Written By: Gabby Corral
Hi my name is Gabby and this is my 7 year old OTTB named Paradise Island (JC and Show name) but we call him Ripp for short. Paradise Island was born in 2015 by Treasure Beach out of Raggle Taggle and his last race was March 2020, and he was restarted in May 2020. Ripp was born February 27, 2015 in Ocala and we just knew right then and there that he was going to be something special. Ripp’s racing career started off with a big bang winning a Maiden Special Weight at Saratoga, and then late in his career he won at Tampa Bay Downs, with the whole family watching! Since we knew he was going to stay in our family I wanted to be the one the carry him into his second career.
A little back story of who we are, we are breeders located in Orlando, Florida but operate in Ocala, Florida. Our family business is Morgan Thoroughbreds ran by my mother Debora Corral Morgan. We sell,race, and keep a lot of our own, that’s how I got Paradise Island. He has been special from the beginning and my mom offered for me to team up with him and start his second career as a jumper. As of today, we have Paradise Island, 3 broodmares, one yearling, and a two year old in training.
Ripp was diagnosed with Kissing Spine at the end of July 2021. You could tell leading up to us getting x-rays done that he was becoming sassy when I would groom him and tack up. But what really told me that he was in serious pain was when he broke gait, refused to go forward, and would kick out when asked to canter. This all happened in one lesson, as if he flipped a switch. We ended our lesson immediately and I discussed it with my trainer and mom that we need to get him looked at and see what is going on. Ripp is such an honest young willing horse, so for him to be acting this way so sudden, I was freaking out.
We spoke with multiple vets because second opinions are so important, asked friends in Ocala who work with Thoroughbreds on the daily what they have heard and have done to treat Kissing Spine to see what our best options would be, and even went to FB pages specifically for Kissing Spine. A lot of people immediately said, “Retire him”, kind of a bummer but we had a mild case so I was hopeful that wouldn’t be the case. Also heard “There is surgery you can do” which is something we considered but decided if we were to do it, we should plan in winter and not during Florida summer. Stall rest in Florida summer is no fun! Someone even asked me “Honestly, what do you plan to do with him? Like are you guys serious about this sport?” I mean OUCH… but I know my horse and I know myself and we don’t give up easily.
After a couple days of posting around about his diagnosis and talking to vets local and in Ocala I got a message from a great friend of mine, Christine O’Neal owner of Delta Dressage located in Sorrento, Florida who saw my post on one of the pages. She has dealt with some of her own horses having Kissing Spine and had a fabulous team ready to help us find the best solution for the boy. This team included Assistant trainer Heather Neeld and Dr. Michael Porter (Performance Horse Doctor). Dr. Porter suggested a treatment plan of one dose of Osphos, three rounds of Shockwave, and SI injections a month or so after since he was stiff in his hind. Due to the way his Kissing Spine was we could not inject in between each vertebrae, so shockwave was our option. Christine and Heather had a plan of upping his feed and using the Equiband System with Poles/Cavalettis for Ripp to learn proper usage of his hind
and core, building up his topline.
When it came time for us to go back to our home barn WB Equestrians in Sanford, Florida, I set a plan up with my trainer that consisted of only poles for the first month back, to then see how he went over cavalettis for a month, to small jumps by end November/ beginning of December. This was our short term goal to see how he was going to do and if we are seeing improvement, if not we should consider doing the surgery. Fast forward to the end of January 2022 we have set a date to head back to WEC Ocala beginning of March to show again. He has gained weight, gained so much muscle, uses himself well on the flat, and is jumping so powerfully from his back end to his front. Most importantly, he is comfortable! Maybe down the road he will need surgery and if he does that’s fine, but as of right now we are doing well without it and I can feel such a difference on the flat and over fences.
I have had the honor of working alongside Paradise Island for two years now and not only have I had the time of my life, I have learned so much about myself because of him. For that I am forever grateful for this partnership!
If you would like to follow along Ripps journey, our insta account is @gabcor.equestrian and his facebook page is www.facebook.com/rippsjourney. Thank you OTTB Mafia for shining a light on this amazing breed and bring all of us Thoroughbred lovers together.