Nito is a 10yo bay racehorse, who until summer 2019 was a successful winner on both the flat and over the sticks. It’s said that he loved his work; he was known as the gentlest chap on the ground, but saddle him up and he was a pocket rocket who loved to run. Apparently only the ‘lads’ were able to ride him, although I’m sure the ‘lasses’ thought otherwise. Lad or lass, Nito earned his owners a lot of cash with a very well known jockey on his back.
Everything was going fine until August (2019) when he badly blew a tendon in his LF during a race. He was put out to pasture to come sound by himself, but sadly, this is where it all went wrong for him. Trouble was, the last half of 2019 was one of the wettest on record, and poor Nito, who'd only ever known the routine of a racing yard environment, which rarely permits turnout with horses stabled 23-hrs/day, was now experiencing a very different world. Sadly he didn’t get sound, but what he did get was full-body rainscald. Factor in the trauma of his injury, Nito also went into a state of chronic stress and shut down.
When the yard finally realised, they made the decision to have Nito PTS. However, the universe was already spinning itself into motion in his name and aligning the planets up there. One of the racing yard's grooms put the word out to see if anyone wanted to take him on as a rehab, apparently because he was such a lovely chap. Thankfully a friend of a friend heard about him, and literally within 24-hours, an hour before he was due to be shot, Nito arrived at his new home, Townsend Farm Equine, taken in by the owner, Jo, and where I also keep my horses.
If we were expecting to see a sleek, fit, shiny racehorse, we were woefully mistaken. No-one could have prepared us for how poorly he was. For starters, he could barely walk – his LF tendon injury was still badly inflamed, plus he’d dropped all condition and a ton of weight - every rib was visible. However, it was the rainscald that made us wince the most – personally I’ve never seen rainscald like it.
He was literally covered in rainscald all over his body, with the heat radiating off it hot enough to fry an egg on; in the photo above you can just see on the left the top of his tail dock, with his flanks covered with the rainscald, which then travelled across his back, up his neck and across his face. There was also deep-set mudfever from his heels up through his fetlocks which were very swollen. No wonder he was shut down, yet despite all this you could see there was a gentle soul inside there somewhere.
Nito was housed in the bottom barn (where me and my lot are now) with a huge deep bed and its gate facing the barefoot track yard so he’d get to meet the herd over the bars. The protocal was to follow the Alleviate, Detox and Fortify program, and so began his routine of daily warm oil treatments from Jo, to soften the rainscald scabs, with our TriBute pain and anti-inflammatory blend to make him more comfortable. He was put onto a feedbowl of Copra, organic chaff and linseed, with our EquiVita-Ultra minerals, and fed our StressTonic with its wonderful adaptogen herbs to gently calm his trauma and help rebalance his central nervous system. At opposite ends of the day he was fed our JST-Tonic to support his tendon injury from the inside while topically applying our JST-Gel, full of Comfrey and Arnica’s healing properties with cooling Peppermint. He also had our DermaClearGel applied to his mudfever and rainscald.
Nito knew he was finally being cared for. Despite being barely able to walk, he’d hobble a few steps to his new human ‘aunties’, standing quietly while he was attended to with his oils and gels. As the nutrients got into his system and his appetite slowly recovered, gradually his rainscald scabs peeled off revealing new pink skin underneath. His crooked leg started to straighten out and soon he was able to weight-bear. His mudfever cleared to show new white heels. As the weeks went by and his skin improved, he started to fluff up a winter coat, probably the first he’d ever had in his life being no doubt a former fully-clipped racer. His skinny frame started to fill out, his eyes started to brighten and he began to engage with us. As he began snuffling pockets for treats, Nito was proving his reputation was true – he was one lovely gentleman, enjoying a cuddle as much as we wanted to give them.
From start to finish the whole process took around 3-months. As his body and soul came back to life he was weaned off the StressTonic and put through a full-body detox program, our OptimaCARE, to draw out any remaining toxins from his body and reset his immune system. Before long Nito was abscessing from both hinds as the last dregs of infection were eliminated. And with Spring now just a matter of weeks away, it won’t be long before he sheds his winter fluff and the last remains of rainscald matting to present us with a new, shiny summer coat ready for a photocall.
Meanwhile, a stunning 2yo TB filly arrived at the yard, and having been beautifully bred for racing, she was put in with Nito as her guide and mentor due to his gentle nature. After a few weeks, with Filly settled with her new 'uncle', they both moved out of the barn and joined the barefoot herd, where they now happily roam as a lovely pairing.
I’ve become terribly fond of Nito and Filly – they’re always first on the main yard to greet me when I arrive in the morning, and as I leave a couple of hours later they’re still together, sharing a haynet before heading off to the track for a wander. It’s been a joy watching Nito’s recovery – it’s not often I get up close and personal with such a successful racehorse so it’s been a privilege to be part of his care team. All the hard work was done by Jo so she definitely takes all the credit, but having donated his herbal therapies I’m very much an Aunty, although I’m secretly working on becoming Godmum to him ;-)
Nito will never race again - he may never be saddled again, but he definitely deserves the happiest rest of his life.
See below for his Half-Way photo (left) and After (right) images below. On the left you can see his rainscald improving over his flanks and back, but his shoulders especially and up his neck are still scrappy, and on his face between his eyes and above his muzzle. There's also still a bit of swelling at the back of his LF but he's holding his frame nicely and looking perkier. And in the After image, see how healthier his coat is now; a deeper bay colour's come through with a bit of a sneaky shine, and see how good his LF's looking now. Such a lovely boy, and only 10yo.
*Nito’s name has been changed.