Horse overcomes cancer, a broken bone and other ailments to lead Queen’s parade

  • A horse who must research what ailment to have next, his owner jokes, has overcome a broken pedal bone, cancer and PPID (Cushing’s disease) to lead the All The Queen’s Horses New Year’s Day parade.

    During the past 11 years, Jane Morgan’s 17.1hh Oldenburg gelding Midas has also been diagnosed with a severe pollen allergy, equine metabolic syndrome (EMS) and degenerative joint disease (DJD).

    He is currently fit and sound, Jane said, but joked that this may be because she cannot ride as she is awaiting a back operation, so he will take his place at the head of the parade on New Year’s Day with Jane’s friend Caroline Marsh.

    “I swear he’s got a book called ‘101 Horse Ailments’ and he flicks through it to decide what to get next!” Jane told H&H. “He’s certainly been an expensive horse to keep, and he always gets things wrong with him in the spring, so he has the summer off, then gets better when the bad weather arrives.”

    Midas’s issues started when he was seven, and he “decided he didn’t want to breathe”, thanks to what was eventually diagnosed as allergies to “just about everything”.

    Midas had to be injected once a month, with the pollen to which he was allergic, and gradually built up enough immunity to cope.

    The following year, he jumped a fence into another field and was then intermittently lame.

    “You always hope it’s an abscess but I thought something wasn’t right – and when we X-rayed him, found it was a broken pedal bone,” Jane said. “So that was that year off too.

    “He had to be on box rest, which he didn’t like, and my horse doesn’t do things by halves, so he was kicking the stable with his broken back foot. We put him in a small paddock and he jumped the fence and galloped off.”

    “Remarkably”, Jane said, Midas recovered fully from the break, but the following year, he “decided to breathe badly again”.

    “The vet thought it was just him being overweight from the time off so we tried to get him fit, and he must have thought ‘I’m not having that, back to the book’!” Jane said.

    Midas was diagnosed with EMS, which meant two years out of work while Jane and her vet fought to manage his condition.

    And thanks to her careful management, he came sound, and she was about to bring him back into work when, “on page 79” Midas developed abscesses.

    “I’ve never seen anything like it; he can run round a field with a broken pedal bone, but give him an abscess and he looks like he’s going to die,” Jane said. “The vet dug it out and it was like a swimming pool; no wonder he’d been hyperventilating.

    “Two weeks later he got one in the other front foot, then he was ok. Then a couple of years later, Cushing’s was on the table. He must have thought, that’s a good one, it’ll get her!”

    Again, Midas came through, and Jane managed to enjoy some showing success, but last year “he decided as he’d given me some time off”, he developed a lump on the side of one knee.

    “It got to the size of someone’s head, so I painted a face on it and called it Kevin,” Jane said. “Luckily, the insurance covered its removal so they did the surgery, then said ‘I’m terribly sorry, he’s got DJD, in both knees’.”

    “Then another lump appeared on his face so I had to call that Perry. I worried it was cancer and the vet said no, only 1% of horses get that. But I asked for a biopsy, and it was cancer. I wasn’t happy.”

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    Midas underwent an operation to remove the tumour, and was “up and looking for food” within 10 minutes, Jane said, and has since recovered and come back into work, although she added: “No doubt he’s got something planned for next year!”

    And although Jane is sure she and Midas have funded the extension her vet is building almost single-handedly, she said: “I wouldn’t change him for the world.”

    “He has to be managed carefully to make sure he’s well and as happy as he can be,” she said. “I’ve never known an animal as in love with the vet as he seems to be, but he’s such a sweetheart.

    “I’m going to the parade on foot; he’s getting older and I want to make as many memories with him as I can. This is a real one-off and it’ll make me so proud.

    “He’s a lovely, lovely horse, he just has a habit of developing these problems – but I wouldn’t swap a day I’ve had with him.

    “I don’t think I’ll have another horse after Midas – I could never replace this one.”

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