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FACING THE UNKNOWN

After returning to their farm in Florida, Terry and his wife began the painstaking process of determining exactly what injuries the talented jumper had sustained, and how severe they were. Unfortunately, the answers they were looking for would never be found. “When we returned, we took Shamrock to three different

vet clinics. We were trying to figure it out, but each vet had a different diagnosis: he fractured his pelvis; he sprained one of his back muscles; he wasn’t going to be able to trot any more. We never knew how bad it really was.” Although a firm diagnosis seemed out of reach, Terry

refused to give up on Shamrock. “We always said that if the horse needed to be retired, we wanted him to be retired with us,” Terry recalls. “My wife and I decided to treat the whole horse; to give the whole horse a chance to recover.”

“He spent a year and a half on stall rest. It was very,

very hard to see him like that. But, at the same time, I was broken, too, because of the accident. My L5 and my L6 [vertebras] were totally destroyed. We healed together.” After seven months of rehabilitation, Terry was able to start riding again. Before long, his clients were back and he was getting new horses in to ride and train. Things

had almost returned to normal, except for one thing: “We always saved the first stall for Shamrock.” “He was furious every time he saw the horses getting

on the trailer and he was staying home,” Terry muses. “That’s what sparked the idea of rehabilitating him. When I got hurt, I started working back slowly and we decided to do the same with the horse. So we began working with another vet here in Fort Lauderdale and we went through the whole horse again.” Despite the incredible odds, Terry’s hopes for Shamrock

wouldn’t be in vein. Incredibly, the horse was starting to show consistent improvement, and his personality had returned. “We started slowly with just walking at first. Soon we were trotting again for five minutes, then for fifteen minutes. We started cantering. We did a lot of canter work and we were always crossing our fingers that he wouldn’t break again.” Much to Terry’s delight, the vet deemed Shamrock

sound after his initial rehabilitation. The question of jumping still remained unanswered. Of course, Terry wanted to give Shamrock every chance to succeed. “Everyone told me that he wasn’t going to be able to jump anymore,” says Terry. “The vet told me, ‘You know, if he’s going to break, he’s going to break.’”

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