Help Aspen Get His Wish
A Royersford resident hopes to raise the money for surgery for her four-legged friend.
Aspen the thoroughbred has survived life as a racehorse, nearly being sent to slaughter, injuries and illnesses in his nine years.
Now he's facing another big challenge, and his owner, Casey Gable, is hoping people can help.
Gable rescued Aspen from slaughter five years ago. He was a racehorse at Philadelphia Racetrack, where he won about $40,000 in prize money for his owners.
Like many racehorses, once the winning slowed down, he was pushed aside. Gable said she picked him up in a parking lot with his racing shoes still on his feet.
He was thin and suffering from a bad fungal infection, but with care and hard work on Gable's part, he became a star jumper. He's also given pony rides to neighborhood kids, helped special needs kids and been ridden by kids learning to ride and jump.
"You'd think he'd just want to take off, but if he has a kid on his back, he slows down and is so careful," Gable said.
Gable said she even rode him through Royersford in a celebratory mini-parade when the Philadelphia Phillies won the 2008 World Series.
Aspen currently boards at a private farm in Upper Providence and Gable lives just a few miles away.
When Aspen came up lame just before Thanksgiving, Gable hoped it was a bruise or a soft tissue injury, but x-rays showed a fracture.
Aspen has a fracture in the hock, or knee, of his right rear leg. With surgery, he's expected to make a full recovery - but that surgery costs $5000.
The good news is that Dr. Dean Richardson, head of equine surgery at the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center and a recognized expert in his field, can do the surgery on Aspen.
If Richardson's name or that of the New Bolton Center sound familiar, it should - he treated Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro after he fractured his leg in the 2006 Preakness Stakes.
Gable said that the surgery costs the same no matter who does it, and she's lucky that Richardson agreed to handle the surgery.
Gable hopes to raise the $5000 through a GoFundMe site. She simply wants to give Aspen the chance at a long life that he could have.
Sadly, without the surgery, Aspen would have to be euthanized. The injury will be painful for him if it isn't treated surgically and Gable doesn't want him to live in pain.
"He's done so much for me, he's given me so much confidence," Gable said. "I just want to have him around forever."