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Corolla wild horse herd loses two members to colic

Photo by Rebecca J. Banabi.

The Corolla Wild Horse Fund announced the deaths of two wild horses last week, both to colic.

Horses are unable to regurgitate food because they do not have the muscles in their throats to do so. When horses have abdominal discomfort, also known as colic, the most common cause of emergency for horses and also the most common cause of death, they can only pass the discomfort through the digestive system.

The Fund was “heartbroken” two days ago on Facebook to share that Junior, who had had a second colic surgery in February 2024, was euthanized on June 11 because of severe colic. Although prepared after the second surgery, the Fund was not ready for the decision that had to be made.

Junior recovered from the February surgery and had no complications until he fell ill again on June 11.

“He spent the last five months happy and comfortable on the farm, going for walks to eat grass several times a day, getting scratched and loved on by everyone who walked through the barn, and keeping a watchful eye on his mares in the neighboring pasture. We are grateful for the extra time we got with him, and also grateful that he was able to pass away peacefully at home. On Tuesday evening when our vet arrived Junior led us over to a pine tree where he often grazed, and that is where we laid him to rest,” the Fund wrote on Facebook.

Junior, in his 20s, was well known in Corolla as the stallion who led the “blonde harem” and lived around Penny’s Hill. His sire, Amadeo, died of old age in 2020, and his dam, Blossom, lives on the Fund farm. The Fund rescued Junior in 2021 after he almost choked on an apple.

“He was steadfast in his kindness and sensibility, extremely respectful and naturally well-mannered, and very good at going with the flow (or if not, being very good about communicating exactly what we needed to do to make him happy!). He did not have a patient bone in his body, though, and was more stubborn than Raymond. But he inherited both of those traits honestly from his parents and it just made us love him even more,” the Fund wrote in remembrance.

The Fund thanked its veterinary team for “the extraordinary care and compassion they’ve shown Junior over the last year and a half, and for the support they’ve given us as we’ve navigated everything,” and thanked staff.

“He will be greatly missed.”
Facebook friends were encouraged to post favorite memories of Junior.
“He lived a pretty amazing life for a horse, and it deserves to be celebrated,” The Fund wrote.
In a post last night on Facebook, the Fund shared that second horse had passed from colic named Moxie, which it noted was not related to Junior’s illness.
At more than 30 years old, Moxie was one of the Dews Island mares. She lived on the Fund farm since 2017. She began to show signs of distress on Friday, so the Fund’s veterinarian made an emergency call and arrived to find Moxie begin to “deteriorate rapidly.”
“After determining that Moxie was acutely colicking, the decision was made to euthanize her. Because we were unable to determine the cause of the colic, we transported Moxie’s body to the state diagnostic lab for a necropsy. At this point in time, we are still waiting on further diagnostics and hope to have some answers in the next 10 days or so,” the Fund wrote.
The Fund welcomes donations online.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.