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Update on Spencer Benedict Stables

Editors' Note: The following was posted on David Williams Facebook Page

For those who are inquiring what is going on at Spencer Benedict Stables and to alleviate some rumors here is a timeline as best as I know it.

Beginning on 12/16/2016 in Glasgow Kentucky a large training and breeding stable owned by Spencer and Carrie Benedict has suffered many equine deaths this past week. A suspected toxin has been thought to be the culprit with horses dehydrating quickly from loose bowels accompanied by spike in temps and very erratic behavior.

On Friday Evening during the Trainers Banquet in Shelbyville Tennessee, Carrie Benedict gets a call from an employee at the barn. He has observed a couple of horses with a loose stool. Carrie and Spencer leave from the banquet to head home and are greeted with the beginnings of this nightmare.

Multiple horses are having loose bowels and many spiking in temperature. Vets are called and this tragic episode begins.

Immediately it was treated as an infectious situation with attendees to the horses wearing protective clothing and gear. A self-imposed quarantine was of course established. With the loose stools and spike in temps, dehydration of the horses follows and other bodily functions deteriorate from there.

Early on the vets became more assured that it was a toxin that was affecting this many horses at once. Toxins are likely ingested and feed, forage and water are all being tested by state owned and independent labs and I have no information on positive results yet.

There are many speculative theories, but for me to pose each one would not be reporting facts. The fact does remain the vets feel it was a toxin, but continued to treat as a possible infectious situation.

The main thing to do was to keep horses hydrated and flush the toxins from their systems to alleviate the damage already caused. Multiple bags of IV fluids were given around the clock, night and day, by vets and volunteers and fluids still are being given to finish the process of recovery for those that remain.

There have been deaths, in the double digits. To post who has died wouldn’t be my place. If it isn’t heard directly from the owners of the horses or the Benedicts I wouldn’t speculate. I will say this toxin affected both the famous and yet to be famous.

As described by an experienced horse person helping on-site; “you’d be treating a horse and giving him I.V. fluids and he would just crash. Fall out unable to rise and thrash on the ground, we would have to continue to give fluids on the ground to get to a temporary state so the horse could rise again. Many never did. It is one of the most heart wrenching things I’ve had to watch”

I have felt in the past a barn fire is the most tragic thing to happen to a horse person. This situation in my opinion is worse.

The amount of fluids needed has been monumental. My request posted on Facebook Monday for the list of veterinary items was out of desperation. In talking to the Vets on-site Monday morning, they were totally out of fluids and supplies to treat on site and had exhausted their supplies at their office. Waiting for overnight delivery of more was not an option. Everyone responded heroically. Driving from Vet office to Vet office as many did the supplies needed were easily gathered and delivered in time for the evening treatment. The goodness of others has been overwhelming.

People’s giving has been humbling and Carrie and Spencer have both told me the acts of kindness bestowed upon them give them a reason to keep pushing forward. Their whole world has been crashing around them. Nobody loves their horses any more than they do. As soon as they have results to relay and the process of the recovery is back at a manageable stage you will see a posting from Carrie concerning all that has gone on.

Many say all our common denominators is the horse. I have tended to agree. But this situation has made me to feel our true common denominator is the ability to love. Love one another plus love for our horses. I’ve never met a horse owner that didn’t Love their horses.

People have been coordinating meals for those working hard on site, vet supplies are continually being delivered, volunteers are eliminating anything that could possibly still have a toxin exposure on and desanitizing everything is ongoing. The volunteerism is inspiring.

Again for those wanting to help, donations are being accepted through the following links:

Donate through FAST

Donate through GoFundMe

Donations are going towards the immediate needs of the horses currently and the unforeseen needs that will arise after the fact for Carrie and Spencer to put their barn and their lives back together. Give as you want or are able.

I thank you and the Team from Spencer Benedict Stables thanks you.

David W. Williams

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