Hi, I'm Ev. I'm training to become a horsewoman. These are my adventures and misadventures. I'm green as hell, but so far, so good. I'm now learning from Bo (and sometimes his wife DeDe) at D&D Ranch in Pope Valley. I am extremely lucky to have this opportunity, I feel quite blessed, and I feel that they, and horses, have really turned my life around.
Solomon is my baby- a big old flea bitten grey Appendix gelding who is very kind and way too smart! I love him so very much. He is a rescue and was meant to be co-owned rehabbed, and maybe rehomed to a good home. He turned out to be over 25 years old with injuries that ultimately do not make him riding sound, so he is retired.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Well today Solomon got to meet a very nice farrier. The farrier said that he didn't really NEED a trim, but we decided between us to just give him a little touch-up so that a) he might not chip his feet quite as badly, and b) people wouldn't be asking "why aren't you getting your horse's feet taken care of???"

He actually has a horse of his own who is barefoot, and he doesn't really trim her feet all that often. He says that with a barefoot horse, you really don't need to trim every three weeks, or even every six weeks if the feet don't need it. He also says that when a hoof chips, it'll grow the chipped bit back faster, and a little stronger.
Looking over Solomon, he said that he has had some pretty nasty injuries. A number of people have told me this, and have been surprised at how sound he is. He's a tough old guy. The more people I talk to, the more I'm convinced that his right front hoof was NOT injured by him kicking it with his shoe. Everyone from the vet to the farrier to the new barn owner says that it looks like he got his foot caught in a barbed wire fence and just about ripped it off. It's the LEFT front that he was showing a bit of soreness in when the vet checked him out, though I haven't seen any sign of it. Of course, I haven't made him canter on a 10 foot lunge line either. The thrush from his left front is gone though, and that might be helping a lot. The old rear left tendon injury (maybe also from a fence?) also seem to not be bothering him. I massage his legs and ankles every day anyway though, and I have some liniment gel on the way from horse.com.
He seems to like the massage- usually he dozes off when I do it. I have jokingly started to call him "The Narcoleptic Horse" because whenever we stop walking for a moment inside the barn he closes his eyes and sort of nods off a bit, with his lip hanging down. He doesn't act sick, just... really relaxed. Well, that's a good thing, I think!
I also heard some seriously disturbing things about the old barn. I don't really feel comfortable going into it in a really public forum, but I'll just say that I'm really REALLY glad we moved.
So, pictures.

I will get a side shot sometime, to show you this tendon injury better. It's probably from a fence or something.

Here is the really nasty old injury, which amazingly does not seem to bother him at all now. The vet saw no signs of soreness or lameness on this foot, though it looks like it was just about ripped off in the back there.

This lump on his inner thigh concerns me, though I think it has been there for a good long while. He is a grey horse, so it may well be melanoma. The idea I get from horse people in general is that if it doesn't change much, to leave it alone. Trying to remove it seems to often make it spread, whereas leaving it be seems to not cause as much trouble. I will be asking the vet about it though, and I'll be watching it to see if it changes. It's currently hard, on the surface of the skin, not stuck to the muscle, and dry. The other bit of good news is that while greys are more prone to melanomas, it also seems that the melanomas that greys get are often not as malignant as they are in other horses. This is what I have read- any bit of personal input or ideas from horse people are quite welcome.

Pre-trimming feet, sorry about the blurriness of the first pic- I had the setting on the camera wrong.
Front feet.

Back feet.

That chip had me concerned, though it is apparently not really a big deal. His feet haven't really grown out all that much, which is probably good, because he probably won't need to be trimmed constantly. What the farrier and I decided on what that I'd have him take a look at Sol's feet in a month or so when he's out next, and he'll advise me on whether or not he needs trimming. We're never going to do hardcore work, just short, gentle rides once in a while, so he'll probably be fine. And of course if Solomon shows any signs of soreness or lameness, he won't be ridden. I'll be monitoring his health, and I'll have more experienced people monitoring him as well.

Post trim:

I wish I'd gotten the other side of his blond hoof to show you that we did leave a bit of a gap (there really wasn't enough hoof there to trim off the entire chip)so that part of the hoof will hopefully grow in faster and stronger.

The farrier also advised me to find nice horse people who will be willing to help me learn for free, and to not fall into the training game and spend thousands on this or that training. I, for one, WILL pay for training if it turns out there's a problem that I can't manage on my own, because I do want him to have the best possible future should something bad happen to me. I am not, however, going into showing or competitions, so I really don't need a ton of training I can't afford. Riding lessons I will do, but I really don't think that Solomon SHOULD be doing anything too intense. He's an old guy and he has some old injuries that are not a problem now, but I want to KEEP it that way. A little exercise is good, a little light riding is also good because it'll keep him in shape and help him with discipline, but his well-being is way more important to me than being able to participate in any sport.

Heh, well that was actually a bit of a rant, but you get the picture! We'll do what's safe for him to do, nothing more.

Also, my friend with the English saddle couldn't make it out today. Maybe tomorrow, which is my birthday, by the way. I'm turning 29!


fadetopurple said...

Holy crap. That is DEFINITELY a wire cut or a similar injury. No way he did that to himself with a shoe. It wouldn't wrap halfway around like that.

The chip in his hoof was just from self-trimming. It looks ugly, but it's not taking anything off that they can't stand to lose. This is why horses left neglected in pastures for years don't develop slipper feet.

Happy early birthday!

Evergrey said...

Why thank you Fade! Glad to hear from you, BTW, I was wondering if you were ok. Heard you might have been ill?

I didn't realize how bad it was when I first saw it, because I just have a lot of ignorance to work through, and he really doesn't act like it bothers him, though he did get a little nervous with the farrier. The farrier said it wasn't bothering him, but Sol was kind of worried, and testing his authority a bit.

It'll be interesting to see how his feet do long-term without shoes. If he starts to go lame I will of course consult with the vet and the farrier to see whether or not they think shoes would help, though this farrier says he thinks barefoot is best.

Willow said...

Hey, my rescue mare, Willow has the same injury to her left rear hoof. She also has melanomas under her tail, a common spot for grays to have them. She is 28 and they don't seem to bother her. Happy Birthday.