Monday, February 9, 2009

Healing Henry!

Meet Hank! Newest addition to the Rainier Hoof Recovery Center!

Learn about his condition and his progress on his own blog, Healing Henry!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Final and Bittersweet Update on Classy and Cricket.

This is Classy Bobbie. A sweet 19 year old Appy mare that we rehabbed from Founder. (There are previous posts about her and her pasture mate, Cricket.)

Both mares arrived here in the acute stages of laminitis. Both were pulled through and doing well. Cricket, however, at 13 years old, relapsed this past fall and all our attempts to bring her back failed. We could not bring her out of it. She gradually got worse until she was spending most all her time in the stall lying down on the soft mats.

With the number of horses we have here to feed, I felt Bobbie (Her named evolved from Classy to Bobbie due to a quirky habit she has of bobbing her head and one front leg when she wanted something, food!) would be an easy mare to rehome. She hadn't been ridden in years, but her history was that she was once been a well trained show horse. Turns out, she was rusty, but all her training was still very close to the surface.

She is calm, sweet and so easy to become attached to, making the decision to let her go a difficult one. But we found a great home for her with a loving family in Pe Ell.

Her new owners are riding her and she is a therapy horse for their two daughters. She's proving to be awesome with the girls and she is well-loved by her new family.

Sadly, Cricket's story doesn't end as well. This is Cricket right after she relapsed in the fall - with my niece, Phyl, who volunteers some of her time here and had adopted Cricket soon after the mares arrived.

Cricket's feet were causing her chronic pain and I long suspected she was dealing with more than just inflammation of the laminae. We finally decided it was best to end her suffering. She left us today.

Everywhere I turn I'm reminded of that little mare. Because she was stall-bound the last few months, she was a 24/7 care case: daily grooming, stall cleaning, buckets of fresh water and armloads of hay to nibble on. I worked on her feet as often as I could, trying to find new ways to get her comfortable enough to allow me to work on her hooves. For awhile she let me clean or trim her feet while she was lying down, even laying down on her own when she saw me enter her stall wearing my farrier apron. She was a smart mare.

Then eventually she wouldn't let me touch her feet at all. It was so difficult for both of us, and the thrush she was developing because I couldn't keep her feet clean and dry proved extremely painful and impossible to cure.

This picture was taken the morning of her last day. She was allowed out to eat grass and gaze at the horses in the pasture while she rested. She ate sweetfeed and carrots, and her favorite treats. I brushed her and cut her tail off (so it wouldn't be cut and sold later. Yes, that happens.) I let her know she'd been a lovely horse and this was going to be her last day enduring chronic pain. We said our goodbyes.

So, a sad ending for one and a happy ending for the other. I'll miss them both very much. Sniff.