Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Day 25 Part 2

Little Love was better this evening.  She actually sort of walked up to the barn, instead of hobbling and stopping and swaying back and forth.  The movement definitely helps her and I wish I could keep her outside in the pasture all night, but unfortunately Becky is gone and I can't ask her if that would be alright with her.  I'm sort of thinking it might not be, as she seems to be very careful about how long Col stays outside in the first place (he has been outside TONS now that Lilo has painful feet...) 

Once Little Love got to the barn door, she hovered there for a good ten minutes while I did some feeding etc.  She really doesn't like to walk on the barn floor, but she was motivated to get into her stall, as the shavings are soft.  Col was very supportive, going over to her and giving her licks and breathing over her face, but then backing up as if to say: "Come on, you can do it."  Here is a picture I took with my phone of the two of them. 

Once she got into her stall, Little Love started eating hay immediately.  A good sign, as last night she didn't exactly go at her food very eagerly.  All in all, I think she was better than last night or maybe I'm just hoping, the difference is not significant in any case.  Time just seems to be creeping forward as I know time will heel all this.  Yesterday was about a century long and today wasn't much shorter.  I'm sure Little Love feels the same.  But I just have to believe that this will end soon enough and she will be back to walking normally, without pain. 

I can't even imagine what this process would have been like, had I been at my old barn.  I would have had people yelling at me and accusing me of animal abuse and what not.  Luckily, even though there have been lots of questions by Becky's husband and the barn worker, neither one of them has told me that I'm insane and should not own any animals.  Which is helpful, as I already feel like shit on my own :-)  So, that's the bright side of things. 
Tomorrow is another new day.


  1. Good to hear she is moving better. Just looking at that picture, she looks like she is still curious, she hasn't lost her sparkle, and she is trying. That is very good! I hope you aren't going to give up so soon. It's only been a couple days. This is not a short process. And it still looks like she has quite a bit of foot left ;) Actually from that picture, her front right still looks too high in the heel.

    I still think it's not such a good idea to keep her in a stall overnight. She needs to be out in that pasture where she can move all the time.

    "Natural living conditions (24 hour freedom of movement, herd life, constant availability of food, daily exposure of hooves to water, etc.) plus a great deal of movement on ideal terrain are vital for rehabilitation. Under no circumstances must a horse be kept standing in a stall even overnight, because hoof mechanism is of absolute importance during the time of inflammation. Placing a freshly trimmed horse into a stall 'only overnight' while inflammation is still present in the hooves can be fatal for the animal. Also, tight turns, longeing, or turns on the forehand must be avoided, since the torque resulting from such movement will further destabilize the tenuous coffin bone suspension." The Hoofcare Specialist's Handbook: Hoof Orthopedics and Holistic Lameness Rehabilitation by Dr. Hiltrud Strasser, DMV & Sabine Kells
    (This is Dr. Strasser's Big Blue Book)

    I write this because it is soooo important.
    I am wondering if the trimmer discussed this with you? He should have.

    I also think it's not such a good idea to give her bute. There are lots of natural alternitives for management of pain and inflammation that work just as well or better without the side effects. Bute is really hard on the stomach and liver. It will only add fuel to the fire internally. She will be fine if she is out and allowed to move. She will not cramp up if she isn't confined. She has a lot of inflammation in her hooves, so walking on cement creates too much concussion and it's very painful. Boots will help her with that... as you said you ordered. :) But I would only use them on cement or pavement surfaces and for hand walking, not in the pasture.

    Is there a specific reason why Col has to be out with her? I realize that it isn't real "fair" that he would have to be kept in all the time, but if she has at least the option to come and go maybe?

    I hope that you and the trimmer have/keep an open dialogue about what is going on. I hope that he said it was fine to call any time you had a question and I hope he explains the reasons why he did what he did. I don't know what her feet look like, but I'm sure they aren't "gone". It's good to get advice and opinions from other people, but you are there, with that horse, and that trimmer. You need to have an open dialogue with him. He needs to support you and the horse. He is the one with the education and reasons for doing what he did. Ya know? I also don't know who he is, or what his education level is, so it's hard to say if you should keep with him or not (although it sounds like you have already made that decision :/ ).
    She is doing good and so are you. Don't give up! :)

  2. You are not insane or abusive.
    You are doing your best for Little Love and there is no doubt in my mind that she knows that :-)
    In the time I have owned Griffin, I have been through 9 different farriers. Every one of them but 2 have made my horse sore after a trim. One guy made poor Griff sore for almost 2weeks.! At that time, he was living at my friend's house on 24/7 turnout with a run-in shed. Griffin was so sore, he wouldn't come out of the shed for anything (his feed was in there and the dirt was soft). I was heartsick at how uncomfortable my poor horse was. It goes without saying that I did not call on this farrier again.
    Griffin is difficult to trim because he has long toes and low heels as well as contracted heels from wearing shoes during his years of racing ( and for the time he wore them before I became completely in favor of barefoot horses). Many trimmers have wanted to take his toes back very aggressively -- this makes him sore. Grif does much better with more frequent trims that are less invasive. One of the best trimmers I ever had for him was a lady who worked as an apprentice to another farrier for several years. She never went to any formal school and focused all her efforts on trimming barefoot horses. My only regret is that a forced move caused us to part ways :(
    Although I have heard of Dr. Strasser, I know very few specifics about her methods. Most people I've met really like her or dislike her. Personally, my favorite barefoot expert is Pete Ramey. He has done some amazing work with horses with all sorts of problems. I have also found his books fairly easy for a "lay-person in hoofcare to follow.... they make sense to me.
    At any rate, I try to evaluate my farrier's work by how he works with my horse, his interactions and confidence in his knowledge with me, and most importantly how my horse feels and moves after the visit. A trimmer that makes my horse sore -- especially after a couple of visits, is a deal breaker for me. I do not want my horse (who was previously sound & pain free) to associate pain (no matter how brief) with getting his feet trimmed. Any method that makes a horse MORE painful after the fact is too invasive, too quickly in my honest opinion.
    The good news is that Little Love should improve with time --- you just have to try and be patient & give her lots of love.. Giving her a soft place to be is most important. If the pasture is softer than her stall, then I would try to leave her out there...if she needs to stay stall bound overnight, some extra bedding in there should help her to be more comfortable until the pain lessens.
    If I were in your shoes, my next step would be to discuss her discomfort with your farrier and see if he is willing to adjust his trimming to make her more comfortable. I would then give him another try -- if she is as sore again this next time...I would seek someone else out.
    Just my humble thoughts :-)

  3. Gene Ovnicek and Jaime Jackson and Pete Ramey - all good schools of trimming.

    It's ok to be a little ouchy over stones after a trim, but it shouldn't be worse than that. You're trying to simulate natural wear - it shouldn't be like surgery.

    So glad she's beginning to feel better.

  4. p.s. not your fault! You did your research and picked the person who seemed best!

  5. I'm so glad Lilo is feeling better, tomorrow will be better too and so on. Keep doing what you're doing, she knows where you stand... you both will get through this. Blessings to you both.

  6. Oh...yes, and I have heard of Jaime Jackson too. He is also very good. I do not know Gene Ovnicek, so I will have to look him up :)

  7. Sorry, but I have to disagree with the first commentor on one point- if she's gimping in the pasture leave the boots on her, the pain isn't worth it. Keep her pain free so she wants to move around and that will do the most to help her recover. Pete Ramey often recommends leaving on boots for turnout and I've also had to leave boots on after my gelding got a nasty case of thrush. Just check for rubs.

    Oh, and fire that trimmer! A little soreness *might* be understandable but he put your mare in agony- not acceptable!

  8. Hi all, thank you for your support and helpful advice. I am doing what I can to help Little Love, but all of it is not in my hands. I'm trying to control what I can and do my best. This week has been the longest week of my life and undoubtedly Little Love's life as well. But we are getting through it one minute at a time. Sloooooowwwwllllyyyyy. sigh.