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We Are Flying Solo

August 2, 2013

Changes Afoot

Naturally, after I celebrate Encore's awesomeness and plan a fantastic trip down to Southern Pines to visit his CANTER MA aunties and ride with David...

...he shuts that down a few hours before we depart.  Apparently, I never learn!

I arrived on Saturday morning to find his shoes all jacked up from stomping endlessly at flies and his withers and butt sore from the repeated concussion.  The rest of his back seemed fine and I tried to ride the soreness out with stretching but it did not go well.  In addition, the stomping plus a hoof growth spurt from new grass made him grow insane amounts of hoof wall all over the place; his feet did not even closely resemble their normal state!  He had two loose shoes and the barn farrier, who happened to be visiting, tacked them back on for us and also made a few suggestions, which got my brain churning.  He didn't know any better, haha.

Regardless, no trip for us.  Sadness.

Both boys were due for their vaccinations and our farrier was visiting yesterday, so I hauled them down to Dr. Bob's clinic.  While we there, I decided to redo the lateral radiographs of Encore's front feet that I had taken almost two years ago when I brought him home.  I was curious to see if there had been improvement in his P1/2/3 alignment (it felt like there had not), if there were any arthritic changes (I hoped not!), and what his soles and toes looked like (I already knew he grew a ton of toe).

Dr. Bob agreed it was far more useful to shoot the pictures than try to guess, so we made the boy some nice wood platforms and had a look.  Turns out, my instincts weren't totally wrong.

Left front foot.
When I said he grows a ton of toe, I meant it!  This is at 4.5 weeks of this crazy cycle, our grass has been off the charts.  So try not to judge the heinous hoof wall too much, even though it looks uuugly. 

On the positive side, his joint spaces have remained nice and clean, as has his navicular bone (nestled in the back between P2 and P3 (coffin bone).  While his coffin bone shows some remodeling on the palmar (facing the ground) and rear edges, it is nothing outside of the normal range.  His sole thickness, which was already great, had increased a bit more, yay!

However, there has not been any improvement in the P1/2/3 alignment.  The heel end of his coffin bone still sits a little too low, which lets the bones sink slightly out of alignment.  This also creates some bruising on the palmar surface of the coffin bone, in the center of the foot (I thought this sounded horrible, but Dr. Bob assured me it was minor). 

Right front foot.
His right foot told much the same story (this was one of the two reset on Saturday, hence different nails).  Still clean joints, navicular is fine, sole excellent.

Same verdict on bone alignment and coffin bone angle.

We also discussed his back feet.  Encore travels very base narrow behind and twists his hind feet, especially his left hind, when he pushes off the ground (very common).  His front feet also hit the ground before his hind feet if he is not fully engaged, creating his nice four-beat canter, heh.  However, he does not grow crazy toe back there, his hoof wall behind is very  nice.

Now it was time to create a new shoeing prescription!  He was wearing Natural Balance shoes up front, which farrier alternated with keg shoes when he felt it was appropriate, and a normal keg shoe behind.  So what is he wearing today?

Up front, he has an aluminum wedge shoe that lifts his heel 2 degrees to help correct that coffin bone angle (as we move his toe back, this will help too).  I HATE HATE HATE pads, as Solo wore them once and they gave him horrible thrush, bleh.  So I was happy to use a wedge shoe and farrier rolled the toe with his rasp to speed breakover even more.  He moved the toe wayyy back and the narrower shoe let it sit closer to the frog than the NB shoes could.

Behind, he went to a size larger keg shoe to both widen his stance, help the foot to land more quickly, and reduce the twisting of the ankle.  There was also an option of using a trailer on the outside branch of his old shoes, but farrier felt that since we needed to use studs, the larger shoe would make that easier on Encore, as the trailer would change more forces on the leg and that added to the studs might be too much change too fast.

So we will see how he responds to all this.  I am very glad I decided to go ahead with the radiographs -- it 100x times more helpful for the farrier to be able to see all the details and we can KNOW what Encore specifically needs help with and what he doesn't; that is worth a great deal!  He is also now wearing four fly boots that I dug out from my stores to reduce some of that stomping.

And you know, why not try to spend as much money as possible in one day!!!


  1. Bleh, no fun to spend all that money, but sounds like you'll get a lot out of it. Hope your pony feels better soon :-)