When Beau was admitted to Tufts Hospital for Large Animals at Cummings Veterinary Medical Center in May 2014 for colic symptoms, longtime owner, Debra Benanti, was shocked to find out that he not only had ulcers, but also cancer. The 23-year-old Missouri Fox Trotter, who showed saddle seat from age 17-19 before settling down to do some light ring work and trail riding, now had a new challenge to face.
With an altered feeding plan and round-the-clock care at the Hospital for Large Animals, Debra was able to bring Beau home, where their bond only continued to grow. “My horse is my life, he absolutely knows me. Our relationship became stronger from spending many weeks at Tufts and during aftercare, grooming, hand-walking, and visiting him,” says Debra. “We have become the best partners.”
This wasn’t the first time the pair made the trek to Grafton from Chelmsford, Mass.—in 2010, Beau had colic surgery at the Hospital for Large Animals, and prior to that, Tufts clinicians treated him for a broken leg in 2002. “Tufts works in teams, and every doctor is very much in communication with you,” says Debra. “I know that once they do a work up on my horse, they research every possibility for a cure or plan for survival to make your horse healthy and live as long a life as possible.”
Debra recalls her proudest moment with Beau taking place after recovering from his broken leg: “He rehabbed and that is when we started showing him saddle seat in his alternative gait at Hanson Riding Club. To watch my boy with his rider canter around the show ring three times in each direction—I was in tears.”