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A Broken Leg But Never a Broken Spirit

Sue Minton-Edison and Zo’dan Win the USDF Region 6 Intermediate I Championship and Head to Kentucky to Compete USDF National Finals

In 2013, Sue Minton-Edison heard the news that horse owners everywhere dread the most. She learned that her gorgeous Dutch Warmblood, Zo’dan, whom she had just imported a few months before, had broken his knee, and therefore must be put down. At that time, nobody could have ever imagined that this horse could be brought back from the brink of disaster. Nobody, that is, except his owner who against all odds refused to give up on her beloved new friend. Now, five years later, Zo’dan and Sue are ranked #1 Dutch Warmblood in Adult Amateur Musical Freestyle and are the #4 ranked I-1 AA Musical Freestyles pair in the nation. At the USDF Region 6 Championships they won the Intermediate I AA Championship, placed 3rd in the Intermediate I Freestyle Championship and are preparing to do the same at the USDF Nationals this week in Kentucky.

In spite of all the excitement of being in the winner’s circle and preparing for Nationals, Sue never lost sight of how far she and Zo’dan have come. She often reflects back to the awful time five years ago when the vets decreed that the injury was too severe to ever expect a full recovery.

The week following this dire prognosis was agonizing for Sue. “During that week, I had to make a decision whether or not to put him down,” she remembers. She consulted with experts and vets from around the county, and they all said the same thing, “There’s no way,” she continues, “Two of the top vets said, “Even if it does heal, he will never, ever be stable. That leg will never be safe.” There was also the practical, financial issue to consider. At the time, Zo’dan was covered by an insurance policy that Sue purchased to cover his cost. Everybody said, “You have to put him down. You will never recover your money otherwise, ” she adds.

However, with the odds stacked against her, and against everyone’s advice, Sue made the decision nobody expected. Late one night while caring for Z she was struck by his trust in her and she came to the profound realization that she had to try – that she owed him that.

Sue and Zo'dan

Throughout the next several months, Sue devoted herself to Zo’dan’s healing. She and Laura Frederiksen-Park of Silver Tail Farm stayed at his stall night and day to ensure that he didn’t lie down, because bending the knee would cause the (hopefully) healing bone to re-fracture. She provided nearly every therapy imaginable

After 4 ½ months of stall rest, he was ready to come out and be evaluated. “We X-rayed him and when we all looked at the x-rays, we started crying,” she remembers. The leg was healing perfectly.  “At 6 months, I began hand walking him, and after a few weeks we began trotting in hand.”  After a month of that, she received the go-ahead to get on him.

“This horse is a testament to his sire, the stallion, Olivi,” Sue proudly states, “He’s got such a good mind. He’s strong-willed and he’s stoic and he’s solid.  I absolutely feel honored that he came into my life,” she adds, “This horse has changed me at such a basic level and has made me a better person. He just made me dig deep.” And that spirit paid off for both Sue and Zo’dan

Zo’dan has been working on Silver Tail Farm’s Premier Equestrian brand footing, which is another way Sue has provided only the best for her miracle horse.  Premier Equestrian honors equestrian athletes whose culture demonstrates kindness, support, and exceptional sportsmanship and earlier this year Sue and Zo’dan were honored with the Premier Equestrian Sportsmanship Award.

Sue is grateful to the “village” of equestrian practitioners, friends and trainers who helped her make the amazing journey not only to fully recover but to the enviable show record that has qualified them to compete in the USDF National Finals.  “It is a dream come true that I hope inspires other horse owners facing these same challenges. I am especially grateful to my trainer Debbie Evans of Riverside Farm who has been with me every step of the way and Dr. Chris Camp, and to Heidi Zorn of Premier Equestrian whose faith, friendship and footing contributed to our success”.  Both Debbie and Heidi will accompany Sue and Zo’dan to the USDF Finals.

Premier Equestrian a sponsor of the USDF National Finals and Heidi is excited to be on hand to cheer on Sue and Zo’dan, “who are already winners just for making it to the Finals against all odds”.

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