Colic Surgery

In May 2011 I was faced with one of the most difficult situations in my career as an equine professional. My 12 year old Andalusian mare had a very severe colic episode. Concerned that surgery would be necessary, our local veterinarian referred us to Dr. Thal, who has extensive experience in diagnosing and treating severe colic cases and has been performing colic surgery for over a decade.

We travelled three hours from Pagosa Springs, Colorado to Thal Equine in Santa Fe. Upon arrival, Dr. Thal quickly made a diagnosis and we decided to proceed with surgery. Before, during, and after surgery Dr. Thal and his staff were kind and skilled professionals. In addition, the post-operative care provided to my mare was exceptional.

Today, I am riding and showing my mare again and we recently took 7 high points at the International Andalusian & Lusitano Horse Association shows. Thank you Dr. Thal & the Staff of Thal Equine! – LeslieAnn & Mark Weiler

Ever since I was very young I dreamed of owning a Friesian horse. After I retired, I acquired Cieara. She was three and a half years old, 16”3, big black and beautiful, with the sweetest personality that Friesians are known for. However, about 7 weeks after my dream came true, Cieara started to colic.

After examining and treating her, our local vet said she needed to go to Thal Equine in Santa Fe. We immediately loaded Cieara up for the trip. Upon arrival, Dr. Thal stabilized her and decided to monitor her for a while, because she looked pretty good.

However, later that night Dr. Thal called me and said he could not manage Cieara’s pain and that they would have to perform surgery. At surgery, Dr. Thal found that Cieara had a twist of her large colon (and other complications), a very painful condition only corrected surgically. For a week following surgery, Dr. Thal called me twice a day morning and night to report on her progress. He was so thorough, and explained everything to me in very easy to understand terms.

Cieara was improving everyday and we brought her home after a week. She never looked like she had major surgery. Today, you can’t even see her scar – which is 15 inches long! She is gaining weight, building back her muscle tone, and loving life. Colic surgery is scary for any horse owner, but Dr. Thal always took time for all my questions – and believe me there were a lot!

I still speak with Dr. Thal quite often to give him progress reports and ask any follow-up questions. He is a great resource of information. To a lot of people their vet just might a normal person. But to me, Dr. Thal saved Cieara’s life and kept my dream alive. Thank you Dr. Thal & the Staff of Thal Equine! – Stacy West

Hi, I own a beautiful tall Skipper W bred sorrel quarter horse mare whose name is Melita. I love her so very much. In November of 2013 she suffered an episode of colic. Things just turned from bad to worse. My husband located Dr. Thal on the internet and with medication from our local vet we started the nearly 3 hour journey to Dr. Thal’s clinic just south of Santa Fe. Melita stayed up in the trailer and as soon as we got to the clinic Dr. Thal and his staff were ready. We had called ahead of course. Within a very short amount of time he diagnosed her with a displaced part of her colon. She was in surgery in no time. She stayed for 7 days and I am happy to say she is doing very well. I am riding her again and she is the picture of health. I put her on a supplement called Succeed and feed her one pro bios cube per day. I am so thankful that I still have her. If it hadn’t been for Dr. Thal and his team and the goodness of God I would have lost her that day. Thank you so much for all you have done Dr. Thal. I have been able to call with any questions after the surgery and Dr. Thal and his staff have continued to be caring and supportive. I would not hesitate to take any of my horses to Dr. Thal. – Cathy Jaap


When my mare ran a splinter into her eye that punctured both eyelids, I called Dr. Thal at his hospital late on a Saturday afternoon and explained the situation. He had never met me, but was immediately on his way and arrived at my place as soon as he could. His quick response and his expertise saved my mare’s eye. Watching him work as he removed the splinter gave me confidence that things would turn out well.

Within two weeks, my horse’s eye had healed and her vision was normal. I can never thank him enough. We are so fortunate to have Dr. Doug Thal, his ability to diagnose problems and his horse hospital to care for for our equines. Thank you Dr. Thal. – Jennifer Reglien

Lameness & Performance Horse Care

NRHVA Finals 2009


I write this with heart-felt gratitude to Dr. Thal and the staff of Thal Equine. In 2005, I was very lucky to buy Annie, a very nice mare to compete in Versatility Ranch Horse Competitions. She is now a Supreme Ranch Horse Champion, and we won the National Versatility Ranch Finals in 2009. I am now showing a second horse, Ruf Around the Edges, and we recently qualified and went to Houston, Texas for the 2012 World Versatility Ranch Show.

I have come to rely exclusively on Thal Equine for equine veterinary medicine. Competing in cutting, reining, working cowhorse, roping, trail, riding and halter all place great stress on an equine athlete. Dr. Thal and his team have kept my horses sound and healthy, and have seen us through surgery, colic-related episodes, and many inspections. Dr. Thal also works with my farrier, using high quality radiographs to monitor shoeings, get us through lameness, and the avoidance of lameness.

My relationship with the Thal Equine veterinary team has conveyed great benefits over time. For Dr. Thal, I am an educated client that uses veterinary services appropriately. For me, Dr. Thal has become a trusted advisor who knows my history and the history of my horses.

Good care is not inexpensive. But the expense has been entirely worth the cost, resulting in peace of mind, and keeping my horses safe. After these many years, I have come to realize that good care is cost-effective.

Competition is a team sport, and Dr. Thal and my farrier are an integral part of the team. A part of becoming a better horseman is recognizing the value of an experienced team of professionals such as Thal Equine, and becoming a loyal customer and client. I could not be more grateful. – Sincerely, Charles Padilla

I am an endurance rider. The most important thing I’ve learned from endurance riding over the years is that managing a horse’s physical fitness is a continual learning process. Different horses have different issues / needs.

I first met Dr. Thal in the late 1990s. I’d just recently moved to northeastern New Mexico and was searching for a competent vet. We established a very comfortable relationship, but when his practice moved out of my area I ended up using the services of other veterinary clinics that were closer to home. I kept in casual contact with Dr. Thal over the years.

In late 2012, I was dealing with an intermittent lameness issue with one of my horses. Wilbur Wunderlust was almost 11 years old and had accumulated over 2000 miles in endurance competitions. Various vets had pin-pointed the problem to be in his left front hoof. He’d suffered a hairline fracture to his coffin bone in 2009 and had also had a couple of minor laminitis episodes. I’d been diligent about his shoeing and was very careful about what I fed him. It appeared that between the coffin bone fracture and the laminitis, there was something going on that I just couldn’t manage.

In January 2013, I took Willie to a three-day endurance ride near Alamogordo, NM. He finished the first day (50 miles) in 6 1/2 hours with no problems. On the 2nd day, we attempted a 55 mile ride: at about 42 miles, he was slightly lame. I pulled the horse from the competition and ended up making arrangements to stop by Dr. Thal’s clinic on my way home: I wanted Doug to look at the horse while he was still lame (since I knew that he would probably be sound again within 48 hours).

Doug conducted a thorough lameness exam and concluded that Willie was suffering from navicular damage in his left front hoof: we felt sure that the navicular had probably been injured when Willie cracked the coffin bone in 2009. Dr. Thal’s prognosis at that point was “guarded” as we proceeded with treatment and a conditioning regimen that required me to continue to ride on a very regular basis. Obviously, proper shoeing would be a major component to the management of Willie’s issues: I ended up opting to use natural balance shoeing.

The main problem with evaluating whether-or-not our efforts were helping in the management of Willie’s navicular damage was that he had rarely been lame until he’d traveled 40-to-65 miles. He’d been consistently sound at distances up-to 25 miles when I decided that it was time to test his level of soundness.

In May 2014 Willie & I completed a 50 mile ride near Stillwater, OK: we finished in 1st place and Willie won the Best Condition award. Two days later we completed another 50 mile ride at the same locale: once again, we finished in 1st place. And he showed no sign of lameness immediately after the ride or in the days following the ride.

I now feel confident that we’ve got Willie’s lameness issue under control. But I know that it will require diligence on my part to keep all-the-pieces-in-place so that Willie can continue to compete. I’m very thankful to Dr. Thal for supporting Willie & me as we’ve worked through this issue: and I’m happy to know that I can turn to him for more support if/when the need arises. – Susie Jones


The Thals are boarding two of my retired ranch horses, providing customized care to each of them because they have special needs and require a bit of monitoring to ensure their well-being. Without question, they have enjoyed a quality retirement and I am thankful for the good care Thal Equine and their staff have provided. – Nancy Seewald
Thal Equine provided my retired Arab broodmare with exceptional care and kindness in her later years. I appreciate the effort and compassion all of the staff have shown in ensuring that she lived out her retirement in good health. – Donna Valverde


At The Trinity Ranch we are extremely fortunate to have put together a small group of hand-picked broodmares from across the country with extensive show records and/or who are full siblings to multiple World and Congress Champions. Our goal in breeding is to find the perfect balance of performance, conformation, disposition, and heart. We are very excited by this year’s foals out of TR mares by Congress All-Around Champion A Chance for Romance and AQHA Superhorse The Krymsun Kruzer.

Dr. Doug Thal is a perfectionist. He is exactly the type of man that you want to be in charge of your breeding program. He is the consummate professional in communicating with the stud representatives, excels at syncing cycles for artificial insemination, and can be counted on for middle-of-the-night foaling calls. I really love my mares and want to send a huge thank you to Thal Equine for successful breeding seasons in 2011, 2012, & 2013. – John & Cat Parks, The Trinity Ranch

We are always happy with the veterinary care and attention our horses receive at Thal Equine. We recently had one of our best experiences with the arrival of a foal, Barcelona. Our farm has facilities for foaling, but we really wanted the piece of mind of having our Hanoverian mare, Folie a Deux, monitored during the final days of her pregnancy. Dr. Thal and his staff took great care of her in the 10 days leading up to the foaling of a beautiful and correct filly. There were no complications and all of her treatment was first class. We are looking forward to Dr. Thal helping us with next year’s foaling season! – Maureen Mestas & Brian Nenninger of Hell Canyon Farm, Santa Fe NM

General Practice & Referrals

Dr. Thal has been our equine veterinarian since we moved to New Mexico in 2002. Our horses have benefited from his excellent approach to preventative healthcare and maintenance. He has also seen us successfully through colic, acute laminitis, neurologic illness, serious lameness, reproductive challenges, foaling, and pre-purchase exams – to name a few. We are very fortunate to have him as our equine veterinarian and friend. – Ann Thomas & Deet Schumacher
Dr. Thal has been our equine veterinarian since 1996. He is our horses’ best friend. They have benefitted greatly from his thoughtful and at times, heroic, treatments. – Twin Willows Ranch

I’m a veterinarian who travels the arabian show circuit. Something that always makes me uncomfortable is being at a show, out of my home region, and needing to refer an emergency case to a hospital. Not only am I concerned for the patient who is potentially in a life or death situation, but it’s always unnerving entrusting that patient to the care of someone I have not worked with previously.

I will NEVER feel that way in Albuquerque, New Mexico ever again. Sending my horses to Dr. Thal and his staff in Santa Fe was the best decision I ever made. Not only was his customer service exemplary, but his communications with me as a referring veterinarian put me at ease that my patients were being well cared for. Dr. Thal always kept me well informed and involved in the decision-making process. I honestly believe that if the horses I sent there had been in the hands of a less skilled veterinarian they would not have lived.

I can’t thank Dr. Thal and his staff enough for all they did for the horses I sent to Santa Fe. – Brad Hill DVM