I consider myself a positive person. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always believed that “everything happens for a reason.” However, I found myself questioning this personal mantra one early Sunday morning when my partner (Wade) and I received a phone call from our horse trainer. As anyone in the horse world knows, an early morning call from your trainer is never a good thing.
The year was 2013. I was just coming off the high of retiring my mare, Sue-She, at The World’s Championship Horse Show in Louisville, Kentucky after she had competed for years at the highest level. Wade and I were also excited because we had made the decision to retire his show horse, Snoop. Snoop’s new job would be to enjoy his days out of the show ring, and enjoy the quiet life in our hometown of Austin, Texas.
It was about 6:45 am—we were fast asleep in our hotel room after the conclusion of a long week at our breed’s biggest horse show when Wade’s cell phone rang, with his trainer’s name and number appearing on the screen. Within a couple of seconds of answering, Wade jumped from the bed, his eyes filling with tears. I saw him turn pale white as he mumbled, “what happened?” The phone call was short, maybe 30 seconds. After hanging up, Wade threw his cell phone at the pillows on the bed then turned slowly towards me, hesitantly saying the words a horse owner never wants to hear: “Snoop is dead.”
Snoop was only 8 years young when he died in the early morning of August 25, 2013, alone in his stall. Apparently sometime after the last round of night checks were performed around 1:30 am, Snoop experienced a relatively rare colic event: EFE, or epiploic foramen entrapment. This is a painful type of colic that if caught early can often be corrected with surgery. Unfortunately, no one was there overnight to witness his distress, and Snoop died within 10 minutes of being found by his caretaker that morning.
Moments after realizing that Snoop was actually gone, I remember the feeling of helplessness. I was helpless at being able to console Wade and helpless in feeling like we failed Snoop. It’s a privilege and not a right to own any animal, and I felt like a bad parent who wasn't there for his child when he needed us most. This feeling of helplessness stayed with me until I did some research and realized I needed to invent a solution that would prevent others from experiencing the same pain I was going through. That solution became what we know today as NIGHTWATCH®. A personal journey for me created by Snoop, I have focused 100% of my energy into development efforts and operate under the premise that failure is not an option, because I refuse to allow Snoop’s death to be in vain.
We all love our horses and try to do the right things right for them, but I learned all too well that the reality is we can’t always be there. For this reason, we invented NIGHTWATCH® to be your eyes and ears when you can’t be there. Whether your horse is in a stall or pasture, in a transport van or trailer, or away at a show or competition. NIGHTWATCH® is there when you can’t be.