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