Orphan Foal Triumphs: Meet Bailey

Meet Bailey, aka Hopin’ For A Hot One. She is a 2006 AQHA, IBHA, ARRA mare owned by Karla Scott. Before we tell you the story of this amazing mare’s journey, we’d first like to highlight some of her accomplishments.

IBHA Reserve World Champion Open Jr. Hunter Under Saddle
IBHA World Top 10 Jr. Horse Western Pleasure

IBHA World Top 5 Amateur Hunter Under Saddle
IBHA World Top 5 Open Jr. Hunter Under Saddle
IBHA World Top 10 13 & Under Hunter Under Saddle
ABRA Reserve World Champion Open Jr. Hunter Under Saddle (see video below)
ABRA Reserve World Champion Amateur Hunter Under Saddle
ABRA World Top 10 13 & Under Hunter Under Saddle
ABRA Honor Roll Reserve Champion Amateur Hunter Under Saddle
ABRA Honor Roll Top 5 Jr. Hunter Under Saddle
ABRA Amateur HUS Performance ROM
ABRA Open HUS Performance ROM
Color Breed Congress/NSBA Champion in Jr. Hunter Under Saddle
Color Breed Congress Champion in Amateur Hunter Under Saddle

Buckskin Congress High Point All Around Amateur Select
2x Buckskin Congress Champion
3x Reserve Buckskin Congress Champion
ABRA Honor Roll Champion Jr. Hunter Under Saddle
ABRA Honor Roll Reserve Champion Amateur Hunter Under Saddle
ABRA Supreme Open Hunter Under Saddle
ABRA Supreme Amateur Hunter Under Saddle
IBHA Open HUS Performance ROM
MoQHA Reserve High Point Performance Horse Amateur Select
MoQHA Reserve High Point All Around Horse Amateur Select
AQHA Performance ROM

Obtaining this level of success is difficult enough, doing so while facing numerous health challenges is even more inspiring. We see it as a testament to this horse athlete’s will to survive and even thrive. Additionally, it is evidence of the dedication and commitment from her team of caregivers: owner Karla Scott, breeder/trainer Brenda Wasser, farriers and the doctors at Mid-Rivers Equine Centre.

From the beginning, this talented mare has had to overcome multiple challenges. Bailey’s journey began with Mid-Rivers in April of 2006 when she was orphaned at only 2 months of age. Surviving as an orphaned foal can be particularly challenging, but to make matters worse, a highly contagious virus was spreading at the barn next door and without a fully developed immune system, this filly’s health was in danger. In an effort to boost her antibodies, Bailey received a complete blood transfusion at Mid-Rivers Equine Centre. Wasser called it “her insurance policy.” And it paid off. She escaped the virus and with a strict foal care regiment in place, you would never have known Bailey was an orphan foal.

Hurdle number one…cleared.

As a yearling, Bailey caught the eye of Wasser’s clients Karla and John Scott so she returned to Mid-Rivers Equine Centre for a pre-purchase exam in March of 2007. The pre-purchase exam included a complete physical examination, lameness examination, and complete set of hind and fore limb digital x-rays. Bailey passed with flying colors. Karla recalls Dr. Ellis saying she was a "nice prospect.” And how right he was.

Very shortly after the Scotts purchased Bailey, she hit a growth spurt. Her body began growing and her bones were growing faster than her tendons. As a result she began developing significant contracture in both front limbs. We put Bailey on a nutritional supplement in an attempt to slow down her growth spurt but that proved unsuccessful.

On July 5th of 2007, she was evaluated and it was found that her ligament issues were beginning to affect the knee. They adjusted her nutritional plan once again and worked with the farrier who applied corrective shoeing to help stretch the tendons.

Dr. Ellis' examination of Bailey on September of 2007 revealed that the corrective shoeing helped to improve her hoof angles and alleviated the knee issue. Unfortunately, the radiographs indicated that arthritis had begun to settle in the hoofs and fetlock. This, along with the contracted tendons, was causing lameness.

Dr. Ellis recommended that she have check ligament surgery with the hopes of a 50-70% improvement. With this type of prognosis, having any type of successful show career was on the back burner. Karla commented, “At this point we were looking at salvage-surgery.” Karla was committed to providing Bailey with the best possible quality of life and if that meant surgery then she was on board.

Surgery was scheduled for the morning of September 12th, 2007. Bailey was prepped for surgery, given an injectable anesthesia and then placed on the operating table. Bailey immediately reacted very abnormally to the anesthetic typically used and her heart rate began to plummet and within seconds her heart arrested. Her EKG trace flat-lined. Emergency procedures were implemented and we were successfully able to revive her. It was undoubtedly a scary moment for everyone, including the Scotts, who were watching from the observation window.The surgical procedure was aborted and Bailey was moved to recovery. Her recovery was uneventful.

Two days later, on September 14th, Bailey went back in for her rescheduled Check Ligament surgery. This time utilizing a different anesthetic protocol, the surgery was a success. Karla recalls Bailey emerging from surgery “flat footed.” After just one night in the hospital she went home with some “bute” for inflammation, antibiotics and bandages in tow. On September 27th, she was re-examined and then again at 30 days. Other than a few bandage sores, she was looking good and on her way to recovery. Happily, she began living the life of any young filly for the next year.

As a two-year-old, Bailey had another health scare. In the fall of 2008, she had an adverse reaction to a routine combined vaccination. She begin running a fever and had severe swelling in her hind legs. You can imagine that everyone’s first concerns (especially with her previous hoof issues) were for laminitis and founder. Dr. Baxter worked with Karla to take the appropriate preventative steps and Bailey made it through unscathed.

Bailey began her training in 2009. Training went along without any hiccups and peaked in the fall of 2009 when she competed at the IBHA World Show earning a Reserve World Championship title in Jr. Hunter Under Saddle and 6th place in Jr. Western Pleasure. All of the Scotts efforts were not in vain. This was quite an accomplishment for a horse whose show career was at one time thought to have been over before it began.

In December of 2009, lameness issues in those front feet plagued Bailey once again. A lameness evaluation and digital radiographs revealed that while her hoof angles were better than before, calcium deposits were forming and the arthritis had progressed into the coffin bone and pastern. At this time, Dr. Baxter recommended that the condition be treated with Tildren. Tildren is used to increase the growth of healthy bone while reducing inflammation within the bones.

The Tildren treatment, along with corrective shoeing to maintain her angles, kept Bailey sound and pain free throughout the 2010 show season. This year she earned three Color Breed Congress Champion titles, two Reserve World Champion titles, two World Top 5 titles, two World Top 10 titles and Performance ROM's in ABRA Open and Amateur Hunter Under Saddle.

At the end of the 2010 show season, Bailey’s exam and the digital radiographs of her right pastern joint revealed more degenerative changes, the arthritis was getting worse. The next course of action was hyaluronic injections. Dr. Baxter administered injections to both her coffin and pastern joints. Hyaluronic injections are designed to keep a joint lubricated and reduce inflammation. When this therapy becomes ineffective, as with Bailey, alternative treatments needed to be explored. The doctors at Mid-Rivers Equine Centre suggested IRAP therapy.

IRAP therapy is a form of regenerative medicine, wherein the bodies own substances are collected, concentrated and strategically used to help overcome degenerative injuries and speed healing. In other words we use technological advancements to stimulate the body’s own repair mechanisms to heal previously irreparable tissue by stimulating and amplifying the body’s own repair mechanisms to heal itself.”

Specifically, IRAP therapy stimulates an equine’s white blood cells to produce anti-inflammatory “mediators and enzymes.” The benefit is we reduce the inflammation which allows the joint fluid to improve in it’s nutritional content which is the only source of nutrition for cartilage. In the presence of inflammation, cartilage essentially starves. Normal thick healthy cartilage degenerates and becomes thinner, discolored and if it goes on too long, can become disrupted exposing the nerves that are normally protected by the cartilage. Once a full-thickness cartilage defect develops, the nerves are exposed which results in pain and further inflammation and the whole process becomes a very viscous cycle.

Bailey began her IRAP treatments in January of 2011. Her response to the treatment has been remarkable. “IRAP was like a miracle,” Karla Scott said. “We are thrilled.” In 2011, Bailey went on to win an impressive eleven breed, national and world titles combined. Not to mention numerous local and state titles.

Bailey’s IRAP treatment was the last major treatment this orphan baby received. It has been nearly a year and a half since she has had any major lameness issues. While her feet problems will never completely go away, we can be assured that she will never be without the best medical treatment and the dedication of her loving caregivers.

Bailey continues to train, show, and live happily at her forever home in Marthasville, MO with Karla Scott.

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