Phew! What A Load Off

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.

Surveying his new world

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.

He had no clue what was going on but was a Very Good Boy through it all

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.

They kept calling him the “Happy Appy” Better than Doofus I suppose

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.

I see you!!! His eye is ever on me

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.

He really was a super cute mover this morning. He thought about being sassy a few times but wasn’t dedicated enough to the effort

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.

Appy style zoomies

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.

Of note, Big Man lets it all hang out all the time. So much that the vet told me I need to start using sun lotion on his manly bits to avoid skin cancer. I mean I knew it was a risk but maybe put it away big guy.

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.

Unrelated, Waggy came home this weekend finally. She is likely going to lose her leg but I’m still too messed up over that to talk about it. It is good having her home though.

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.

43 thoughts on “Phew! What A Load Off”

  1. Oh man, big sigh of relief! I’m so glad that your gut was right too and that there’s not anything worse than that! Not that it doesn’t suck for sure, so I’m really crossing my fingers that those shoes will stay on. I’m so sorry about Waggy 😦 ❤


  2. Huge sigh of relief! Happy for you and the big fella. I love his eye on you in that photo. What a sweetheart. I’m sad, too, and so sorry to hear about Waggy. But she’s still young and if it comes to losing the leg she’ll hardly remember life any other way. Thinking of you, Sara! ❤


  3. oh man, thank god for answers!!! what a relief that everything was basically in line with exactly what you expected – and that the vet was able to add some specifics to formulating a solid plan going forward. good luck with getting him feeling all good again in the weeks to come!

    also yay for Waggy coming home too, even if the situation still isn’t fully resolved. she looks just as happy and relieved to be home too ❤

    unrelated: i did another two hours volunteering as a jump judge yesterday to close out september. thanks!


  4. Whew! Even though it all came down to “things you already knew,” it is great to have that peace of mind and to have a real plan going forward. A Barefoot horse, he is not! hahaha


  5. OMG you never bother me. I was just pissed my internet went down LOL! and poor Waggy but she will be fine if she ends up three legged. I have seen so many dogs in my life that run just as fast on three as four legs. As long as she is around.

    And LOL on Eeyore wanting to be an inside pet 🙂 HA dont we all. I am still waiting for Remus to bang on the front door one day 🙂 HA

    i am glad you have a plan of action!! YAY. Poor delicate hot house flower Doofus 🙂 I Mean Eeyore!


  6. So glad it’s something fixable! And probably a good thing to of peeked at his feet with X-rays so your farrier has a good basis to go off of 🙂 And if you ever need to borrow a saddle on your way to finding one for Eeyore please let me know! I have a couple around here that might help you out (if your small Kieffer starts to annoy you or stops fitting bc he’s changed again)


  7. Glad you have answers and that it’s fixable! Love H’Appy too omg!

    Sad about Waggy, but we had a three legged dog growing up and she was so so happy and didn’t care or even seem to notice. Certainly didn’t stop her from running around the property and stealing a steak off the counter..


  8. You might find when he is better through the back from the new saddle his pee pee goes away.

    Horse’s that hang them out a lot are often suffering from back pain (it is a key indicator for my boy).


    1. Huh. Never knew that. Thanks for sharing! He has done that since the day I brought him home but his seller was using a MW saddle which was very much too narrow. Even my wife Thorowgood ended up not working and making it worse. I’ll be interested to see if it goes away once his back feels better.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Neither did I until recently. It would always come out when saddling and I’d think to myself, well that’s good he’s nice and relaxed.

        The biomechanical specialist I have working on him mentioned it and I was surprised. Now the more I watch the more I only see it when he’s uncomfortable.


  9. I am so relieved that it wasn’t more serious. I am so sorry about Waggy Tails. I was wondering how she was doing. But I have seen quite a few 3 legged dogs and I’m happy that she’s still with you.


      1. I was laughing out loud at myself struggling to get Bell boots on him after the farrier left. They kept sling shotting off and bouncing down the barn aisle. They better stay on after the effort it took!


  10. Whew, I am so glad to read this! Overall really good news! ❤ to you about Waggy. I totally understand still feeling sick about a net positive outcome.


  11. Oh hi fellow terrible hoof sufferer. I think we’re experiencing similar things only Gwyn is the most stoic ever (TM) and doesn’t tell me if she’s ouchy. So I only have my farrier panicking when he comes out to trim.

    Grrr. It’s frustrating. I SO very much empathize right now.


    1. I had no idea Appy feet sucked. I ruled out all OTTBs due to the fear of and feet. Karma is a bitch. I commented on your post but I think it may have gotten eaten. Did it come across? If not I’ll go re do it


  12. Happy to read some good news! You’ll become an expert bell boot putter oner and will soon have your favorites. I found anything gum colored to stretch better than black (fyi). Subi lived in bell boots for years. I don’t miss those days but I do miss those days. lol


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