Eeyore went in for his lameness evaluation this morning. I had the day off work for a trip to Chicago that never happened. The drug rep cancelled my flight in August without telling me and I had no way to get there last minute. Shucks.
I was a nervous wreck all morning. I bothered Michele a lot and KC had the bad idea to text me to see how things were going and probably immediately regretted that decision 🙂 Thanks girls for the support!!!
In my typical type A ways, I left really early and arrived 30 minutes before my appointment. Eeyore travels better each time and unloaded only a tad sweaty. They have lovely sand paddocks for the horses to wait in and I let him chill outside while I went in to fill out paperwork.
And by chill I mean run around like an idiot, work up into a thick lather and then roll in the sand. I swear I brushed him and made him clean for the vet. He was disgusting by the time the vet met him. Doofus, try not to embarrass me ok?
I had verbal diarrhea all over that poor vet as soon as she asked. I mean every tiny detail I could regurgitate came out. It was her birthday too. I wasn’t a very good present.
First was a basic exam followed by flexions on the cement slab. I was a bit anxious about the whole cement slab thing. Poor guy hurts on good footing let alone cement, but I watched and mostly kept my mouth shut.
I need to give him credit here. He was a saint. He trotted when asked, let everyone poke and prod and generally annoy him and he took it all in. Thankfully no other horses were around or it would have been a different story. He is an angel when he thinks he is all alone in the world but gets a bit fixated and unruly if another horse is in sight. We will work on that.
Anyway my Big Orange PITA flexed normal all the way around. No left hind creating front right issues. He did palpate strongly positive to the back and that is having had all last week off.
Diagnosis #1: bad saddle fit. I already knew this and the T8 will never touch him again. More on this later though.
It was on to the round pen for lunge work. They started going left since he is better that direction.
He was 1/5 going left but was being super good and moved out well. They kept him going left for a while and the vet mentioned at least half a dozen times that he was a really cute mover and she liked him a lot. She told me to imagine what he will be like when he isn’t lame. My response? “Not rideable” I’m so very funny.
Off to the right and…3/5 lame. Which surprised me actually having not been worked in a week but thinking on it I’m sure the trotting on the cement hurt and this was residual from that.
They didn’t ask much to the right. There wasn’t much point, so from there we went back to the cement and she got out the hoof testers. Trying to be nice she started on the front left. And boy did he react! He wasn’t mean but he hurt. Everywhere she touched. When she moved to the right foot he shied away and looked at her like “No way! That thing hurts!” The right front was equally positive but to the toe only.
Well dang. Sorry guy your feet hurt so bad.
We agreed that X-rays would be beneficial for a lot of reasons, most important to look at angles and help the farrier better do his job. I was nervous here too. I knew the PPE had some odd questions about his navicular and I worried she missed something awful that would show up and cause his permanent retirement at the ripe age of 7. I expressed this and the vet told me he was too young for that and she could fix just about anything.
Eeyore is super light weight and enjoyed his time inside with sedation an awful lot. Between the air conditioning, the cushy mats and the happy juice, all the techs and the vet were laughing at my poor Doofus. He wants to be an inside horse.
A lot of snaps later and the results were in. Nothing wrong with his bones or his joints. This is when I finally let go of all my anxiety and concerns. No navicular changes. No arthritis. Big deep breath.
What they did show though was interesting. I’ll start with the RF. The new hoof growth is growing in parallel to the bone and is healthy. The articular angles are spot on. All good news. The sole is barely there which I knew from my farrier telling me that months ago. The main thing is that the old toe is super long and is creating a mechanical laminitis. Basically every time he pushes off the slope of the toe is pulling the hoof wall off the bone creating pain. As the hoof grows in this will self correct but yikes! Not good. Cutting all the toe off should improve his pain immediately.
The LF was surprising. It is his low heel, but looks like it is growing in nicely. Yeah, no. No laminitis and the hoof is growing nicely parallel to the bone but the angles are all sorts of bad. This puts him at high risk for ligament and bone issues in the future if not corrected.
Diagnosis #2: shit feet. This I also knew.
I was relieved though. No tendon or ligament issue. Just bad feet and bad saddle fit. Both of which I knew going in. I asked if she wanted to block him and she saw no need today. With everything else he was literally screaming “my feet hurt!” If our plan doesn’t work that will be the next step.
What’s the plan?
Shoes. She wants the toes cut off all around and steel put on. He can’t get full pads because he is so sore he won’t tolerate them. RF will get a pour in rear pad to offload the toe and spread the weight out more evenly. Eventually he should be able to get out of the pad. LF needs a frog support pad to raise that heel and correct the alignment. She doesn’t trust that a bar shoe will stay on and he barely has enough to shoe. If he rips it off we are screwed. He may never get out of a pad to the left but time will tell on that.
She gave him bute IV and wants him to remain on bute daily for the next week. Farrier is scheduled for this afternoon so hopefully the bute makes shoeing not too much of a torture session for the poor guy. No riding for the next week but she wants him out in pasture.
Next week I am to do ground work Monday and a light ride on Tuesday. In a different saddle which fortunately I have. If all is good then get the massage/chiro out and get a new saddle (my $200 Kieffer is too small for me but works for the short term). She doesn’t think chiro will help until after the feet are better since he isn’t walking normal. Same with the saddle really. Bad gait can make the saddle hit weird so no use getting a saddle fitting until he is sound.
I’m happy. I’m glad my gut wasn’t wrong that saddle fit and bad feet were the cause of this. I’m glad she liked him and he flexed fine. I’m glad it isn’t anything worse.
I’m sad that his feet suck so bad and that he lost so much hoof we couldn’t shoe for so long. I’m sad that I rode him when he hurt and I’m sad that we lost the entire summer to this.
But it could be worse and she told me she saw no reason we can’t be jumping our tiny jumps for years to come. I’m hanging on to that as we move forward.