Amazing April: Introducing Trudy Gatt & The Trials of Trudy!

Another newcomer to the chat group and to horse ownership, its been somewhat of a bumpy ride for Trudy. If you are a member of the Facebook UK Icelandic Horse Chat group you may remember this advert in early March this year ….

I thought he was a stunning horse and HUGE for an Icelandic.

Trudy takes up the story….

Hi Folks, I should have introduced myself properly when I first joined the chat group on Facebook but just didn’t get around to doing it. So, thought I’d better say a few words now I’ve finally got myself the horse I’ve wanted since I was a little girl.

I decided many, many years ago that if I was ever going to have a horse, it would be an Icelandic.

My initial encounter with them was at Laxnes Farm in Iceland on my first trip there in 1992. I loved it!!!

I rode a little brown horse who gave me the best introduction to tolting when he seemed to change from being a wee pony into a proud charger with mane flying and head up! I just thought,WOW!

After that trip I discovered Pentland Hills Trekking Centre, as it was then, and rode there a few times too.

I’ve ridden in Iceland a few more times but only on short rides. I now wish I’d done one of the longer trips over a few days when I was younger.

I had quite a long gap away from horses but always thought I’d get back to riding again sometime which I did.

This then led to me eventually being in the right position to find my own….. Along came Illingur fra Galtalaek, now known as Guri.

His arrival didn’t quite go the way it should have done unfortunately. I think some of you reading this will already know some of what happened.

Guri left Iceland on March 17th 2019. He was fit and healthy obviously or he wouldn’t have been allowed on the flight.

By the time he was delivered to me on March 28th, he was seriously ill with what the transporters described as a “little bit of travel sickness”.

He had a snotty nose when he came off the lorry and I took him into his isolation pen and he started coughing. My heart just sank. My gut feeling was that he was really ill but being a complete novice owner and trusting the experienced and reputable transport companies we decided to let him settle and check his temperature after an hour or so. With hindsight, I wish I’d called the vet straight away. He was so poorly.

We checked his temperature, it was already at 39 degrees then he started colic symptoms too. Once the vet arrived he’d settled himself on the floor at least. He wasn’t a panicker thankfully.

He had such a sore throat that he couldn’t swallow the hay he was trying to eat and just kept dropping it.

His temperature had gone up to 41.2 degrees. The vet was so concerned about him she had to warn me he may die or have to be out to sleep. It was awful…..

He was given intravenous pain relief and antibiotics and they did a nasal swab and lavage to collect samples to go for testing. The vet was worried about pneumonia and thought he might have to be moved to the vet school.

Luckily, we were able to keep him on site and treat him there. So the plan was to give him antibiotics and Anti-inflammatory pain relief and lots of tender loving care. I was pretty stunned by the whole thing to be honest.

The day hadn’t really gone how I’d been expecting it to. It should’ve been one of the nicest things to ever happen to me and it almost turned into a total disaster.

Guri responded really well to the initial treatment with his temperature coming down into the normal range by early evening that day. His breathing was still laboured but that was going to take time to resolve.

The vets were back next morning and we decided to place an intravenous catheter into the side of his neck which was stitched into place. This then meant I could give him his medications myself rather than the vets having to come out three times a day.

I should say that I’m a retired veterinary nurse so giving him his drugs myself was something I was happy to do even though I’ve never done any equine work. I learned a lot over the next few days!!

I had to inject him into the muscle as well as the IV drugs. He also had oral meds to be syringed in.

I was there with him 3 times a day for the first week or so giving him his treatments, checking his temperature, cleaning his snotty nose and counting his respiratory rate. The vets were out or on the phone every day.

His appetite wasn’t great due to one of the antibiotics he was on so I was trying to tempt him. He was eating haylage or hay very well and he doesn’t seem to have lost a huge amount of weight considering what he went through.

Now we’re at week 4 after arrival. He’s off all treatment thankfully. He’s still resting to a degree. I’ve been doing a little bit of work in hand with him in the arena and he has a wee run about in there when he feels like it.

The vet advised 1 week of rest for every day he had a fever but we aren’t exactly sure how long he’d been ill for…….. He’s been keeping company with the other Icelandic boy, Andvari, at the livery.

I wonder what they say to each other?

The end! (thankfully not – just the end of a terrible beginning and we all wish Guri and Trudy well and look forward to sharing their adventures.)

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