If you watch the video above, you’d probably never guess that number 3, Spare Parts, was born with the start of an extra cannon bone and suspensory ligament on her right front leg. Her trainer and breeder, Trevor Sutherland, likened the partial fifth leg to a “pushbike stand,” news.com.au reports. “You could almost lean her over and stand her up on her extra leg.”
Even though Sutherland admitted he was “shattered” when he saw her so much so that he didn’t even photograph her, according to The Sydney Morning Herald, he thought maybe the veterinarians at Charles Stuart University in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia could use her to help train their veterinary students. The university’s Dr. Bryan Hilbert performed the operation, removing the extra cannon bone (a hereditary deformity), tendon and suspensory ligament, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.
“In 45 years working with horses I have only seen three or four cases like this,” Hilbert told The Sydney Morning Herald. “Once we removed the bone, there is actually a good recovery rate. I did another racehorse, which raced in Western Australia. The operation took a couple of hours and we had a lot of students there to see what we were doing. It is great teaching tool and certainly something that’s pretty rare. It’s good to hear that she has recovered to be able to race and there shouldn’t be any problems with the leg.”
Spare Parts’ extra cannon bone could have prevented her from racing. Photo by Rade Lukovic/iStock/Thinkstock
Sutherland purchased Spare Parts back from the university for $300. “[S]he came back into the stables like any normal horse,” Sutherland told news.com.au. “She never showed any signs of soreness. They basically removed it and sewed her up and left a foot long scar.”
The 2-year-old horse did so well despite her initial setback that, after some training, she participated in her first race at Albury (the video above) on July 4 of this year where she finished third.