BERYL JOHNSTON AND HOTLINE HARRY
Photography: Amy White Media
In Beryl’s words:
“Okay, so I can finally share what an ordeal the last eight months have been!
It all started when I travelled both my horses, Ultimo and Harry, all the way to Johannesburg last year (2022) for the SA Champs. Two days after we arrived, Harry was DEAD lame! There was nothing we could pinpoint or see that had obviously happened – nothing at all. I scrambled to get hold of our vet, Patrick Martin, from Baker McVeigh Equine Hospital – and he was miraculously walking off the plane in Johannesburg.
We ended up sending Harry to have a CT scan at Witbos Veterinary Clinic, and Roy Gottschalk and his team were absolutely amazing. Unfortunately, the results were not good. Harry had done his deep digital flexor tendon in the right fore.
Anyone with experience with this injury knows that recovery can take anything from ten months to a year off, with no guarantee of a return to original performance levels (in Harry’s case – Prix St George). I was devastated! This horse had crept into my heart and shared an equal space there with Ultimo The Great.
Just like the luck with Patrick, we next got a call from the owners of Equi-Floor KZN offering to do a case study on Harry at no charge! There was nothing to lose and everything to gain, so after speaking to the owner of Vitafloor USA, we started doing treatments on Harry twice a day for six weeks. After the six weeks of twice a day on the Vitafloor, I asked Patrick Martin if I could come do a trot up for him. I must be honest and say that I held my breath…but the results were remarkable. Harry was so sound that Patrick forgot which leg had the injury! Patrick said he was expecting to see a head nod, but there was nothing. My Harry was 100% sound!
Now, I was allowed to walk him for 20 minutes every second day for the first month, so I was beyond excited to have my dance partner back. We followed every step of the vet’s advice and then went to the UK to spend Christmas with our family.
While we were there, I got a call very early on the 22nd of December to say that Harry was colicking. I couldn’t believe this was happening. I was defeated and devastated that I couldn’t be there for my Harry. I literally couldn’t get off that plane fast enough on the 31st of December and finally got to see Harry. After a long road of recovery, we were able to start walking again six weeks after the surgery.
I must tell you – it takes a village to do the rehab, especially for Harry with all he has been through!”
Thankfully, this tale has a happy ending; fast track to October 2023, just six months later and Beryl and Harry won with 66.8% at the CDI Small Tour 2 Star Dressage Show JHB! Huge kudos to Beryl for never giving up and to Harry for getting through the ordeal. Here’s to healing!
Beryl Johnston: @beryl_j_johnston_dressage
Baker McVeigh: @bakermcveigh
Equi-Floor KZN: @equifloorkzn