The week following this dismal news was agonizing for Minton-Edison. “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 continued, “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 Minton-Edison purchased to cover his cost and that of the trip when she imported him. Everybody said, “You have to put him down. You will never recover your money otherwise,” she adds. “The pressure to do it was intense.”
However, with the odds stacked against her, and against everyone’s advice, Minton-Edison made the decision nobody expected. “I can remember sitting by his stall and he gave me a little shove,” she describes, “I looked up at his face and thought, ‘I have a relationship with this horse!’ I mean, he was playing with me. He trusts me. I looked in his eye and said, “I’m going to try. I’ve got to try!”
Throughout the next several months, Minton-Edison devoted herself to Zo’dan’s healing. She and Laura Fredriksen-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 – from electrical stimulation to experimental stem cell treatments, from massages to psychic consultations, along with the obvious special feedings, and “hoof” holding required to keep Zo’dan happy and sane. Then, 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 weeks of that we began trotting in hand.” Eventually, she received the go-ahead to get on him. Everything was going beautifully, until the pair suffered another setback. Zo’dan developed head-shaking syndrome and a UV light sensitivity. “I think his system was so overloaded,” Minton-Edison describes, “It was clearly allergy based. He was so weak from his injury and recovery that he didn’t have the ability to fight anything off.” Fortunately, this was just a temporary condition, and there has not been a recurrence since. Although, to this day, Zo’dan is not turned out during peak UV hours in order to stay on the safe side.
“This horse is a testament to his sire, the stallion, Olivi,” Minton-Edison 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 very basic levels and made me a better person. He just made me dig deep. He is what this is supposed to be about – if we just pay attention.”
In his continued soundness, Zo’dan has been working on Silver Tail Farm’s Premier Equestrian brand footing which is another way Minton-Edison has provided only the best for her miracle horse. Premier Equestrian honors equestrian athletes whose culture demonstrates kindness, support, and exceptional sportsmanship and believes Minton-Edison transcended these qualities for her equine partner. Minton-Edison and Zo’dan added the Premier Equestrian Sportsmanship Award to their many wins which included their success at Regionals and FEI AA High Point win at the Dressage at Devonwood.
Premier Equestrian a sponsor of the USDF National Finals is known for its advanced arena footing solutions that can improve horses’ performance while always keeping their wellbeing first in mind. To learn more about Premier Equestrian, please visit www.PremierEquestrian.com or call (800) 611-6109.