Toddy been given the clear to start work again and seems to be bouncing back with a vengeance. Tracie kindly shared with us this update!
“Every champion was once a contender that refused to give up.” – Rocky Balboa
We got back to work under saddle and did a slow, increasing conditioning schedule until April. Then it was time to visit our great staff at the University of Minnesota Equine Center again on April 1.
Toddy was hooked up to the EKG and I saddled him up for his final stress test. We trotted, cantered and galloped around the indoor as the staff monitored his heartrate. After a few gallop sets they gave me the thumbs up and the test was finished. The results were reviewed shortly after and Toddy was given the all clear to continue to pursue his career in eventing!
I considered this an amazing early birthday gift and put Toddy back into full work including jumping weekly. We have since schooled cross country multiple times, had some amazing showjumping lessons with Allison Springer and Liz Lund, and most recently drove to Wisconsin to ride with Lainey Ashker at the beginning of June. Toddy has been feeling strong, willing and open to new challenges. This horse continues to impress me and I have no doubts he will continue to do so.
He has taught me that even a sliver of hope can lead you to the outcome you desire. He has taught me that good things do come to those who wait and he has reminded me on multiple occasions to always be grateful for what you have in your life. Gratitude is an amazing gift, and while I have galloped around Prelim cross country courses on a previous horse there is something extra special about riding Toddy that I will always treasure. The way he pricks his ears during a cross country schooling and looks for new challenges. He is a fighter, he is an OTTB and he is a survivor.
He is signed up for his first event of the year at the Otter Creek Summer horse trials in August! This has always been my favorite event in Area IV and I’m delighted that this is where Toddy will make his comeback. This journey would not have been possible without my mother Karen, husband Joe, and close friends that have supported myself and Toddy unconditionally. We love all of them!
Until next time my fellow eventers, eyes up and kick on!