Friday, August 31, 2007

Founder Horse Walking

video

Day 19: I just went outside in my PJ's to take a quick shot of Dexter over the fence this morning. The bute has been helping, but I also feel that he’s improving…to the point where he gets cranky at feeding time! This is a new attitude for me to see, but Marci tells me I’m seeing the old Dexter. The head nodding he's doing is his way of telling me to get my butt out with his breakfast. The head shaking that follows means "Damn my feet hurt." Sorry about the shaky tape.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Dexter Update, Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Day 16: Founder Roller Coaster Ride!

On Sunday in the afternoon, I had put a pair of Marquis Boots on Dexter. He started yawning as soon as he stood up. (I had to put them on while he was laying down.) He seemed to get so much relief from them. Back on bute and in boots, yesterday was a good day for him. We noticed him playing with a barrel trying to get my attention, I think to bring food. Then I put him out in the larger dirt field and he was walking all around searching for little nibbles and walking fairly comfortably. It really suprised me after he crashed last Friday to see him feeling so good. I thought he'd hit bottom and was working his way back up now and fast.

But I took the boots off yesterday as mud was around the top and I was afraid after having them on so long, they would rub. Well, the way Marquis boots fit, they offer a lot of support around the front of the hoof and the heelbulb. Twice I've had them on him and there he improved drammatically. But you can't keep them on 24 hours for days at a time. They have to be cleaned daily and put on when he's laying down or when he can tolerate lifting his foot. I'm convinced now that unless he really improves, I may have to trim him laying down as well in order to trim him again.

I just wanted to add and update. I wish I could do something to just take all his pain away and make him a happy healthy horse again. I realize he's not one of my own horses and I shouldn't take his condition so hard, but I feel like all horses deserve a chance to get better and I can love all horse no matter who they belong to.

As horse people, ALL the horses are our responsibility, not just the ones in our pasture. We owe it to them all to do what we can to help insure they have the best life possible. Don't we?

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Just Another Day at the Office!

When I worked at the City of Tumwater, I drove there on the same roads, there and back every weekday. Usually I was speeding in a panic, heart thumbing because I knew I was going to be a few minutes late and all too often I found myself on the receiving end of the you’re tardy again look of scorn.”

Upon my hasty arrival, I would bid good morning to the same fresh faces, chat about our evenings and weekends and then I sat myself down at the same desk in a room full of desks at one end of the basement and then the other in front of a computer which was replaced every few years.

I had a window near my workspace. I could see when it was daylight or dark outside, but my view was of a wall of large rocks and a couple volunteer fir trees making a very strong effort of growing up through the rocks. I cheered them on every workday for many years. I was proud of them for getting so tall in such a precarious location. But grow they did until they were deemed a hazard and scheduled for “Timber!”

In my new job however, my window view frequently changes. I never know from day to day until I look at my calendar, which roads I’ll be driving on, whose barn I’ll be in, or whose horse I’ll be greeting for its trim. The owners are always happy to see me even if I'm very late, because they understand that I'm on horsetime and making there at all can sometimes be a pleasant surprise. The horses are always curious about me and anxious to meet someone new. I love horses.












Yesterday, was an exceptional day at the office. My view from my office window kept changing. Rich and I flew to Roche Harbor in a very small airplane, then we took a cab to the ferry terminal in Friday Harbor, then a Ferry to Orcas Island. We hopped into an older pick up truck affectionately known as the “Island Truck” and rode across that amazing island to a beautiful farm where the owner raises gorgeous Gypsy Vanner Horses. I helped an upcoming natural hoofcare student with her 3 Icelandic ponies’ hoof trims. And later she took us on fun tour of that beautiful island and we stopped to visit a large Icelandic Pony farm and I picked out some cute ponies for my granddaughters! Grampa was surprised too!

It was one of my best days so far, since leaving the desk at the office. I guess I'm just like those trees outside my window for so many years. I grew there too, in more ways than one, and eventually it became a hazard to keep myself there, so I had to leave.
Thank you Lili, for such a wonderful day!

Pat

Dexter update




Day 13, Saturday, August 25, 2007

Well, yesterday was Dexter’s most difficult day so far. Unfortunately, it was also the first day his owner Marci came to see him since he was left in my care and I wasn't here. He was depressed and in pain. I didn’t put any horses in with him and I should have. He’s in a fairly emotional state and he does not like being alone. But then who does when they’re not feeling well? All the other horses wonder out to the back of the pasture and there he is, alone and feeling like crap, unable to walk at all without the ruthless hoof pain.

He had been off bute for 48 hours. I truly believe the bute is part of the problem. It’s certainly not a cure, it does make him feel a tiny bit better temporarily, but to his body, it masks what’s really going on and therefore compromises his ability to go to war against the root of the painful problem. In other words, the bute numbs the pain, but also numbs his body to what is happening. Kind of like shoes numb the hooves to the same kind of pain creating the allusion that healing has already taken place, so why should his body put forth more effort to help himself?

You have to understand, I grew up with movies like The Incredible Voyage.

So I did give him a double dose of bute this afternoon at 3pm. But today was better for him even without having had any pain meds for such a long time. He’s moving around a bit. He got down and rolled and he’s eaten LOTS of grass hay. He drinks water, he pees and poops and does all the things healthy horses do. I had Jake and Boomer in with him this morning until just a bit ago. I let them out and he wanted so badly to follow them out of the gate, but his body wasn’t cooperating.

Marci came again today and we agreed to give him a few more days. If he remains like this, we’ve agreed that he doesn’t deserve to be put through this agony any longer than that.

I personally believe he’s hit bottom, and all the things I’m doing for him are going to kick in now and very gradually he’s going to improve until he comfortable again. But then, that might just be part of the founder roller coaster ride we all climb on when we are dealing with a horse suffering from chronic laminitis.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

What a Difference!

















I just noticed this today. This is the same hoof. Dexter's left front. The top left picture taken in January right after deshoeing him. The top right taken 8 days ago (that's marking pen at his toe) and the bottom one was taken last Saturday.
(Now of course this is not a trim I would perform on a healthy hoof. This is a trim I would perform on this horse's left front foundered hoof because I want to see if I can trim him in a way that will help him. )
Interesting changes. Not just between the first two pictures, how his heel is much wider, but also it appears to me in the 3rd picture after only a week, his frog got busy! So then I took the forces nearly completely off his hoofwall, (off his laminae). I can't wait to see what his hoof will do now. It never ceases to amaze me the capacity these hooves have for healing themselves if you can set them up for success.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

SON OF A...

Today, I was trying to get Dexter to pick up his feet so I could work on them and he's not cooperating with me AT ALL!

So I say to him, Buddy, it can't possibly be that painful!
Well, then he DID pick up his foot and put it right down...on mine!
And if I read his expression accurately, I'm sure his reply was, "Here, let me demonstrate on your foot so you can understand better the amount of discomfort I've been tolerating so gentlemanly for the past many months."


I got the idea. His feet hurt like a...(deleted text).

Dexter Update: Day 10

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

For the past few days, Dexter was back on bute for pain control. I’m not sure how much it’s really helping him though. I‘m researching alternative pain meds. Mostly, he has just been hanging out eating all the strange offerings that appear in his feed pan, or not if it’s too weird. He’s had friends over for catered meals. (I think my horses are getting a wee bit jealous of the attention and time His Highness has been receiving. I’ve got to work in some time for them as we’re going along.)
He's pictured taking his evening meal. Grain is in the pan on the barrel and hay at a level where he won't have to put weight on his toes and a bucket of water in case he needs a drink and refuses to walk to the corner of the paddock. Dehydration is a concern. I've been tracking everything that goes in and comes out as much as I can. The sand he's on is so much better than standing on urine soaked shaving. If the weather takes a turn though, I'll have to boot him to get him to the stall.

Today, his hooves were very warm to the touch so he stood in cold running water for about an hour. Much better afterward.

This afternoon, my friend Desiree, helped me with him while I touched up his fronts and trimmed his hinds. His frogs needed attention due to thrush. I’m going to apply the thrush remedy I found on Pete and Ivy Ramey’s website, hoofrehab.com. What I’ll use is ½ Neosporin and ½ Tinactin mixed together and put into a syringe so that it be applied deeply into the center sulcus and side sulcuses (aka collateral grooves) Thanks Cora!
He sloughed a lot of junky sole, yippee! And I trimmed quite a bit of long hoofwall off. Yes, after only two weeks. That is why it’s nice that he’s here and not an hour away at his stable.

I did all this work and Dex didn’t get his bute this morning! So that was pretty cool. However, this evening when I was just out there with him, he really didn’t want to take step. His coat is shiny and beautiful though, so that indicates to me that I’m on the right track. His cresty neck is still… cresty, but the swelling that he’s had in his left front around the fetlock and cannon bone is diminishing. I believe I tapped into an abscess while I was trimming this morning, but I wasn’t sure. There is lots of stagnate tissue and crud inhabiting his sole.

So he got two scoops of bute and will call me in the morning…for his breakfast. I hope when I see him next he’ll be dancing around his paddock with a big ol’ smile on his handsome face!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Old Tractors!




I learned how to do something new today! How to drive an old tractor. For awhile now, we've been working on what is supposed to eventually be a Parelli Play Field. Where like-mind Parelli folks like myself, can come and play with their horses.
So today I went out and helped Rich work on it. He showed me how to operate the old tractor. I've moved the back hoe around the place, and I love driving the Gator out to feed the horses, but the old tractor was a first for me.
While I was driving back and forth across the field, I was thinking about how I would write about my experience of driving an old tractor. (People who love to write are always thinking of how they would write about their experiences and that's what I do too.)
Of course, tons of books and lots of songs have already been written about old tractors, and now I understand why! There is just something about sitting on an old smelly tractor slowly working your way across a field pulling a disk plow. Plow disk? I'm not sure what it's called. But you look out at the field you haven't plowed yet and you get this daunting feeling of "this is going to take all friggin' day! Then you look back at what you done, and you get this instant gratification of "Look what I've done!" It kinda goes back and forth. Daunting feeling. Gratification. Daunting, gratified. Back and forth. Until you're nearly done, and then it's WOW! I'm nearly done! I cannot imagine how they plowed huge fields up in the olden days with a horse like Forrest.
I started out jamming the gears and getting stuck too close to the fence and having to back up all weird and messing up my rows. But by the time I was three quarter's of the way done with the field, I was still jamming gears and ...no I was getting a little better at keeping her going. See I called it a "her." That means I'm a real "old tractor person" now. It is old and I am old. We're both old.
Seriously, there is just something about driving an old tractor. I've heard it said that old tractors are like women, very temperamental. You have to know how to treat them to get along with them. I don't think so. I think old tractors are more like horses. If you don't handle them correctly, they buck, snort, fart, rear up on the two hind tires. They stop dead in their tracks and you have to find a way to start them again. A tractor with a plow disk thingy on the back of it is a bugger to turn around without getting hooked up on stuff like the fence and they will tear stuff up you don't want torn up. Yep, they are just like horses.
The picture of the rock wall is what Rich did today while I was the plowin' the field, and that's May the dog, taking a dip in the fishpond! Yep! We're hicks!

Forrest



I just thought I would introduce you to Forrest. He's a sweet boy. I haven't brushed him out in days and he's still a pretty good-looking guy. He's one half Clydesdale, 1/4 TB and 1/4 warmblood. He's a smart boy, kinda big and very friendly. Notice my pasture. Good for toughening feet up!

Coming and Going


While I was out taking pictures, I had to take this shot. Danny and his mom, relaxing after a hearty breakfast of grasshay. Yum! I'm so happy to have healthy horses. I look back on what I know about Dexter, and compare his upbringing to Danny's. Danny is the horse facing you in the picture. His registered name is Larks Flashy Diamond and I'm always happy to brag that he's a grandson of Rugged Lark. If you haven't heard of him, google him. He was an amazing horse.
I had considered showing Danny at halter, but when I compared my little guy to some of the monster yearlings in the show arena, I knew we'd never bring home a ribbon. He has beautiful conformation and a great temperment, but I'd seen for myself that little yearlings and 2 year olds do not place. And after comparing him to those giants, I thought my baby was probably not going to get much bigger than 14 hands.
Well, Danny eventually grew to a nice stocky athletic 15.2 hands, around 1100 pounds, it just happened a bit more naturally and took about 5 years. Funny thing though, he has healthy joints, tendons and ligiments, and I'm fairly certain won't develop Cushings and laminitis later in life.
When are we humans ever going to learn. There's more to our horse's lives than the amount of money they can bring in.

A Buddy Makes it Better

Day 7: Dexter was standing with his head in the corner of the arena just now, head hanging, bored and depressed. I was in doorway of the shop looking over at him and I said to Rich, "I wish I could just let him out to graze, what the hell would it hurt now?"

As Rich was walking off he said, "What did you think you were going to do, fix him in a couple days. You're going to have to give it a couple months at least." He's right, what was I thinking?

Anyway, so when I put him in the stall last night, I let Harley back out into the pasture. He a buttwhip to catch and had no interest in being in with Dexter, he just wanted to be with the herd. He went thru the gate and blasted off like a fat little rocket.

So just now, I put Jake the 2 year old in the arena and he started eating Dexter's hay. Oddly enough, Dex nickered to him, turned around painfully and started eating hay too. It was like, that's all he wanted was a buddy to eat with. So Jake is in with him for awhile now. And I just might put Jake's buddy, the mini-donkey Boomer in with them too. Dex can have his own little herd! Horses are amazing, aren't they?

A Horse Hangin' Saturday, August 18, 2007

Day 6: Dexter had an eventful day today. I was out of town yesterday and he didn't get his bute. This morning he was in a founder stance. The first time I’ve seen him like that. I gave him 2 doses of bute and waited two hours hoping I could work on his feet a bit more and finish what I started Thursday. But he will not pick his feet up now at all.

He doesn’t make working on his hooves easy. With the fronts, he goes into the stiff knee routine, in the hinds - the collateral grooves (sides of the frog) are so sensitive, if I hit the most sensitive spots with my hoofpick, he reacts with a sudden and meaningful kick. He's shocked by the pain.

That reaction makes me wonder if his coffin bones might be rotating thru his soles But there is no way to no that without x-rays and I feel P3 penetration happens more rarely on the hinds then the fronts. It’s not happening on the fronts. But I've never worked on a horse with that much pain around the frog and a sole/frog that looks as normal which his does. I know thrush CAN get that bad though.
I “quickly” applied a powdered antibiotic on the soles and frogs of his hinds. I've seen that done with success on a horse whose P3s have penetrated (coffin bone rotated thru the sole) and was in boots. The antibiotic powder helped keep the frogs dry and the sole covered the bone over with new material. It’s so amazing the healing powers in the hooves.























So I put the sling on him today and lifted him up with the backhoe. It must have felt pretty good ( notice his closed eyes in the pic) because he kept licking and chewing. He wasn't completely off the ground, I just lifted his weight off his feet allowing him to have contact with the ground, but almost no weight on his hooves.. He relaxed all his weight into the sling though and took ALL the weight of his hooves for a few minutes. It must have felt like heaven for the short time, about 45 minutes total is how long I had him up. (I wondered why they didn’t do this in the long term for Barbaro.)

At first he was wondering what the hell I had put up between his legs and then he got this dreamy look in his eyes and relaxed. I got some work done on his right front. I was able to soak all four feet in Epsom Salts and Borax mixture and apply gentle iodine followed by the powdered antibiotic. I couldn't get any trimming done on the hinds.

While I had him hanging, I put Marquis boots on him. Marquis have an air bladder in the back that is pumped full with air snugging the boots on for a custom fit.. The boots seem to provide him with support at the back of the hoof and that appears to be giving him some relief. Plus, I had to take him to the stall during a downpour and he had to walk across some rocks. I was glad he had the boots on.

I must admit, I could not have done this with just any horse. The guy accepts ANY THING I do with him. Except pick up his feet!:0) So I drive right up to him with the back hoe and lift him up and for Dexter a big blow up is to take a few steps sideways and look at you as if to say, “Good Lord, what the hell is she up to now?”. As long as we kept hay within easy reach, he didn't put up much of a fuss.So after he came out of the sling, he moved ever so gingerly. I walked him to the water and he took a couple big drinks. Then he took a pee even though he couldn't get into the gelding pee stance and he took dump. He ate some dinner and the laid down for a bit.It started pouring so I took to the stall. He laid down again. But got up when Rich went out to check on him. I'm so sad to say, he is really struggling with pain. I gave him 3 doses of bute today. Two this morning - one this afternoon.

If you go to ironfreehoof.com and go to the story of Druid, you'll see that horses in way worse shape than he's in, have pulled thru, but it takes lots of diligent care and money and they suffer until they are healed. Once they are healed they are not a horse you can care for and feed like any other horse, that's why so many recuperated founder cases re-founder.So I'll continue buting him at a double dose. If we decide to let him go, I'd like to take him out to graze sometimes and just do things to give him as much happiness as possible.

It's really a bummer, he's such a sweet boy and I still don't feel like a few days is long enough to say anything I've done might work or not. It's just so hard to see them suffer, but hard to let them go.I'm getting pretty attached to the guy myself and it won't be easy for me either, but he hasn't been my baby for 17 years. This is so hard for his owner, Marci. I can’t imagine what she must be going thru. I just wish there was more I could do.

A horse hangin'





Day 6: Dexter had an eventful day today. I was out of town yesterday and he didn't get his bute. This morning he was in a founder stance. The first time I’ve seen him like that. I gave him 2 doses of bute and waited two hours hoping I could work on his feet a bit more and finish what I started Thursday. But he will not pick his feet up now at all.

He doesn’t make working on his hooves easy. With the fronts, he goes into the stiff knee routine, and the collateral grooves (sides of the frog) are so sensitive, if I hit the most sensitive spots with my hoofpick, he reacts with a sudden and meaningful kick. He's shocked by the pain.

That reaction makes me wonder if his coffin bones might be rotating thru his soles But there is no way to no that without x-rays and I feel P3 penetration happens more rarely on the hinds then the fronts. It’s not happening on the fronts. But I've never worked on a horse with that much pain around the frog and a sole/frog that looks as normal which his does. I know thrush CAN get that bad though.
I “quickly” applied a powdered antibiotic on the soles and frogs of his hinds. I've seen that done with success on a horse whose P3s have penetrated (coffin bone rotated thru the sole) and was in boots. The antibiotic powder helped keep the frogs dry and the sole covered the bone over with new material. It’s so amazing the healing powers in the hooves.





So I put the sling on him today and lifted him up with the backhoe. It must have felt pretty good because he kept licking and chewing. He wasn't completely off the ground, I just lifted his weight off his feet allowing him to have contact with the ground, but almost no weight on his hooves.. He relaxed all his weight into the sling though and took ALL the weight of his hooves for a few minutes. It must have felt like heaven for the short time, about 45 minutes total is how long I had him up. (I wondered why they didn’t do this in the long term for Barbaro.)

At first he was wondering what the hell I had put up between his legs and then he got this dreamy look in his eyes and relaxed. I got some work done on his right front. I was able to soak all four feet in Epsom Salts and Borax mixture and apply gentle iodine followed by the powdered antibiotic. I couldn't get any trimming done on the hinds.

While I had him hanging, I put Marquis boots on him. Marquis have an air bladder in the back that is pumped full with air snugging the boots on for a custom fit.. The boots seem to provide him with support at the back of the hoof and that appears to be giving him some relief. Plus, I had to take him to the stall during a downpour and he had to walk across some rocks. I was glad he had the boots on.

I must admit, I could not have done this with just any horse. The guy accepts ANY THING I do with him. Except pick up his feet!:0) So I drive right up to him with the back hoe and lift him up and for Dexter a big blow up is to take a few steps sideways and look at you as if to say, “Good Lord, what the hell is she up to now?”. As long as we kept hay within easy reach, he didn't put up much of a fuss.So after he came out of the sling, he moved ever so gingerly. I walked him to the water and he took a couple big drinks. Then he took a pee even though he couldn't get into the gelding pee stance and he took dump. He ate some dinner and the laid down for a bit.It started pouring so I took to the stall. He laid down again. But got up when Rich went out to check on him. I'm so sad to say, he is really struggling with pain. I gave him 3 doses of bute today. Two this morning - one this afternoon. If you go to ironfreehoof.com and go to the story of Druid, you'll see that horses in way worse shape than he's in, have pulled thru, but it takes lots of diligent care and money and they suffer until they are healed. Once they are healed they are not a horse you can care for and feed like any other horse, that's why so many recuperated founder cases re-founder.
I'll continue buting him at a double dose. If we decide to let him go, I'd like to take him out to graze sometimes and just do things to give him as much happiness as possible. It's really a bummer, he's such a sweet boy and I still don't feel like a few days is long enough to say anything I've done might work or not. It's just so hard to see them suffer, but hard to let them go.I'm getting pretty attached to the guy myself and it won't be easy for me either, but he hasn't been my baby for 17 years. This is so hard for his owner, Marci. I can’t imagine what she must be going thru.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Day 5: Dexter was not feeling very spunky this morning. I went out and he was laying down. He was down for quite a while, I think. I walked out to check on him and he didn't get up. I could have made him get up, but that's the first time I've seen him resting since he's been here, and I figured it felt pretty good to take a load off.

He got up for some breakfast and walked across the field for it, gingerly. I took him and Harley back into the sand arena. I tried to get him to eat his medicine-laced feed, but he wouldn't touch it. For fear that he could lose too much weight, I just gave him breakfast without the meds and he gobbled it down. This afternoon, I fed him low sugar/high in fat mash mixture with his pergolide in it and he ate most of that. Then I had to leave for work.

This evening he was in a lot of pain. I gave him some oats with the usually assortment of stuff: MSM, rice bran, etc., but this time I added APF. Advanced Protection Formula which can be purchased from some Equine websites and the Parelli’s recommend it.

So I got my tools out and went to work on him again. I came to this conclusion. If I don't do something drastic to help him, he's going to die. So I can't afford to be cautious at this point. I've just got to go for it. So I stood looking at the bottom of his MOST painful hoof, the front left, and thought back to a presentation I’d attended by a Swedish practitioner and I did what he recommended. The results were astounding! I took all his weight off his hoofwall completely. Then additional sole material just turned loose and I came into some old abscess material that had been harbored in his stacked up hoof for years probably.




I was able to actually bring the heel down more than we have ever so far! I'm so pleased! However, he wouldn't let me do anything more to the other hooves. The left front is now more painful than ever I’m assuming. But it had to be done. So I have to wait and work on him again this weekend. I’ll be out of town tomorrow.
I did a little hoofwall trimming on his right front and cleaned his hinds. I soaked all fours as you can see in the photo in epsom salts and surgical scrub. Next time, I will use Borax in the water.Without the bute he's tender on all 4 feet, so the assumption is he has foundered in all fours. And that's likely a true statement, but something else is going on in his hinds. As I mentioned before, there is thrush around his frogs, but I didn’t realize (because of the bute) just how bad his case of thrush is. His frogs are super tender and he even tries to kick me when I'm cleaning around the frogs and hit super sensitive areas. So the pain in his hinds is likely curable, good news there.I think he was amused by having his feet soaked, but he liked it. I cleaned all of his hooves really well, sprayed with iodine and stuffed with ichthammol ointment. I can't wait see if we get some pain-free hind feet that he can use to transfer some of the weight off his fronts.The last thing I did was mix a double dose of bute into some applesauce and into a syringe and got that down him. He should have a comfortable night anyway. And if anything I did will relief some of his pain, I'll be so happy. Another note: He is shedding. So the pergolide must be kicking in too!Okay, so I'm pretty excited. This weekend if he can't allow me do work on his hooves further, we have a horse sling that we're going to use to lift him off his feet so he doesn't have to bear weight on the other 3 and I can get some work done without getting mad at him. He's such a good boy and if you get mad at him he looks at you, like "Well, just what the hell would you like me to do? My friggin’ feet hurt and I'm doing the best I can..." So I can't get mad at him. I think he knows I'm trying to help him and he does the best he can. What a nice boy he is. I really want to save him. Sniff.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Day 4: Not much change today. Dex is even more tender. I gave him 1 gm of bute in his feed. Not sure how much of it he actually ingested though. But he is walking around looking for blades of grass. I left him and Harley in the dirt pasture overnight. Harley isn't thrilled about being Dexter's babysitter. But when people ask me, "What are minis good for? This is one of my answers. They make great horse-sitters!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Day 3: The bute seems to be completely out of Dexter’s system. He is very tender on the hard ground today, on all four feet. He’s okay on the soft ground, but still achy. I took him to the pond and asked him to stand in the cool mud. He seemed to enjoy that. I put Harley, a mini in with him for a companion. This is good for Harley as he’s about to founder himself, and for a horse, having the company of another horse is good for their mental health.

Mud Therapy: After taking Dexter out to the mud at the edge of the fishpond one time and letting him soak his feet, I didn’t have to do it again. He stands in the mud on his own now, for about 20 minutes at a time. I wonder how he would compare the cool soft mud to the Styrofoam pads. Really, we don’t wonder at all...we know.

Monday, August 13, 2007


Day 2: I trimmed Dexter’s hooves today. His last trim was only 12 days ago, yet he still had quite a bit of sole to shed in the heels. I’m finally starting to see some healthy hoofwall at ground level at the toes. Something I haven’t seen up until now.

I can see also that he’s been suffering with some painful hoofwall abscesses along with the laminitis. Lots of dead laminae has become exposed. He was more tender after the trim. Plus I’ve stopped giving him bute because it masks the pain and I need to see exactly where he is pain-wise in order to tell if we’re making progress or not in the coming weeks. Dexter also has thrushy frogs. I’m treating that with mild iodine. I caution customers NOT to use the thrush remedies they find in the feeds stores. They are caustic and can literally eat right through to the inner-hoof.

My plan for Dexter during the next month is just to try stuff. He is a case study and his owner is okay with that. I’m administering an herb called Jiaogulan which has been found to have positive affects on laminitic horses. Including one of my own. Also, MSM and some other herbs I’m trying out. I plan to keep him in the sand arena at night and in the dirt field during the day. With mud soaks daily. Soaking his feet in mud means I will also have to keep them cleaned daily to thwart the thrush. I may also try soaking his feet in Borax water and applying an Epsom Salts Gel to the undersides of his hooves.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Day One: Dexter arrives. We put him in the sand paddock/arena. It’s not really sand, it’s ash dust from the Steam Plant in Centralia. It’s great footing when it’s damp. Terribly dusty when it’s dry. Dexter was given a good dose of bute for the 2 hour long trailer ride. That evening he was trotting around a bit when the dogs annoyed him from their side of the fence. He’d even try to buck-kick at them, but would think better of it as his weight was shifted completed onto his front feet. Dexter is now taking pergolide for the Cushings.

Hoof Recovery Center Case #1 Dexter



Case #1: Pictures: Dex in shoes - Jan 2007 and after his first natural trim. This is a founder hoof.

Dexter. 20 year old QH Gelding. Dex is a big, beautiful, stout, (former show horse) who had never been sick in his life. His problems now include chronic laminitis in all four feet and Cushings.

His history: When Dexter was initially diagnosed with founder in February of 2006, the prescription was to lock him in his stall and administer bute. He was in shoes and Styrofoam pads. (Ironically, Styrofoam is an insulating material that holds the heat in.)

After 6 months of stall "rest," he continued with shoes, and by June of that year seemed to be improving. His owner, Marci, started with light riding. He would need bute after riding and shoeing. By the end of October he was very lame again and the cycle continued with large doses of bute, stall rest and shoes with pads.

With no changes, Marci decided she either needed to end his suffering or find another option. That’s when I came into the picture in January 2007.

I removed Dexter’s shoes and trimmed him. His entire coronet band was parallel to the ground which of course means his coffin bone is tipped down unnaturally. There was severe separation (something the shoes were hiding) of the white line.
His toes where snubbed off and hoofwall removed leaving the laminae completely exposed. I’m not sure what that was supposed to do to help him, but I’ve seen that same technique on cadaver hooves, which obviously didn’t help those horses either. (What’s the definition of insanity? Trying the same things over and over and expecting different results. Yah.)

Dexter’s condition improved almost immediately and within a couple trims Marci was starting to ride him again, lightly. But by July, he took a turn for the worse again. Marci realized something else was going on. His coat was thickening up and his area under his eyes became puffy, two signs of Cushings. Another sign on geldings is that their sheath will sometimes enlarge and become droopy. Laminitis is a byproduct of Cushings, but sometimes, as in Dexter’s case, the laminitis can show up first. He is now taking Pergolide.

Again the conclusion was to end his suffering or bring him to me so I can monitor him and have access to his feet on a daily basis.

So Dexter arrived on the 12th of this month (August 2007).

A day in the life of a Natural Hoofcare Pratitioner













I was called out to trim donkey of a different sort yesterday. This is a 30 plus year old burro named Popeye! He was born in New Mexico and was a working burro who, in a string of burros, carried supplies to a very remote area in NM. They called him Popeye because he could carry the heaviest loads. When the burros were no longer needed to do that job they were adopted out. The lady who adopted Popeye sent him to live with her daughter here in Western Washington to the cooler climate.

I was told Popeye had foundered, and that finding and keeping a farrier who would work on his feet had been very difficult. I’m going to guess that Popeye’s feet would scare most farriers off. And I can’t blame them, his feet are a bit scary if you’ve had no training in trimming pathological hooves as most farriers haven't. Some farriers have had little training in properly trimming normal feet. In fact, the last farrier’s best advice was to put Popeye down.

When I got the initial call, I had asked if Popeye had company or was alone. (Something I’m always curious about as equines are social, herd animals and their mental and emotional condition is as important to healing as their physical state.) Yes, I was told, Popeye has lots of company. It was so funny when I arrived. All these little pig-tails were wagging constantly - little balls of happiness on four little legs.

Popeye, however, wasn’t so happy. He was in a great amount of pain. I trimmed him and helped him dramatically in one trim. He’s a sweet little guy. After I was done, I was bent down near his front foot and he nuzzled his head against mine and we just stayed that way for a moment and I whispered to him that I was going to help him get well. I believe he was saying thank you - that feels so much better. Stay tuned for after-trim pictures of Popeye the Burro.

Donkey


This is Boomer. He’s a mini-donkey rescue. He was standing at the doorway to the feedshed requesting treats yesterday, so I took his picture. Boomer always thinks he’s starving, either for food or affection. A mini-donkey makes the best pet. Most are sweet, loving and take very little food to maintain. My grandkids can lead him all over the place, but if there is an adult at the other end of the lead rope, he sometimes isn’t as cooperative. Just to look at a donkey - any size, donkey - brings a smile to your face. Am I right?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Founder


As many of you who know me knows, I get excited about Pathlogy in horse hooves! (Pathology – any condition that is a deviation from the normal.)

Not that I want to see horses suffering. Just the opposite. I love the challenge of seeing them through to wellness again. I’ll try anything that common sense tells me might work.

For founder, most vets will tell you to lock the horse in a stall and don’t allow him to move about. Some will tell you to put sand in the stall also. I like the sand idea - especially deep, moist, cool sand. That’s got to feel good on hot aching hooves. But locking them up, is exactly the ass-backwards thing to do!

It’s almost as illogical as the common practice of raising the heels in founder cases. The coffin bone (aka P3) which ideally should be nearly ground parallel, in founder cases it’s sometimes rotated down at the toe. So let’s raise the heels! Huh? I’m not even a smart person and that doesn’t make one bit of sense to me! Why would an educated person think that it’s a good idea to take something that is already wrong and make it more wrong?

I would think that lowering the heels in an attempt to stabilize P3 at its natural angle would be more correct. Yes, the shoes and pads used to raise the heels may offer the foundered horse some pain relief initially, but that’s because, as I’ve been taught, shoes numb the hooves! Take away the flexibility of a flexing thing and it won’t feel as much pressure from the outside world.

But I equate that practice to putting alum on a toothache. Many younger people have never felt a toothache so they can’t identify with toothache pain, but take my word for it, a bad toothache over a long period of time is like the world’s worst torture.

But put a little alum on it (a spice in most kitchen cabinets) and the pain is completely relieved. But only for a very short time, and when the pain returns, it hits with a vengeance. There is nothing like the throbbing pain of a toothache. Now imagine 4 toothaches, if you can, and you have to put all your weight on your teeth. What a drag that would be.

When the feeling returns to the horse’s hooves after the shoes can no longer mask the pain, the horse is deemed too far gone to help. When really, if help had come in some other form, the horse might have improved.

I’m not saying natural hoofcare can cure them all either. But we usually get the call as a last ditch effort for a horse that is completely worn out and is about to be put down. If we could just get to them sooner, we could probably cure more than we do.

Stay tuned for the story and updates on our first Hoof Recovery Center patient. (Those are his hooves in pictured above.) Dex is a 20 years old, big, beautiful, stout, quarter horse (former show horse) who had never been sick in his life. His problems now include founder in all four feet and Cushings. Keep your fingers crossed for him.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Testimonial

A very nice letter I just received from one of my former students:

Three years ago I moved from a boarding situation in Miami to my own ranch in Southern Oregon. The move was very stressful on my horses, as was the change their environment, terrain and diet. Within half a year of arriving in Oregon, all three of my horses developed hoof problems. My Shetland Pony, Harley, came down with severe laminitis, my Arabian, Sunny, developed chronic abscesses, and my Arabian, Vashka was also sore in his front feet. I searched all over the state -- and even throughout the country -- for professional trimmers who could help me heal my horses. No one seemed able to help. That was when I decided to learn to become a trimmer.

My quest took me to a journeyman farrier in Arizona, a veterinarian in Pennsylvania and finally to Pat Wagner in Washington. I can honestly say that it was Pat who helped me put everything into perspective. Watching her trim and then trimming with her spurred so many "ah-ha" moments it was incredible. There are many people who are good teachers or good trimmers. But there are very few people who are both. Pat is one of them. She is knowledgeable, methodical, kind and patient. Never was there a moment when she did not take the time to answer a question -- and I had many of them.

For people looking to learn to trim their own horses or to become a professional trimmer, I highly recommend Pat. Our "intensive" was well thought out, well rounded, and lasted three days. On day one we trimmed several of her clients' horses, then came back to Pat's house and trimmed one of her horses. On day two we visited more of Pat's clients, then trimmed two more of Pat's horses. On day three Pat gave me an in-class demonstration on the anatomy of the hoof, at which point we both dissected cadaver hooves. Then we trimmed yet another horse on her ranch. In between all this Pat took me to a farrier supply store where she guided me to buy the most efficient trimming tools. And at night I read books Pat loaned me on the anatomy of the hoof and natural hoofcare trimming.

By the time I got home I felt confident in trimming my own horses' feet as well as the horses of others. My first client had a flat-footed, horse with horrible stretched white lines, severe thrush and extensive flaring. Thanks to Pat, I was able to deal effectively with all of it.

Gratefully,,

Lori Teresa Yearwood
Southern Oregon
www.naturalhorsejourney.typepad.com

Thursday, August 2, 2007

What's in YOUR freezer?

video

As more and more horse owners are becoming interested in learning how to care for their own horses' hooves, clinics like the ones we offer are in demand. Trimming cadaver hooves can be an excellent learning experience. You can't hurt the horse so a student can trim without that fear of hurting the horse. Afterwards dissecting the hoof provides an education about the enternal structure of the hoof that you just can't get from pictures of cross-sections. It might seem gross to some, but it's a fascinating experience for those interested in making life better for horses, starting from the ground up. Not only that, but it's fun!