Born in 2004, Cappy is a genuinely lovely Thoroughbred. She is the most stunning colour and so very gentle – at over 17 hands high, she’s affectionately called our Gentle Giant and is a favourite with everyone. She is a bonded pair with the gorgeous Mack and they are never more than a few metres apart. It’s so lovely to watch them together.
Cappy still has a long road to full recovery ahead of her. Her feet were finally starting to be closer to the shape they should be and after a couple more abscesses early in their year, everything in the feet department was very positive.
Her digestive system was still of concern, however, and she had three bouts of colic between June and September. We are still yet to pinpoint the exact cause of her colic, but are working closely with our vets to figure it out. Each time she coliced she had lots of dry hay in her manure so, either she wasn’t drinking enough (which can happen when the water is very cold over winter) or she has lost the ability to digest large amounts of hay (which the herd gets fed in winter as the grass stops growing). She was trialed on a hay-free diet until the end of the year to see if hay was the problem. She didn’t colic during those three months so that would indicate that it isn’t something more structural as the cause. It is not unusual for horses that have been starved to have difficulty in regaining normal gut function.
Cappy was by far our biggest expense in the herd – her vet bills in 2020 were enormous and her special dietary needs were also hugely expensive. She is worth every cent.
Given her original state, Cappy is doing remarkably well. She is still a long way from having stability in her hind end with a lot of muscle still wasted. Once she regains her strength, we are hopeful that some of her lameness issues will also resolve as it’s thought they relate to her lost muscle tone more than anything else.
Her hooves were truly appalling, but are slowly being rehabilitated and she is getting more and more active and joyful as the months roll by. She will undoubtedly have a series of hoof abscesses as her feet start to remodel to the shape that they should be, but nothing we will keep her as comfortable as possible throughout her rehabilitation.
Life Before the Sanctuary
“Cappy” is short for Capital Return – she was bred for racing and this was her racing name.
After being neglected and starved for two years before being reported to the RSPCA, Cappy’s body entered what is called a starvation state and used her muscle mass as fuel when all her body fat was depleted. It can take many, many months – even years – for a horse her size to rebuild its muscle mass and regain muscle strength.