This time of year can mean a lot of things to a lot of horse people: Keeping riding resolutions once the shiny of a new year wears off. Migrating to warmer climes for winter show circuits. Dealing with ice at the barn … then mud … then ice again, along with the complicated dance of blanket changes that happens in the meantime. Budgeting for and planning equine activities and shows for the year.
In my unofficial surveys of friends and colleagues, I’ve determined that many here in the frigid Bluegrass are considering the very attractive concept of hibernating 'til spring.
Indeed, to those on the perimeter of the horse industry or just driving the Central Kentucky roads, January through March seems a dormant, though expectant, time—serene, snowy pastures are dotted with hay piles and happily munching, very-round Thoroughbred mares.
But yet if you look behind the doors of several world-class equine hospitals in our region, you'll find a very different pace.
Here, some of the top veterinary teams labor 24/7, 365 days of the year, saving lives. They care for horses of all breeds, sizes, and ages. This time of year many of their patients are tiny, with their lives just beginning.
One of my colleagues at our sister publication, The Blood-Horse and bloodhorse.com, Claire Novak, immersed herself in the inner workings of a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute and has written about some of the characters she met, both equine and human. She and members of the bloodhorse.com team have produced our company’s first long-form editorial project, complete with beautiful photos and videos from Anne Eberhardt's visuals team to tell the story of what’s happening just down the road from our offices this time of year.
Claire spoke with the many players that go to bat for these tiny little foals, from the farm managers to the veterinarians. She captures their passion for their jobs beautifully, and I hope you will take a few minutes to read, watch, listen, and learn.
Besides, who doesn’t love pictures of adorable foals trying to beat the odds?
(And a bonus? You can have the whole experience without having to inhale and inevitably taste the pungent dimethyl sulfoxide, or DMSO, in the air, a common part of visiting the NICU! You’re welcome.)
I hope you take a look at this project and enjoy what you see.
What types of things are your veterinarians and veterinary technicians up to this time of year in your part of the world? Can you give examples of their passion for the work?