As equine lovers, we all dream of having our own horse or pony. Colleen, of Middletown, Maryland, was overjoyed when her daughter Olivia adopted her first horse, and she looked forward to the journey ahead.

Sadly, just two days after the family had brought home Olivia's dream horse, the mare began to show signs of colic. She was immediately brought to the Equine Medical Center for treatment, but due to her condition upon arrival, nothing could be done to save her.

But this story certainly doesn't end there!

As many of our clients know, a small herd of horses lives at the Equine Medical Center and serve as blood donors. These horses save the lives of many equine patients suffering from hemorrhagic shock because of trauma, laceration, or hemolytic crisis. In such cases, there is no substitute for whole blood, which replaces lost red blood cells and provides protein, clotting factors, and platelets to the equine patient.

One of the center's resident horses, Beau, a 16-year-old American Paint cross gelding who has been with the herd for five years, was nearing retirement as a blood donor. It occurred to Maureen Kelleher, clinical assistant professor of sports medicine and surgery, that Beau, who has an incredibly sweet personality, would be an ideal fit for Olivia.

Once Kelleher suggested that the family consider adopting Beau, Olivia and Colleen met him, immediately fell in love, and couldn't wait to get him home. Colleen shared that "Beau has proved to be a fantastic horse and a match truly made in heaven for Olivia."

» Learn more about the equine blood donors and transfusions at the Equine Medical Center

Written by Sharon Peart, Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center