Thursday, November 05, 2009

Conference Will Present "2009 Spot Courage Award" to Molly the Pony's Caregiver Team for Exemplary Awareness and Prevention of Support-Limb Laminitis

5 November 2009 | Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog at

Molly the Pony will be an honored guest at the Laminitis Conference in Florida this weekend. Her caregiving and medical team will receive the Spot Courage Award for their diligent care of Molly with a goal of preventing laminitis in her "good" front leg. (Pam Kaster photo)

There's a saying that goes something like this: "There are two kinds of ponies. Those that have laminitis and those that will have laminitis." Add in a complex weightbearing overload and what would be the odds that laminitis would not cripple, if not kill, a three-legged hurricane-survivor pony? Well, read on! The following text is edited from a press release received today:

The Fifth International Equine Conference on Laminitis and Diseases of the Foot is pleased to announce that Molly the Pony will be receiving the Spot Courage Award at this year's event. Molly the Pony was rescued by Kaye and Glenn Harris after Hurricane Katrina, and is one of the world's only prosthesis-wearing ponies. The conference will be held November 6-8, 2009, at the Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach, FL.

"One of the first questions I am usually asked is how is it possible that Molly does not have laminitis," said Kaye Harris, Molly the Pony's owner. "Laminitis was the major fear and the reason the doctors originally did not want to perform the operation, so I think it is very important that there is a conference that researches ways to treat and cure this disease. I'm very excited to be accepting this award on behalf of the team of people that have taken care of Molly, as well as on the behalf of Molly. Molly is a very courageous pony and I'm thrilled to be coming here and meeting this group of people."

Molly the Pony will be receiving the Spot Courage Award on Friday, November 6, at 1 p.m. during the Conference. Dr. Rustin Moore will present the award to Molly and her owner, Kaye Harris. Following the presentation of the award Harris will speak briefly until 2 p.m. about her experiences with Molly.

This photo shows what was left of Molly's right front leg after a pit bull attack and before Dr. Moore's surgical intervention. (Kay Harris photo)

Following Hurricane Katrina, Molly was abandoned by her owners and taken to a rescue shelter. During her time at the shelter a pit bull terrier attacked her and it caused severe damage to her right front leg. Harris was taking care of Molly at the time, and turned to the equine hospital at Louisiana State University (LSU) for help. Dr. Moore performed the rare and difficult surgery involving amputation and a prosthesis to offer Molly a new chance at life.

After her traumatic experience, Molly has gone on to be a symbol of hope for those in difficult situations. Molly the Pony is a children's book about the pony and her experience, providing inspiration for thousands. The book will be available for purchase during the Conference, and Molly the Pony will be making other appearances at local children's hospitals during her visit in Florida to spread her message.

The goals of the Fifth International Equine Conference on Laminitis and Diseases of the Foot are the better understanding, prevention, and treatment of laminitis and other diseases of the equine foot. The format includes scientific and practical tracks with topical sessions, followed by small group practical workshops providing information that attendees can incorporate into their daily routines.

When I visited Molly in New Orleans in June, I noticed lots of things. In particular: she lives on fine sand, as you can see here, and her good leg is judiciously supported by a sportsmedicine "suspensory" boot. She also wears a donated Soft Ride boot at times. I'd like to see what the bottom of her good foot looks like. She also spends time in a sling, especially when her hooves are being trimmed. (Fran Jurga photo)

The Fifth International Equine Conference on Laminitis and Disease of the Foot brings together the world's experts and visionaries on laminitis to create an innovative, educational, and entertaining program for conference attendees to help educate the public and further the fight against laminitis. The Laminitis Conference is led by its Director, Dr. James A. Orsini, DVM, DACVS, a faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania and Associate Professor of Surgery in the School of Veterinary Medicine.

For more about information about the Fifth International Equine Conference, please visit:

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