In January 2016, the Pine Hollow team noticed something seemed off just before driving out of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) with their horses. Stopping to check the horses before continuing off the showgrounds, Pine Hollow discovered Freeman, a promising and successful Dutch Warmblood, had swung his hind leg over the back of the trailer. Freeman’s stifle had ended up squarely on one of the hooks used to secure the back door, lodging the hook into his stifle and into the femoropatellar joint.
Recognizing the extreme peril facing Freeman, Pine Hollow immediately called for help from Palm Beach Equine Clinic (PBEC), the official veterinarians of WEF.
“It took tremendous effort, creative thinking, and exceptional teamwork to free Freeman from the hook impaling his leg,” said David Blake, Pine Hollow’s internationally acclaimed rider and trainer. “PBEC sent several of their top vets to help us rescue Freeman. The team of vets is truly great.”
Thanks in very large part to the help and determination of the vets, Pine Hollow and PBEC were able to free Freeman from the trailer door.
From there, Freeman was transported to the nearby Palm Beach Equine Clinic, where he spent a few days trying to recover before it was agreed to pursue arthroscopic surgery on his femoropatellar joint.
“To be honest, it wasn’t looking good at all for the first day or so Freeman was there,” said Blake. “The joint was so severely damaged we didn’t know if it could be fixed. Our only chance of fixing the joint was surgery, so we agreed we would try everything possible.”
Dr. Weston Davis performed the surgery, after which Freeman remained in PBEC’s care while he regained use of the leg.
“The team did a fantastic job there and kept Freeman until he was ready to begin long-term rehab with James Keogh,” said Blake.
When Freeman was finally ready to return home to Pine Hollow, Blake hoped at best Freeman would eventually be able to do light work and perform at a low level.