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We Are Flying Solo

January 19, 2015

Hooves: Excellent For Both Exploding Heads & Amazing Healing Powers

No one's favourite supplies
Time may not heal ALL wounds, but given enough of it, equine feet can certainly recover from some gory feats of coordination fail.

Waaaayyyy back in July, Encore felt I needed a reminder of this & my horse of many talents (a few of which are even useful) dissected his own hoof wall.  Long experience means I keep the first aid kit well-stocked and Dr. Bob & WunderFarrier are both nearby.  I am grateful daily for their incredible experience, attention to detail, & ready response when it counts!!

17 July 2014 - the fresh handiwork on RF

17 July 2014 - go big or go home?
Overnight poultice
18 July 2014 - post-poultice
I have doctored all sorts of nasty injuries over the years, from a horse who completely degloved an entire hind cannon on loose wire (incredibly, despite exposed bone, never lame, fully recovered), to draining pus infections, to deep, hot, swollen slices.  Yet I had no idea what to expect from this one, even after the vet assured me that coronet band was undamaged.

26 July 2014 - Out, damned bruise!

A roller-coaster, just like every other horse injury.  Why do I never learn to go back to fish-keeping?

Because, I mean, just duct-taping & doctoring one foot every day, that's boring, anyone can do that!  Let's really mix it up.  Throw in a bruise in the OTHER front foot on the horse who refuses to abscess, so it just floats around in there.  That way you get to spend some real quality time with your horse.

And by quality time, I mean ALL the time.  Then you can become a true master in the art of duct tape boots (I was a bit out of practice, but I really didn't need a refresher...).

Sleep makes things too easy to deal with, so we have to include the midnight emergency vet call on July 27th, while you empty the contents of your fridge's ice-maker into buckets of water on two hot feet. 

Thanks, buddy, that only took a couple more years off my life...
But It Got Better

Thanks to another quick response, our mini-founder passed without incident, & Encore's hoof quickly began to take care of business. 

30 July 2014 - closing fast
5 Aug 2014 - LF bruise defeated!!
29 Aug 2014 - Epoxy & frog pads make things look weird, but one month & it's growing out!
We Were Lucky

Although it felt like an eternity, it was only about six weeks before we were able to start riding again.  Thanks to wonderful communications between vet & farrier, close monitoring saw us through the most unstable stages of grow-out (including just a few weeks ago, where he pulled his LF shoe & twisted the RF, so that I feared I'd find him with his entire RF heel torn off, as the crack was just millimetres from the ground, in need of immediate stabilization).

18 Jan 2015
So here we are today yesterday:  his heel has pretty much entirely grown out.  You can just see the remnants of the injury above the rear corner of the frog pad (& that SOMEone has been thriving on good hay & SmartHoof & is quite ready for impending farrier visit!).  

He still gets his epoxy coating to help stabilize what's left -- so if in need, I have now learned JB Weld can even glue your horse together (ok, so it wasn't ACTUALLY JB Weld, although I did fix a trough with that yesterday...and a cat bowl...).

There's a bit more growing to do, but he's been sound (on THAT quarter anyway, geeeezz...) & once Dr. Bob has him re-lubed, we'll try that whole "work" thing again.

That's damn nice taping, though...
Hindsight Is A Lot Less Stressful

Unfortunately, we don't get to sit back & be amazed until afterwards.  But one of the many reasons I like to track these things (the boys certainly give me plenty of opportunities, it's sort of hilarious that "injury" is one of the largest, ergo most frequently used, in our tag cloud on the right sidebar) is that when we do get a successful outcome (which I would have really appreciated, ahem, Solo), it's like my own little emotional baseline, a reminder that I have to be patient & well, I'm probably going to freak out a lot.

While it confirms my hypothesis that horse owners are batshit crazy masochists, I hope it also helps you feel a little bit less cursed when your own creature induces head explosions.  And a lot less alone, because any of us who have spent enough time around horses have experienced both kinds of results, the successful & the heartbreaking.

But you can't fly on a goldfish...

Dang, I miss this; running Solo is riding joy.  Photo by Pics of You, 2010.


  1. Glad he's heeled (hahaha, oh the puns) up well! Fingers crossed for fewer injuries in 2015!

    1. Well played! And thank you, I'm crossing everything I can find for that...

  2. yikes - that's a gnarly hoof injury!! glad it's almost back to 100%!! and so true about tracking this stuff to help keep us sane when the next big emergency pops up...

    1. Yeah, I was seriously freaked out when Farrier trimmed off skin flap -- I'm pretty good at mentally whimpering, "his career is over." My horses give me so much practice... It really is a matter of luck so many times, both good & bad, no matter how hard we try. He LIVES in bell boots. Well, the shoe did stay on...

  3. Oh gosh the more years pass from my days as a veterinary assistant, the queasier I become...looks like it healed up nicely though!

    1. I need to, oh, NOT use the crappy camera phone to take a picture when farrier comes out; it really has grown out just like an abscess -- which I had serious doubts about after seeing the entire internal cross-section of his foot exposed. 0.o

  4. I briefly had the thought to go back and look at our "ouch" label, but then realized that if I read about all the times Archie tried to kill himself, I might be more sad about the current injury. Because it's hard to be optimistic when you're doing the nitty-gritty treatments and the pony is a huge, not-fun time suck. :(

    Glad that Encore is doing better! And I love that last photo of Solo.

    1. I hear that -- both have gotten horrid cuts that were very deep; Encore's hock turned into a turkey. 0.0 Solo gave me many hours of carefully wrapping & washing & taping & starting over when he did his full-thickness pastern slice (the link in the post) that would. not. heal. You have all my empathy indeed!!

      Non-horse people laugh when I refer to them as my walking suicide machines, but it is very true indeed -- I have a friend who had FOUR horses on stall rest at the same time for months, all with significant soft tissue injuries, two of which had very poor prognoses. Luckily, they are all back eventing, one took her to Intermediate after that, & everyone healed, but I swear it has got to shorten OUR life spans!