Shadowbrook Acres' Fiona


Though my husband, at the time boyfriend, and I had only been together a few months, I knew he needed a horse of his own! Fiona was a gorgeous ¾ Belgian Mare. Before we got this gorgeous giant she was used to team pull, but when her driving partner passed away Fiona went into a dark place and become too much for her loving owners. Reluctantly they returned her to the guy they had bought her from. A few months later my husband and I found her and brought her home as a Christmas gift. She was just the right height but thick and solid. We did have some struggles with her. Fiona’s weight was always an up and down roller coaster but was minor. That is until we switched our hay from straight alfalfa to grass. She drastically lost weight. We got her in to our vet, but he was drawing a blank as to what could be wrong. We did, however, learn she was much older than we were told, by at least 8 or so years as a rough guess by a dentist when he floated her teeth. No problem though. A horse with age is a horse with knowledge which is perfect for a beginner learning to ride. We switched back to alfalfa hay and slowly Fiona regained her muscle and weight. Once she was healthy again we looked into breeding her one time so that she could be retired in the next couple years and her foal could be my husband’s new mount. When she failed to conceive with two different stallions and yet was producing milk to the point she would spray and drip, we took her to the vet. He found she had a cist and warned us it was ok for now but would most likely become cancerous and that she would not be able to become pregnant (at least naturally). We opted to stop attempts at breeding her and decided we would just enjoy her for as long as we could. One warm spring day we went for a ride only to have Fiona tie up and fall over. Luckily her and my husband were unharmed. We found she stumbled and tripped often but she had never gone completely down like that before. I was contacted by the people who owned her and her team mate shortly after the incident and learned Fiona suffered from PSSM! It all began to make sense and we were able to regulate her needs threw her diet and proper exercise! I soon was pregnant with our second son and Fiona was the only horse I trusted to ride where my girls are all on the hotter sassier side. Fiona was so much happier and far more enthusiastic to be ridden that year. Then summer of 2017 came. Fiona started to have an off sound with her breathing. I thought perhaps a dusty bale of hay was to blame. Then she started to lose weight. We tried to help her by separating her so she could be free fed, but she continued to decline. An amazing friend offered us help and took Fiona to see if she could perhaps help her. We thought we found the problem to be a UTI until… Fiona went down. The vet came out and we learned she had cancer in her lungs and was beyond helping. She was put to rest so she could escape the pain she suffered from. Fiona had a heart of solid gold! Even with her PSSM which caused her pain she worked hard to please us. When we first brought her home we couldn’t even catch her without chasing her down. By the end she would come and find us on the other side of the fence eager to see us. She learned to love us as we did her! She will never be replaced and will always hold a special place in our hearts.