This week brings a special edition of the Sunday Spotlight. Last January, we featured Georgina Lockwood-Taylor, a talented amateur jumper rider, passionate animal lover and determined Pre Veterinary Medicine student, in the Sunday Spotlight blog. Over the summer, Georgina received devastating news that her beloved 10-year-old mare may never jump again. This week, the pair beat every odd and returned to the show ring, proving that a great support network and a little bit of faith can prevail. To celebrate their return to the show ring, Georgina and Luxella head home today with full hearts and a giant Champion ribbon.
WEC: When did you discover that something was off with Luxella?
Georgina: After our last show in 2019, Luxella (Lux) was not herself. Something felt wrong. She was showing some signs of lameness on the front left, but there was no consistency with it. We had a lot of questions. Was it neurological? Was it soft tissue? Do we try injections? No one could figure it out. We tried nerve blocking her feet to see if she was sound then and it worked, so we thought that her feet might be the source of the issue. We had five top vets and a lameness specialist look at her and they all were baffled. It was hard because I knew something wasn’t right, but no one could quite figure it out. There was no diagnosis. You start to question if it’s all in your own head. Finally the vets ended up concentrating on her front left foot.
One day this summer Lux was out in the field with my other horse, Cha Cha, who has recently become her best friend. They were rolling and I noticed that Lux wasn’t having the easiest time getting back up. We sent a video of her to Chiropractors Dr. Jamie Klements, DVM and Dr. Ron Leick, DVM. Dr. Leick suggested doing an x-ray of her neck. Our vet, Dr. Kron, did the x-ray and we found that she had arthritis in her neck that was causing the soundness issues. Due to the extent of the arthritis, many vets said that she would likely never jump again.
WEC: How did you start the recovery process?
Georgina: Dr. Leick was great because he told us to just take baby steps and see where we could get to, while many other vets said that her career as a performance horse was over. He didn’t think that she would ever be able to do the high track again, but he did stay optimistic about her overall recovery.
We injected her neck to make her comfortable and started to slowly put her back in a working schedule. We’ve really worked on her fitness, which has made a really big difference. She sees Dr. Jamie regularly to stay comfortable and we do a lot of 10 meter circles to try to strengthen the muscles and get her off of her bum. Keeping her in a regular schedule has been one of the most important things for recovery. It’s made a huge difference. Her regular maintenance injections really help her, as well. She’s also on Osphos, herbal supplements. Her soundness and comfort is the main goal. We kept going and kept with the program. Slowly, we started to see progress.
WEC: How did you feel during that process?
Georgina: I ride with Charlotte Clark at Kendalwood Farm in Sunbury, Ohio and she was so helpful throughout the whole process. Charlotte let me ride and show her horse and was always there for me. I’m so grateful for that.
You’re always told to never give up. Even on my bedside table, I have Winston Churchill’s quote, “Never, never, never give up.” We didn’t give up. Even when I would start to get down, someone was there to tell me, “No, try again.”
WEC: Tell us about getting back into the show ring this week.
Georgina: When we got her to the show this week, she lit up. The feeling when you get into the ring and her whole personality lights up was back. She was so ready. It was such a big triumph. It was surreal. It was also amazing to know that my mom was here watching, my dad was live streaming the classes from New Jersey and the rest of my family was live streaming the classes from England. I got to share this amazing moment with my family across the world. I was overwhelmed with emotions.
On top of everything, we got four blue ribbons this week and ended up Champion. It was a surreal week. I’m speechless. I’m so grateful for everyone who has helped me on this journey and for everyone who hasn’t given up on me. There’s such a support network here at WEC. The community here is like no other show community. Even Nick at the ingate was cheering us on as well as my old trainer, Anne Thornbury. It feels like such a family, which makes it even more rewarding. I feel like I got to share this miraculous moment, that we were told may not ever happen again, with our closest friends and family. We’re very grateful. Everyone says, “It takes a village,” but it takes a city, to be honest. We’re so thankful for everyone. It just reinforces the belief that you can’t give up and you have to have faith in the journey.
Congratulations Georgina and Luxella, we wish you continued success on your journey together.
Photos courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography.