For any of you that do not know Frankie Thieriot Stutes and Chatwin, they share the quintessential horse-and-rider relationship that everyone wants. Thieriot Stutes has owned Chatwin since he was a young horse and has brought him along to the top level of the sport herself, which is no small feat considering she also has two young boys and two thriving businesses. Chatwin is part of the family, not your typical five-star horse that is in a rigorous program with a professional and 15 other horses. He lives at home and he can often be seen giving bareback rides to her boys. That is what makes Thieriot Stutes and Chatwin’s relationship so special - he is their family pet, but he is also a fierce competitor and together they are in the elite group for the sport.
For a horse to get sick, it is always difficult and heartbreaking, but when the horse is also such a huge part of the family it hits that much harder. In August of 2019, Thieriot Stutes and Chatwin were getting ready to head to Kentucky for the USEA American Eventing Championships when their plan fell apart. After coming home from a jumper show, it became evident to Thieriot Stutes that Chatwin was not feeling himself and might be having a bout of colic.
Her veterinarian, James Meyers, DVM, came to look at Chatwin and decided to run fluids as he also thought that he was having an episode of colic. Thieriot Stutes said, “Over the course of that hour of running fluids, he started to develop horrific reflux out of his nose. It became clear he needed to be transported with a tube in his nose, and we rushed him to [the UC Davis William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital in Davis, California], which is about two hours away from me. When we got there, there were two giant muck buckets full of red and brown fluid coming out of him. The prognosis wasn’t very good.” For Thieriot Stutes, this was a terrible situation and the one relief she had in all of it was that Chatwin was insured with Parker Equine Insurance and she would be able to give him all the treatment that he needed to survive.
Once at UC Davis, the veterinarians diagnosed Chatwin with enteritis – inflammation of the small intestine. The team was doing everything they could to help him. He needed a belly tap to test the abdominal fluid, but because his spleen was so enlarged this made it difficult and unfortunately the spleen was hit twice, which then led to internal bleeding. The vets were trying to do everything for him before having to do surgery, as with surgery there are a lot of risks. Chatwin was treated in the ICU at the veterinary hospital for seven days and fought for his life. By day four, he began to feel a bit better and show some of his personality again. Having Chatwin insured made it possible for Thieriot Stutes to give him the care he needed to stay alive. “The team at Parker Equine Insurance helped me get a claim going right away. They assured me through the process, followed up, and made me feel confident in my ability to spare no expense and go above and beyond to do every test and procedure needed thanks to my coverage,” said Thieriot Stutes.
After a week in the ICU, Chatwin was able to head home to Occidental, California. The road to recovery took a long time for Thieriot Stutes and Chatwin, but Parker Equine Insurance was there the whole way to support them in whatever they needed. “We feel that every client deserves prompt, personal and professional service,” said Donna Parker, Owner of Parker Equine Insurance.
Thieriot Stutes was able to give Chatwin some time out in the field over the winter to let his system recover completely from all the trauma. “Because of Parker Equine Insurance, I never had to worry how I would pay the insanely expensive bills that resulted from his stay in the hospital. I cannot imagine the situation I would have been in if I had not had their help and guidance,” said Thieriot Stutes.
Chatwin overcame the odds and was able to get supreme care with no expense spared thanks to his coverage. He kicked things off in superior form to start off the 2020 season. Chatwin successfully completed a Preliminary level event in early February and finished off the month with a win at the Advanced level at the Twin Rivers Horse Trials. It is safe to say that Chatwin has returned to his winning ways and will have many more runs to come!
There is still time to experience the long format of three-day eventing this year, by competing in a fall USEA Classic Series Event! The USEA Classic Series offers long-format eventing at the Beginner Novice, Novice, Training, Modified, and Preliminary levels, and there are still a few left on the fall calendar in various Areas.
This story first appeared in the August 2022 issue of Sidelines Magazine.
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