Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Hoof Recovery Patient Update

Cricket and Classie are improving. Actually, as with most horses in their condition, they have good days and not so good days. I'll look out to see them moving out across the pasture at a fast walk with no sign of lameness and the next day, I'll see one moving slowly with a definite limp.

I’ve been working on their hooves about every 6 days. By that I mean, I’ve been looking for signs of sloughing sole, overgrown bars that are ready to let go, frogs that want to slough off old diseased tissue. Each time that happens, there will be a bit of wall that I can take down as well.

Yesterday was a good day for them. The work I did on their feet wasn’t comfortable and Cricket asked me to stop several times. But her hooves were asking me to keep going, so I did. I suspect they both have large subsolar abscesses - once drained, much of their hoof pain will begin to dissipate.

I rinsed the sole and frogs of their front feet with Nolvasan Surgical scrub – chlorhexidine, (which I've also used to successfully treat rainrot and summer itch) and packed the collateral grooves and soles with Nolvasan ointment - applied it like a poultice to the entire sole. Then I wrapped the hooves with vet wrap and put them in Soft Ride boots.

Because they are moving so much better now, especially Cricket, the boots don’t stay on as well. But Cricket is a little power house and she will often charge off from a stand still and to a dead run, leaving at least one boot in her tracks.

But that’s okay, I don’t want to leave their hooves overly protected because my goal isn’t to soften the sole tissue and take any hoof components completely out of function. (The main problem caused by shoes.) Yet, at the same time, I’m trying to cure the thrush and keep any bacteria from entering the hoof corium through small fissures that are typically present in an unhealthy hoof.

I don't have pictures to add to this post, but I will upload a few with the next.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

In One Trim

Here is just a minor sample of what can be changed in one trim. This hoof might look scary to some, but it's really a slam dunk of a trim. It would be wonderful if hooves were never neglected to this point because it still will take months of recuperation, trims and growth to become the healthy hoof that the horse wants and needs to perform at his best, but this first trim is a real start. The owner was smart to get her horse out of shoes and into natural trims!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Two New Hoof Recovery Center Patients

This is Classie. Her owner advised me that she is 16 years old. She appears to be dealing with chronic laminitis. There is heat at her coronet bands. I’m curious as to what started her lameness on. From the appearance of her sole, the laminitis appears to me to brought on mechanically rather than organically. But I could be wrong. Classie is a sweet, very sensitive mare, who obviously has had some natural horsemanship training. The owner let me know that she was a 4-h horse. The lameness apparently came on in both horses suddenly.

Cricket is Classie’s pasture mate and of the two mares, her lameness is much worse. She is a horse in founder. Cricket is the smaller of the two and about 10 years.

When I play with Cricket, I’m not finding that she’s had any training at all. She’s a nervous horse and she has some emotional baggage she’s dealing with, but when a horse is in as much pain as she has been in, unless it’s a very stoic horse like Dexter was, (see old posts for his story) the mental and emotional outfall from that pain shows up in many ways. Those horses are typically mouthy, kickers, distrustful, easily panicked, and always worried, and they will often chew on whatever the can find. That fact is showing up in their loafing shed.

When I first met her, I didn’t like Cricket much. But I’ve got her wearing Soft-Ride boots and she is a different horse now. She is sweet, willing, more trusting, she’s good about hoof handling too. She is fun to be around, although, challenging horses usually find a comfy place in my heart and just hang out there.

This mare is a little pistol. Without her boots she can barely take step, but I let her out to run a few times with her boots on and OMG! She is FAST! With good feet, I bet she could run barrels or cut cows like nobody’s business. She has an extended trot to die for and can buck higher than many professional broncs. She likes her boots!

(This is Cricket’s left front hoof. Not pretty.)

I’ll keep you posted on their progress. I haven’t trimmed the mares yet as they were just trimmed by a farrier a week or so before I picked them up and hauled them home from Port Orchard. Boy, what a day that was, but that’s another story. Thanks Debbie for helping me bring them home and for loaning Cricket your hoof boots. My Soft Rides just arrived today so I’ll get them back to you. (For more information on the Soft Ride boots go to

Meet Our dogs!

This is our newest addition. She is a joy! A customer found her wondering, she had long matted hair and runny eyes, but she was still a happy little girl. She gets so much joy from the simplest of things. She loves loves loves life! She loves everyone she meets! She brings joy and laughter into the lives of everyone she meets. So we named her JOY! Although I'm pretty sure she thinks her name is "Go Potty!"

Murphy and Sheila are cousins. Sheila is about 10 years old now and Murphy is 6 years old. Murphy rides on the backhoe whenever he hears it start up. Sheila tries to herd the backhoe by biting it in the bucket.

Lucy came along at about the same time as Murphy. She was found in the ditch near our house on a cold January morning. I offered to keep her until her owners could be located. That was 6 years ago and we're still looking.

May is our one year old border collie. Her story is interesting too. One evening, I rode with a friend to somewhere outside of Chehalis so she could pick up a beautiful young stallion she'd just purchased. I watched while the little stud, who had just been taken out of his familiar stall, and was parked at the back of a stranger's trailer wondering what was up. An expert was called in to help get him loaded. A female border collie promptly came up behind the horse and without looking directly at him, she began trotting in half circles, back and forth, closing in on the stud's hind legs with every pass. She worked with amazing confident, quiet calm, using her body to passively-persist that he keep stepping forward. He edged toward and finally stepped into the trailer one hoof at a time while he kept one eye at a time on the clever dog. She systematically disappeared and reappeared from his right side to his left side, really not seeming to pay him any mind at all. Yet, she was focused on him with every nerve in her entire body. I was blown away by this dogs incredible natural horsemanship in its purest form. This! My friends, is what Pat Parelli is always trying to get across to us humans. When the horse was safely loaded into the trailer, without one bit of fear, hesitation or argument, she fell to the ground to await any further orders. The words just blurted out of my mouth before I could catch them. “I’ve got to get me one of those!” The owner's response: “She just had a litter of puppies.” And one border collie pup rode home on my lap.