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Teamwork Helps Thoroughbred Seize the Day

“Carpe Diem is a bold, athletic horse with opinions of his own, so the reward is huge when we overcome challenges together,” says Sara Florin of her 16-year-old Thoroughbred gelding. “He’s taught me a lot about horses, about eventing, and especially about myself.” The pair started eventing together when Sara got him in 2007, and they were ready to move up to Training Level in 2013 when Diem suffered an injury. An MRI at Tufts Hospital for Large Animals showed a deep digital flexor tendon tear, and Sara and Diem were provided a rehabilitation plan.

But while rehabbing, it was discovered that Diem was also suffering from severe kissing spine. Dr. Carl Kirker-Head recommended a relatively new spinal procedure to open up space between the vertebrae that had been touching. The surgery was a success—Sara found that Diem was much more willing to use his back under saddle, and didn’t have any of the sensitivity that he formerly had. “I’m so glad the hospital was able to help my horse have a pain-free back,” she says.

While Diem has since been retired, Sara is thrilled that his back is now pain free and recalls some of her proudest moments with him. “GMHA has always been my favorite event. We competed there twice, and both times he trucked around cross-country like a rock star. There’s nothing like finishing a tough course and wanting to gallop around again immediately!”