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Blog Tales from the LOPE Ranch

Update on Catalissa


Catalissa has been one of the most serious rehab cases we’ve had at LOPE. In his last race, he fractured his sesamoid on his right front. Catalissa didn’t like to put pressure on the injured leg — instead, he kept shifting his weight to his other legs. He then developed laminitis in his left front.

It was a potentially dangerous situation — Catalissa had to be kept in stall rest, to limit his movements. And we took extra steps to keep him comfortable: his stall actually has a cushioned stall “mattress,” (provided to LOPE with a generous discount from Lucas and Liebe) and we would often keep his front hooves in Softride comfort boots.

catalissaAfter months, Catalissa was then was approved to be in a small pen, only about twice the size of his stall. Slowly, his laminitis receded and his sesamoid fracture stabilized. However, his left front still had a very thin sole, leaving it susceptible to possible abscess and inflammation. So Catalissa had to stay confined in his small pen for week after week, as we waited for his sole to thicken.

Catalissa never once showed resentment or frustration, even during the most painful phase of his rehab. He was always cheerful and calm, making us all into his fans. The other horses also like Catalissa, often crowding around his stall’s dutch door to “talk” with him. We like to joke that Catalissa secretly has a tacqueria stand and that’s why the horses always hang out with him — they’re placing orders.

Last week, Austin Equine Associates X-rayed Catalissa’s hoof. The news was good! His sole had grown out substantially — and he was approved for a much larger turnout area. Two of our favorite volunteers, Melinda and Tom, came out Saturday and helped us expand Catalissa’s space. We tripled the size of his turnout pen and attached it to the barn — Catalissa can now go out of his stall directly into his deluxe-sized turnout. It’s quite the bachelor pad — the other horses (especially Pogo) seem a little envious.

It was a big weekend for Catalissa — he seemed so happy, as he walked around his big pen then in and out of his stall. At feeding time, he nearly trotted to his bucket — after months of tight quarters, his muscles are finally able to stretch and move more.

Congratulations Catalissa!


  1. Julia Bordelon says:

    I am almost finished your book. Thank you SO MUCH for what you do. Until recently I was a breeder of racing Quarter horses. As with most breeders I loved my horses. I tried my best to teach them to work well with humans in hopes that they would have a good life during their racing career and beyond. I always worried what would happen to them when their racing career was over or if they got seriously injured. Thank God there are people like you who care about these awesome animals.

  2. Gabrielle says:

    I am currently reading your book and find it very interesting to find a kindred spirit in the horse world. As a child who wanted to be a cowgirl, I did not start riding till well into my 30’s. I have done whatever I have had to do to be around horses. Lessons in western and english, riding whenever the schedule could permit, leasing at a barn where the mantra was “just get on a ride” no matter what the temperment. Even landing a gig as a volunteer trail guide leading groups of 10 or more through the woods!
    As a well educated professional, I have often wished I could trade my career/economic situation to ride like some of the interesting characters I have met during my barn experiences. I keep telling myself it is not rocket science- Right? Still, I have learned more about myself from being around horses, after all you cant pretend around a horse- they will figure you out right away!
    I have had more than my fair share of spills- checking that all my body parts are still functional and then wondering why I sill want to do this at my age- but still I do!
    We just moved from the Northeast to Texas I have still not really been invovled with any horse activites here yet- but looking forward to jumping in again.
    I am always thinking someday that I will turn this ache to be around horses into a career- your story is very inspiring. Thanks for sharing, especially for those of us who did not start using hoof pick till we were 35!

  3. Tracie Trocano says:

    Just read your book Beyond the Homestretch. I couldn’t put it down. It was inspiring and infomative. Whether you love, use, or even like horses, Beyond the Homestretch has lessons for everyone. Sincerely Tracie Trocano

  4. Lisa McDonald says:

    I am so happy to hear Catalissa is getting better. Having an old racehorse myself, I am still amazed that she can still stick with the herd when running in the pastures and still spunk too. This is my first visit to the LOPE site and I will keep coming back for more information on available horses for myself and my friends. Keep up the great work!!!

  5. Bill Torrey says:

    I think I’m in love with another LOPE horse. I like the hard luck cases to cheer for. Much like Lubenan, who lives at my house. I think pet/companion horses are the greatest.

  6. Tracey says:

    Just love reading all these success stories!

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