July 12th

In Uncategorized on July 12, 2009 at 2:52 am

Hero is starting to slowly improve. He still has deep central sulcis thrush in the LF which can sore him as badly as an oncoming abscess would.  He still has a remnant of soreness in the LF inside bar from the latest abscess, remaining as well. I believe I’m beginning to hate abscesses with a passion!  I know that abscesses are a necessary part of healing, but they’re a severe set back in transition, simply because they are so painful…(excruciating when building and sore for a long time after they blow)  They arrest movement and immediately put the whole body into a cringing stance. You haven’t got anything without movement. You’ll never know how a hoof wants to be used if it isn’t being used. It won’t talk to you….stuck in its pathological structure…packed in false sole and all…..what I call a “clompy foot”….no mechanism… message.

I want that message. I want to listen and do as I’m told. I want the movement to tell me. It’s his foot, he’s gotta wear it and he’s gotta tell.  He’s had a heel first landing without boots for the last 4 weeks…who could ask for more? So, I’m waiting for that message.  Today I trimmed him for 3 hours.  Still doing the hoof dance….stifles still dictating but improved, as I now have 1 minute of air time per lift. I’m seeing a 1/8” of wall growth above the sole evenly around the sole plane vs. just both quarter walls high and nothing but toe with jammed up sole behind it before.  It’s 7 days and the bevel definitely needs to be tweaked. The white line is no longer stretched or bruised looking.  Bars are no longer jamming up, whether they are abscessed ones or not.

The big one, the groove at the apex is still not talking to me.  Still shallow, but not shallow, as I know its jammed up and stuck in that structural pathology until it can be coaxed out of it and start telling me the truth. (I will continue to obey it and err on the side of caution regardless.)  It will probably be the last thing that talks to me…..figures, its one of the most important….then again, maybe not. Does not concavity begin its bloom from the apex? (I shall obey and hope then.)

Since the apex was jamming up, I had to fashion a full pad with a triangle cut out for frog relief.  I think its working as the frog is looking happier. I continue to watch this closely. I initially cut a “V” for the frog in the back of the pad, but it wasn’t stable in the boot, so now I just cut out an inner triangle with padding intact across the back. This promotes the heel/frog working relationship and development where its needed the most…the heels.

The days are numbered with the boots on as he still has not so good days, which limits his comfort in the boots. (Sore heel bulbs and gator pressure, central sulcis thrush)  I’ve found that the boots are a useless comfort in the face of abscess pain, thrush promotion etc. He’s been landing heel first barefoot. The ground he is on is absolutely optimal. Heck, I think…..let ’em breathe, drain, expand…do their thing. When he came, he was busting out the back of Size 2 boot. He is now a size O with the wires on the tightest configuration.   Wow!  It takes moments like this, of looking back, to see the rewards of progress. They help to temper the frustration of trying to look ahead.

Oh, and one more thing. For the first time,  I had excess wall thickness and was able to trim a bit from the top.

Pictures to follow….


Abscess World

In Uncategorized on June 30, 2009 at 4:25 am

Hero arrived with an abscess that was several months old.  It is situated under the outside bar on the RF.  It blew out, the night before he arrived and was draining out the solar side. Intensive care follows, and a week later, the drainage quietens down, renews itself and blows out the heel bulb above. I start all over again. It takes 3 weeks to get it gone and another 2 weeks of soreness, at which time, I uncover another abscess at the inside bar on the LF. I see the deviation worsen, as he weights his outside/crushed inward heel to get off the inside one. I refuse to lose ground and prolong more pain. But worse still, the stifles, which had stabilized a bit and were carrying him better, crippled right up again so fast, that I could push him over with my finger again. I massage/manipulate his leg and 3 hours later, it blows out the heel bulb above as well.  He was standing under from the pain again and his stifles did not like it one bit!  The RF has just healed enough that I can get a boot on with a gator without making him more uncomfortable from the pressure. Just in time to help support it in the face of the LF abscess pain. I thank my lucky stars that they didn’t both happen at the same time and start the intensive care again.

When he arrived, he was wearing size 2 boots and was so flared forward, that he walking on the back of the gators.  They could barely be done up. After the initial trim, I was able to get the boots on, but the gators hurt the abscess site, so he couldn’t wear them until he healed.  As soon as I got the RF comfortable enough to wear the boot, it was on with full padding immediately, as it was now taking the brunt for the LF abscess.  Within a week the Size 2 boot is too loose and twisting on his foot.  I try a Size 1, but its too tight and uncomfortable with the sore heel bulbs yet.


Here we are trying on the size 1 boot.  Hero says they hurt, so it came off again for awhile.

I never liked walking out the barn door when I was a kid to great depths of mud from horses milling around, waiting to come in and have dinner. So, when I got my own barn, I offset the paddocks and created and undisturbed foyer around the barn. There are 7 paddocks of varying sizes attached to this foyer.  I put Hero in this foyer and rotate my own horses around him. They are always in sight of each other.  I also open up certain sections and let Hero expand his horizons….give him new ground…..keep him moving forward.  When he first came, he wasn’t moving much, the weather not ideal, so I kept him in 12×24 stall for initial recovery and put down a path of shavings around the barn for short Promenade Walks. We call it the Yellow Brick Road.  He is very reluctant to move and it takes 10 minutes to do one circuit around my 25×50′ barn. He is dogged and in pain and having to stop every 5 steps to rest.

He meets my horses and gets familiar with them. My 24 year old mare falls right in love and becomes inseparable with him. Seems like she’s been in heat since he arrived. Geez! Nothing like a boost of hormones to give the old girl new life! The husband comes in the barn where they side by side making funny noises and lip curls and says …Is she sick or something?” LOL! Yea, love sick! LOL. Sigh, I’m so alone around here.

I’m tweaking the trim every 5 days, but watching them every day for signs of positive change. I don’t touch the trim on the current abscess foot and just make sure nothing is jamming up (immediate discomfort) and renewing the bevel.  The hooves have come back tremendously under his weight and is starting to look normal on the outside, but there are many ducks to get in order on the inside. I go through sessions of apex prominence and protective padding for awhile, as all that length of sole is still coming down the pipes and wanting to jam up. Glad we’re through that! Then the abscess leftovers on the RF caused some heel sheering, which I had to correct.  Then the white lines started showing bruising, which wasn’t any fun either, though it didn’t make him any more sore, but since things were quiet and fairly good, I backed off the trimming for 3 weeks and let Hero heal, get out of pain and start moving. I was sick of talking to the hoof and want it to start talking to me. For that, I need movement and no pain for the confidence to move.  I want the sole to slough out on its own from here on. All this time, nothing has been developing with the hoof because the abscess pain is preventing that movement as well as pain being directly related to the stifle instability…another big non-confidence issue.   I find that even padding won’t provide comfort in the face of this kind of pain. Poor Hero!

His diet consists of 1 cup oats, a slosh of apple juice to mask the Recovery. (A new generation of joint neutaceutical that has 10,000mg of Gluc and shark, but a larger portion is plant phenols.) He also gets Anti-flam, 3tbns. of salt and minerals to complement his hay.  I was taking a nutrition course and kind of fell off it at the end, as Hero arrived and needed my time, but I have my hay tested and know how to balance it, so we’re on the right track. I started out with Farrier’s Formula, but learned in class that its loaded with iron, so just fed the one.   He has everything he needs 24/7. He has gained a bit of weight, but not a lot, and I’m not concerned. I will let him decide how much weight he wants to put on those feet. I’m just happy I see an improvement. I’m glad that I’ve documented this, as I find that I have to look back to realize the improvements.

I learn that the deviation has been there for years and is permanent and that he had a nasty reaction to his last set of vaccinations. It was a 5 way shot that had him down and slipping in and out of consciousness afterwards. I decide not to do his vaccs this spring as he has enough to worry about right now. He was also possibly gelded late, which may explain the stifle problems and the fact that he is a real lady’s man.

Also, his eyesight is not the best. When I rotate my horses, I have to travel through the foyer past Hero to get to the new field. Sometimes he loses sight of them. Even though the barn is the highest elevation with a good view to all fields, he doesn’t see them. One such time, I was trying to convince him where they were and my gelding left his new patch of coveted ground, came up to the fence and said “Here I am!”  They know and they watch out for him. They treat him like he’s part of the herd, even though he is not in with them. It also makes me glad that he is outside now 24/7 wearing the preferred pjamas of the day rather than the initial stall rest/quarantene that was necessary at first.  With his poor eyesight, it makes me think those were very lonely first days! Once I got him outside, the will to live/move changed phenominally! Like night and day. It gave him that much needed incentive to move. He sure is a different horse when the movement is his own idea.  The Yellow Brick Road may not be the hard surface that develops a hoof, but in these early days, its been a Godsend for providing enough comfort to move on.

When he arrived, he had a prominent Hunter’s Bump, way prominent. Even though he has been standing under to get off his painful fronts, the bump has melted atleast 60% of what it was.

RF Heel May 31.09

The heel sheering in the RF. The heel bulbs are starting to unwrap from each other, but there’s no doubt that there is still a long ways to go yet.

May 31.09 011

This foot is more flared forward than the other, but look at the heel platform on RF! The crushed heels are starting to widen and come out under the coronary band where they belong.

Hero and Missyclare Apr 10.09

The inseperable old fogies. I don’t know what they are talking about, but they chat like this over the fence for hours!

New Xrays (Mar. 15)

In Uncategorized on June 2, 2009 at 4:30 am

A few days after Hero’s arrival, the vet showed up to take a new set of xrays.  I would soon know whether I got the coffin bone ground parallel from the initial trim.  I explored several avenues for Hero’s improvement with the vet, but got. “Just do what you can to make him more comfortable for his remaining days.” That was it.

Since transitioning my own “not so pathological horses” hooves, I had earned a complete faith in the horse’s ability to heal himself, but with Hero, it seemed like I’d have to test that faith all over again.

The xrays turned out fantastic! I must share them.


Hero LF Distal LinesLF Lateral Lines Mar 16

P3 is pretty much parallel, but many more things showed up. In the first pic, you can see the pathology from the inside being jammed up. the white lines going through the centers of P1,P2 and P3 are angled, P1 in particular. This high inside jammed the joints all the way up the line and brought the toe center inward. ( vertical black line vs. white line) The frog was pointing to 10 o’clock on the solar side.

In the second pic, you can see how the flared forward situation has broken back the axis. (vertical white line should be straight.) The good thing is that P3 is still parallel to the front wall. The arrows point to bone changes that the vet diagnosed as severe navicular. You can also see an ongoing abscess in the heel.


RF DistalRF LateralHero RF Nav Skyline Lines

The RF was a lot worse for this deviation. In the first distal shot, you can see how shoved up the joints are, how the weight of the horse is coming down on the outside of the hoof…has been put there by the high inside + a couple of twists and turns in the joints before reaching the hoof. In the lateral shot, you can see more navicular bone changes. In the navicular skyline shot, you can see more of those bone changes and what the imbalance has done to the wings of P3….how his descending weight has put him on the outside on weakened bone.

The RF, being the worse one, I spent a day studying it, in order to understand it better. The landing of this hoof was being dictated to by P1. If you look at the top of the Skyline pic, you’ll see how the bone literally turns before entering the joint, where it was shoved up. This, the vet believed is genetic and there to stay.

This is what this deviation looked like on the outside of the hoof.

Hero Front LINES Mar 23

The outside is high on this one also. Problem #1, is the turn in the bone at P1. See how it “puts” the hoof on its outside? (check the Navicular Skyline xray…the joint at the very top. It’s showing jammed up in the joint capsule itself, but also notice how the bone turns before it enters the joint…that’s it on this front shot…where the yellow line starts at the top. The cannon bone points outward, then it twists severely to the inside putting its 12 o’clock at the end of the red line. The goal is to take down the outside a little bit and create the blue balance lines that will hopefully be a gentler coax for that P1 angle to open up a bit like the yellow line shows.

I investigated old photos of this foot and found this from 4 months earlier…..

Hero RF Side Nov 25.08Hero RF Solar Nov 25.08

The hoof was so badly flared forward, that he couldn’t break over it, so with the help of P1 dictation to weight the outside, the inside so badly jammed up that the toe turned inward, that he did not break over his toe between 12 and 2 o’clock like he was supposed to, but landed pidgeon toed on the outside and broke over the outside as well. The side of the hoof is not meant for this, so it crushed inward, smashing into the inside heel bulb so tightly, that they twisted  together. You can see the hoof to the left of the abscess that is being used for breakover…crushed.

This from 6 months earlier…


I also find out that a few years back, Hero had both front feet de-nerved.  No doubt they had grown back.