Desperate to Find a Cure
By Tina Harrison

After twelve years of mastering lameness, flesh wounds and hoof abscesses in the accident-prone equine species, Keila Neidert was faced with the type of injury seldom recognized and relatively undocumented.

Neidert owns Buds Macho Man, a 5 year old registered quarter horse who was in the prime of his riding career, fitted for his first season in reining competitions. The ground was saturated one January afternoon from wet Florida weather that created a slushy surface. A pasture mate bumped into Macho's haunches while in a field and as he tried to move away, his left front leg slid out from under him. The momentum caused Macho to crash over onto his right hip and he lay still for a frightening minute. By the time he collected himself to stand, his left leg dangled beneath him.

Four weeks later, Macho's left shoulder and triceps started to severely atrophy. He was left with a significant limp and heavily drugged to relieve the pain. After letters to veterinarians nationwide and countless hours scouring the Internet, Neidert recognized Macho was dealing with a case of major nerve damage, also known as "Sweeney" shoulder. The advice Neidert received was mixed, ranging from retirement or surgery to euthanasia. Determined to find an alternative, Neidert began a long journey in the field of equine rehabilitation.

"I started by keeping a journal. I knew this ordeal was an uphill battle where he may never recover and I wanted documentation of everything I did with him. It provided me with a way to monitor progress and gather motivation when I could see improvement."

After enlisting the professional assistance of equine specialty chiropractors, massage therapists, acupuncturists and herbal supplements, Neidert sought one more link for Macho's rehabilitation program. Neidert purchased a camera system called EquiVue that was accessible by a password protected, customized web page for unlimited viewing. This allowed her to monitor Macho's behavior while she was at work, watching for signs of discomfort or colic. The system allowed her to record events with the camera that she could save to her computer or burn to a CD. She was even able to use a laptop to access the camera while out of town or at horse shows.

"My journal has become very popular. I've had a few people email me requesting to see copies of my notes because they have horses going through the same injury. "Sweeney" is a condition that lacks concrete knowledge in a curable treatment. I've found owners are desperate for answers, or even suggestions, on how to help their animals recover" Neidert states.

With many months worth of detailed notes, photos and video clips, Neidert plans to help fellow horse owners facing "Sweeney" injuries by packaging the information into a book. Though Macho is projected to remain in therapy for the next nine to twelve months, he has experienced a phenomenal recovery. The muscles are slowly coming back, allowing him to play in the pasture, work on a lunge line and was recently started under saddle, again.

"I hope my book will help people feel like they are not alone in dealing with such a devastating injury. I think it will help them to read about someone who was in the same shoes and the approach and results that occurred with the procedures I chose."

For more information on the EquiVue Camera System, or to contact Keila Neidert, visit www.LandMarkFarm.com.

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