Laminitis Setback for St Nicholas Abbey Called ‘Life Threatening’

by | 11.28.2013 | 11:41am
Appetite and demeanor remain "incredibly good" for St Nicholas Abbey despite latest setback

St Nicholas Abbey, the 2011 Breeders' Cup Turf winner and multiple Group 1 winner in Europe and Dubai, is “struggling to overcome the laminitis in his left front foot,” which Ireland's Coolmore Stud said is “life threatening.”

The 6-year-old son of Montjeu, owned by associates of Coolmore and trained by Aidan O'Brien, suffered a career-ending injury during a routine gallop in July. A statement on Coolmore's website said the setback is the “single biggest complication he has faced since his initial lifesaving surgery” and that the next few weeks are critical.

“The worry is that if the condition progresses and further sinking of the pedal bone takes place it may prolapse through the sole of his foot,” the statement said, adding that the horse's appetite and demeanor remain “incredibly good” despite the setback. “We are just hoping that he can turn the corner.”

Full statement


  • Knowitall

    Feels like a Barbaro deal where they are all so far in they all keep going. Wish the horse well in any event.

  • Kathy Young

    He does not look happy in that picture. ;o( I know his connections will do right by him. Get well wishes and prayers. Insignificant to some and silly to others but it’s all I have to offer.

    • pesposito

      Yes, he looks like he is hurting. Hopefully if he pulls out of the feed tub they will do right by him because that is usually the indicator that it is just too much for the horse

      • Ray Paulick

        The photograph was taken in September. I think the professionals who are treating the horse can do without your long-distance arm-chair analysis of the horse’s state of mind.

        • Maureen

          Thank you Ray. Horses can survive this. Many years ago my Arab had laminitis and rotated coffin bones in both feet and got over it. They remained rotated but clear of the sole and lived to 26 yrs. old. And that was in 80’s before all the new treatments. This gut has the very best vets on board. There is hope.

          • Maureen

            To myself : This guy, not gut. Sorry

          • Chantal Smithless

            I, too, had a mare with laminitis in both front feet with total rotation of the coffin bones. Like your Arab, luckily they never prolapsed through the soles and she lived to be 27 BUT it was a constant battle against foot abscesses, periods of lameness and the ONLY reasons she survived and had a good quality of life (besides the fat that she was a tough old broad) was diligent vet care and a miracle working farrier.

            She had no monetary value (i.e. wasn’t a high priced, insured race horse) and NOT TO INSINUATE COOLMORE WOULD DO THIS but I just hope that St. Nick isn’t looked upon as being “worth more dead than alive” if he can be saved but unable to perform as a stallion.

  • DinkyDiva

    Power up Nickie.

  • Janet

    He must be in extreme pain. Poor Nicky… just wish he wouldn’t suffer any longer.

    • Rebekah Lane

      Does it seem likely that Coolmore would keep St Nicholas Abbey alive if he were in extreme pain? The press release says Nicky is “a little ouchy” in his first steps, then he gets better. He’s eating and his demeanor is good. Realistically, the 50-50 odds have no doubt moved against him, as the release seems to indicate, but Coolmore has done right by the horse so far. I can’t imagine the stable will fail Nicky when he needs it most.

      • Janet

        Laminitis is KNOWINGLY one of the most painful conditions a horse can suffer from. Unless he’s completely doped on painkillers, yes, unfortunately he IS suffering.

        • Mimi Hunter

          But the pain is under control or he wouldn’t be eating well. We aren’t there, so we can’t judge his level of pain. As somebody with chronic pain, I can tell you that there is pain and PAIN. One can be tolerated, and the other has to be treated to get to an acceptable level. I am sure his vets know what they’re doing, and will keep his best interests in mind.

  • Beach

    Big prayers Nicky–hang in there!!

  • 52baby

    Unfortunately, this is how the vets learn. They learned alot from treating Barbaro so perhaps if Nicholas Abbey can’t be saved, the next one can. Sad for all involved.

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