Home » ‘I thought he’d be put to sleep’: horse overcomes catalogue of health issues to complete #Hack1000Miles

‘I thought he’d be put to sleep’: horse overcomes catalogue of health issues to complete #Hack1000Miles

When Sadie Earle Seymour’s horse Kite became seriously ill with peritonitis, it was the beginning of a long journey battling multiple health issues and she thought the gelding would need to be put to sleep. Against the odds, the Arab x Exmoor gelding made a full recovery and has since completed Your Horse’s #Hack1000Miles challenge.

“One morning, I found Kite down in the field reluctant to get up and when I eventually got him to his stable, he went down again so I called the vet who diagnosed impaction colic,” recalls Sadie. “After three more visits that night, the vet did a tummy tap and found Kite had peritonitis.”

The horse was given a double dose of antibiotics. However, a week later he relapsed and another vet visit led to a diagnosis of colitis and suspected ulcers.

“This meant we had to stop giving Kite the antibiotics and leave him to fight the infection himself,” adds Sadie.

‘My vet couldn’t believe he was still alive’

Over the following weeks, 14-year-old Kite’s health continued to deterioate.

“The vet came out every day for nearly three weeks to keep an eye on Kite’s white blood cell count to ensure he was fighting the infection. Every time the vet arrived at the yard I thought Kite would have to be put to sleep,” recalls Sadie.

“He ended up with oedema swelling around his face and under his belly and lost just over 100kg. Despite the odds he pulled through. My vet told all of his clients about Kite because he couldn’t believe he was still alive.”

Kite also suffers with sarcoids and when his health started to improve, treatment for the lumps was considered. However, there was another health setback to deal with first.

“Over the next few months, we found more sarcoids so I decided to book laser removal but a month before the treatment Kite got septicaemia.

“Luckily, I noticed straight away and called the vet so we discovered it quickly and were able to control it. Kite was better after about four days and eventually nine sarcoids were removed.”

‘Worse than anything the dentist had seen’

It was during this time that Sadie discovered the #Hack1000Miles challenge, however, a visit from the dentist and a diagnosis of diastema — where the gaps between the horse’s teeth are too wide and food becomes trapped — was another hurdle for the pair to overcome.

“The dentist said Kite’s diastema was worse than anything she’d ever seen. He had his teeth gaps widened to help the food fall out better but there was still a couple that neither the dentist or vet could do anything about and he kept getting mouth ulcers. He now sees the dentist every three months to keep top of it,” explains Sadie.

Despite Kite’s health concerns, the pair notched up 421 miles in the first year of their #Hack1000Miles journey. Finally in good health and able to hack regularly, Sadie and Kite restarted the challenge in April 2021.

“My goal was to beat the previous year’s total, but I quickly realised that we might able to complete the full 1,000 miles,” says Sadie. “Kite had two weeks of box rest after another 12 sarcoids were removed and also to have his teeth widened a little bit more, so I allowed an extra 14 days to complete the challenge inside a year, and we completed on 14 April 2022.

“The challenge is an important part of Kite’s fitness and health plan. It’s important that I keep up the miles to maintain his health as having Cushing’s means he’s prone to laminitis, so I need to keep him burning calories.”

Profile image of Natalie Clark Natalie Clark


Natalie Clark is a PR specialist and experienced equestrian writer plus social media whizz. She has ridden all her life and is particularly fond of ex-racehorses (especially dark bays), having had the pleasure of owning, riding and retraining many over the years. Natalie loves hacking, eventing and only does dressage when she really has to.

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