Woe is me! I don’t even know where to begin on this hoof abscess saga. On Monday night, I noticed that Siete was very sore on her front feet. The right one seemed warm. I bedded her stall heavily and gave her a little Bute. That was about all I could do but I worried all night that she was having a laminitis attack. Tuesday morning, her right front was cool, but her left front was warm. Her back left hoof looked like there might be a return of the abscess from last week.
Grey Horse Matter’s daughter, who is a saint, lent me a pair of soft hoof boots called Soft-Ride. I put some Animalintex pads in one and velcroed it on to Siete’s back left hoof. I gave her a little more Bute. She seemed much happier, but I could tell that the other back foot was bothering her. I decided to wait to put both boots on since John, the farrier, was coming today.
So, what I certainly didn’t expect this morning was that Silk would be completely lame on her front right foot when I went out to the barn. I just fell apart emotionally. When something is wrong with Silk, something is equally wrong with me. As you know, she is my soul sister. I put the other soft boot on her front foot with some Animalintex and kept my fingers crossed that John would find an abscess when he came. All the while, I was walking around trying to figure out what’s causing all these abscesses.
I ran over to my local tack store to see if they had any Animalintex. The owner didn’t, but she told me that she’s been having trouble with abscesses too, and there were a couple of other women in the store who also were there for the same reason. They all told me that with the wet weather, the dirt has drained off the pastures and there are so many stones and rocks. The store owner recommended an iodine based hoof disinfectant and hardener by Sore No More. She swears by it, so I got some.
John, the farrier, is such a good guy. He was gentle and sympathetic and most of all, so fast. I told him that if there was ever a contest for who could trim a hoof the fastest, he’d win. With all these sore feet, he had to be quick because neither horse could balance herself for long. We started with Siete. He reassured me that he didn’t think she was foundering. He found bruises on the soles of both her back feet. He said that she was putting so much weight on her front feet since she couldn’t rest on the back ones that the front ones were sore now. He strongly urged me to use an iodine and sugar slush in the soft boots on both back feet. That’s what we used in Virginia. It draws the abscess and toughens the hoof. So, that’s what I’ve done. Siete isn’t thrilled by it, but she’s got no choice tonight.
Silk was so sore that she could barely walk out of her stall. John couldn’t find an abscess, but I think it’s just up deep inside and will come out through the coronet band. He mentioned navicular, which sent me into a small panic. We decided that if this lameness comes and goes, I need to check out that horrible possibility. Silk was so good. She leaned her head and shoulder on me, pressing her face firmly up against my heart while he worked on the sore foot. I was almost crying because I felt how painful it was for her. Amazingly, she let him trim the other three feet, and he did it so deftly that I was really impressed. She could hardly walk back to her stall. I gave her some Bute and put the clunky rubber medicine boot with Animalintex in it on her front right foot. When I came out to feed the horses their dinner, Silk was in Siete’s stall, seeking comfort from her daughter. As she walked to her own, she was definitely putting more weight on the sore foot so I think the Animalintex is doing its magic.
So, we’ll see how they are both doing in the morning. I’m considering buying these Soft Ride boots for all eight horsey feet and just putting them on each time I turn them out. Siete was trying to rub hers off tonight. I’m so tired and emotionally whipped that I’m going to crawl into bed. I’ve got so much other real work right now that tomorrow needs to be spent concentrating less on horse hooves and more on writing and preparing for a documentary shoot next week. Enough obsessing about abscesses.
Thursday morning update: Both horses were standing on all legs and hungry this morning. I'm in a much better frame of mind - It rained during the night, but the ground absorbed it so there's no mud or puddles. I'm grateful for small victories right now.