Endeavor Therapeutic Horsemanship, Inc.
On a cold February morning this past winter our hearts sank as we saw our beloved Koda limping to his water trough. Our veterinarian was called immediately and judging by the severity of his lameness we hoped it would be an abscess and not something more severe. A gas pocket was identified as well as a small deformity in his coffin bone. We crossed our fingers and hoped his lameness was related to a gas pocket created by an abscess only. We went to work soaking his hoof in epsom salts and wrapping his hoof with drawing salves. However, over the next two months an abscess never erupted and Koda alternated between sound and lame. The gas pocket would resolve only to reappear a couple weeks later. After almost two months of this we sent Koda in for an MRI and we discovered a keratoma was the source of his lameness. A small benign tumor was growing in to his coffin bone.
Fortunately we have a great team of veterinarians and surgeons in Kentucky who could perform the surgery Koda needed. We also had a great farm that could rehab Koda while the hole that would need to be cut out of his hoof to remove the tumor grew back. So we packed our Koda on to a southern bound trailer in April and hoped for the best.
The surgery was a success and currently Koda is rehabbing with a couple hours of turnout on rich Kentucky bluegrass that is helping to keep him relatively happy and healthy. Koda does not like to be stalled at all so he has not been his best self but he is trying to be the best horse he can be as he heals. We are hoping he will be ready to return to us in New York this fall, and be ready to resume his spot in program next Spring. Only time will tell of course.
The reason we are nominating Koda is because of how special he is to our program and to everyone who meets him. In late 2016 our staff found Koda at a local rescue that really didn't know what to make of him. One of our staff members with a gifted intuition saw Koda and knew he could be a wonderful addition to the Endeavor herd. She was right.
Koda came with a variety of issues that we have navigated through and through. He has some neurological issues which caused his left eye to be smaller, sunken, and more sensitive to light. When he his stressed he sweats profusely on his left shoulder (and only his left shoulder). We do not know much at all about Koda's past but we suspect there was some abuse and neglect as he has displayed some of the telltale signs that come with that type of traumatic history.
Despite whatever Koda's dark past might have been he shines brightly at Endeavor as a friend to all who meet him. He teaches his participants how to work with horses, how to ride, and he listens to them closely. On the ground Koda is standoffish with new people at first, but with a little dedication and care Koda accepts them in to his circle of trust. He shows them affection in his own unique ways. One of the programs Koda is most exceptional in is our military veterans programs. Having to win over his trust is a challenge uniquely appreciated by our veterans. Koda is very clear about what he likes and what he doesn't like and that type of personality can be extremely beneficial in equine assisted psychotherapy sessions. This spring we noticed Koda nuzzling a veteran who was grooming him, something we'd never seen him do before with participants nor staff. After the session the veteran reported that at the moments Koda started to nuzzle him he was beginning to experience flashbacks. Koda felt it somehow and helped nudge him back to the present.
We could go on and on about Koda but hope what we have laid out here paints a clear picture. We can not put in to words just how much his presence is missed right now with him not here. Participants and volunteers ask for updates on his recovery daily.
We believe Koda would benefit from the $500 Platinum Performance grant immensely. We would work with our brilliant veterinarian, Dr Laura Faulkner, to pick which supplements would serve Koda best. We assume the Hoof Support might be a great option as he grows new hoof were the tumor was cut out. Also considering his unease with not being out in turnout full-time for the time being we think the Platinum Tranquility might help ease some of his nervousness and anxiety. We will of course see what Dr Faulkner recommends based on his needs and design a plan that makes the most sense for him!
We know that there won't be a horse nominated for this grant that doesn't deserve it, we just hope that Koda is one of them!
Relationship of Nominator to Nominee
We are staff at Endeavor Therapeutic Horsemanship in Bedford Corners, New York. We serve a variety of participants year round. We have a therapeutic riding program, a physical therapy and occupational therapy program, and we have a residential youth program. We also have a large military veterans program where veterans can participate in EAGALA, horsemanship lessons, and individual equine assisted psychotherapy sessions. Koda joined the Endeavor herd in 2017 when he was found at a local rescue by our staff. -- Emily Bushnell