Sometimes things you see or read bring about scary realizations. I have been trimming hooves for almost nine years. It is an awesome thing to see changes come about from work you have done. You learn about each horse you work on and figure out their own quirks. During that time I have seen some weird hoof sights, but while some have worried me, only one has SCARED me.
Seven weeks ago I went to the old barn to trim Jenna, the appy mare, on a fairly warm day. Even after years of working on her hooves, I still feel like she is not where I would like her to be. Unfortunately, I have to battle her bad health and an owner who still feeds her sweet feed. Jenna has already had a laminitis episode and should be living on dry lot. Now that we are not living at that barn, I don't know how often she is out on grass, but since Winston foundered while wearing a muzzle, I think even a little time is too much. So I went about her trim like normal and soon became wary.
Her front feet soles were not a normal color. They were peachy once the dead sole was removed. I did not like it at all. That right there scared me. I had no idea why they were like that, but I had a feeling it was nothing good. I finished the trim and felt her feet. To me they seemed warm. So not good. I left a note telling her owner that she may want to keep her off the grass and watch her closely.
Not long after I saw this picture on Facebook.
Can you guess what came to mind? Yep Jenna. Her sole look like that on one front foot and has always bothered me. Add in the coloring and it hits all the points. Subclinical Laminitis, sounds about right.
I went back last weekend and hoped to see an improvement. I guess her owner kept her off grass for three weeks and now only lets her out with a muzzle once a week. I held my breath as I picked up her hoof... and found the coloring was more normal. Her sole is still a bit dropped, but that is something she has had for a while. I think she dealt with some pain, because she grew a fair amount on her back feet, which means she puts her weight back a lot. This is not a horse being ridden and working off her back end and she does not normally grow that much hoof in the back. So although her hooves were better, the signs of a continuing issue are still there. I told her owner to continue to restrict her grass time. If only she would stop feeding her the sweet feed, that would help so much. That is a battle I fought before and could not break through her archaic thoughts about feeding. This is the point where I have to do what I can and let God watch over her the rest of the time.
And to break the serious mode, so far one mare still has not come back into heat. Over the next week, two more will be due to come in and we will see what happens. Roscoe gets to have a break and just watch over the mares.