Sundance – Farewell on June 21, 2021
Approximate Date of Birth: 1/1/2003Sponsor:
Sundance came to us through County of San Diego Animal Services in May of 2009. Animal Services had rescued him as a stray from Potrero. He was suffering from neglect. He was thin and his hooves needed attention. He also had a number of cuts, typical of getting cut by wire.
At the time he was believed to be between five and six years old. Sundance had a number of health problems. His left front foot is club footed and at the time of his original evaluation, the foot was enflamed, He has a crack on his right front hoof and a bowed tendon. The suspensory ligaments in both of his rear legs had been heavily damaged. Sadly, all of these injuries had resulted from being over ridden. While County Animal Services did a great job nursing him back to health, his foot and leg problems required special care, which meant he couldn’t be adopted. Thanks to generous gifts from a special friend of Horses of Tir Na Nog and the Toby Wells Foundation, we were able to offer Sundance both the home and the special care he needed. While Sundance will never be able to be ridden again, we are looking forward to helping his legs and feet recover.
We believe that after being ridden nearly to death over just a few short years, Sundance was dumped in Potrero by people who didn’t care about what happened to him. Thanks to the staff at Animal Services, he is now getting lots of love and attention from our volunteers. Standing just over 17 hands tall, Sundance definitely stands out in the crowd at Horses of Tir Na Nog.
Farewell – June 21, 2021
In the spring of 2003, County of San Diego Department of Animal Services called us about a thoroughbred they had picked up as a stray in Potrero. He was terribly under weight and his feed needed special attention. Dr. Rand from East County Large and Small Animal Practice (ECLAP) met us at the shelter to evaluate him.
Dr. Rand was doubtful of our ability to recover this poor guy. He had severe suspensory ligament issues. In fact, ligaments that
should have looked like spaghetti looked like cottage cheese on ultrasound. She also confirmed that he was a warmblood and his larger size would only put additional strain on the ligaments. While Dr. Rand was leaning toward euthanasia, Sundance's zest for life was pretty evident during the exam. So, we struck a deal. He would come to the ranch for 30 days as long as we were willing to let him go at the end of the 30 days if he was unable to recover. When Dr. Rand came to check on him 30 days later, she didn't recognize him!
We believe Sundance, named by Noelle Kottas and her mom Monica, was likely born in 2003. So, when he arrived at the ranch in 2009, he was the youngest horse in our care at only 6. At the time it saddened us that his suspensory ligaments showed such deterioration so young. The speculation was that this damage had been caused by overriding. It may have been a situation where Sundance was ridden too soon or too hard after an injury. Regardless, this young horse arrived with a much older body and that was likely caused by people who had owned him previously.
When Sundance arrived, he was also the largest, a distinction he held until Sonny arrived in 2016. As a tall, dark, handsome fellow Sundance was known to make volunteers swoon! He definitely stood out among our ranch residents, not only physically but also through his big, goofy personality. While he often considered lead rode directions mere suggestions, he loved being the center of attention. He especially loved being the center of attention from Linda Bickel who served as our Volunteer Coordinator. Whether it was being groomed, kicking up his heals in turnout or playing in the sprinkler, Sundance loved life. In recent years that love of life included Bambi. As our most flirtatious mare, perhaps Bambi was destined to live with Mr. Tall Dark and Handsome himself.
We knew his suspensory ligament issues would shorten his life expectancy, but we never dreamed he would leave us so soon. On the morning of Sunday, June 20, he greeted his breakfast with same gusto he did every day. But at 6:00 p.m. he was down, unwilling to get up. We immediately called Dr. Oman from East County Large Animal Practice. Sundance’s behavior quickly devolved into up-and-down behavior typical of a painful colic. When down he was rolling. His initial exam indicated a right dorsal displacement. While not a good diagnosis, there was room for hope.
By Monday morning he appeared more comfortable. Since he was not showing the bloating and reflux that would have indicated a severe displacement, fluids were administered and we continued to hope. By late Monday afternoon that hope began to wane as Sundance failed to show signs of improvement. When Dr. Harlan arrived, he noticed a deterioration in his gum color, indicating a change in his circulatory system. Given the amount of medication and the treatments Sundance had received in the last 24 hours, it was apparent that he wasn’t going to respond to the treatments.
It was heartbreaking to say goodbye to an eighteen-year-old horse, a horse that had been such a big part of the ranch for twelve years. As a sanctuary for medically manageable equines, the gift of sharing twelve years with Sundance was precious indeed. He has left a
giant hole in our hearts. We are so grateful to both Dr. Oman and Dr. Harlan for all that the did for Sundance. We are grateful to everyone who shared prayers, positive energy and kind words on our posts. We are so fortunate to have been able to offer Sundance a forever home since 2009.
His life with us was made possible through your generous support. Thank you! As much as our hearts hurt, it is amazing that each of you, through your support, transformed an underweight horse discarded in San Diego’s East County into one of the biggest characters at the ranch. We know that his buddies Tanner, King, and Mariah were all waiting at the Rainbow Bridge for him. Rudy, who proceeded him across the Bridge by only a couple of days must have gotten a kick out of being back with his neighbor so soon. We also know that when Sundance arrived, ready to reunite with his friends he didn’t have walked across the Bridge, he would have leapt into eternity with the same enthusiasm he greeted each day with us.