Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Off the Track Standardbred

I must admit before owning a standardbred I had breed discrimination.  Yes, I did.  I thought of this breed as big headed, clunky, plain, dull horses.  I misperceptions were changed when I first met the folks at New Vocations at Equine Affaire a few years ago.  They rehome off the track thoroughbreds and standardbreds.  My daughter was looking for a thoroughbred but I began talking with one of the volunteers and she told me a little about the standardbreds.  Some of the breed characteristics that make these horse such good riding horses is their trainability and tempernments.   They tend to be quick learners and willing.  They also have a good work ethic from their track experience.  They have been handled a lot and are used to lots of different tack, noises, commotion and seem to take new situations in stride.  When I got my stb mare she was 4 and had only a handful of rides but really never seemed to be phased with me sitting ON her instead of driving her!  She never even hinted at a buck or so much as a cow hop while under saddle.

My misperception of standardbreds are ugly and clunky were quickly dispelled when I began to look at the horses that were being rehomed.  They have the sleek look of an athlete and are generally sturdy, easy maintenance horses.   Even though my mare, at the track, had a 'reputation' of having small and bad feet she has never given me the least bit of indications that she has been sore or even tender on gravel.  I asked my farrier about this statement and wondered if he could see any indication as to why her former trainer might of thought this-- he said in his experience, harness racing farriers tend to trim very short- sometimes to the point of seeing blood.  I don't know if this is true but that was his comment.  I only mention this because the former trainer's statement could of really hindered her placement when the soreness could of been due to trimming styles.  She is barefoot and has been from day one.  No issues, other than her feet tend to grow more slowly than my other horses.    

They even come in an assortment of colors but bays and darker colors seem to be most common.  My mare is quite pretty with large, expressive eyes and a refined look to her.   She looks great in english tack.   I have her mane long and flowing.

People often assume that standardbreds only pace.  This is not so.  A true pace is very rough and hard to ride.  Even though my mare was a 'pacer', under saddle she has a very smooth 4 beat lateral gait that is very comfortable.  I am not well versed enough to know what the gait she does is called-- the 4 beat lateral gaits tend to flow on a continuum rather than be distinct like trotting and cantering and have lots of different names- single-foot, running walk, fox trot, rack and so on.  Because they can flow and vary I don't worry about what her smooth gait is called but just enjoy it.  I used to own a Tennessee Walker years ago and  was often frustrated because he needed to be trimmed and shod a certain way and ridden in a long shanked walker bit to encourage his smooth gait and even then it was hard to hold him in it because he would pace and it would about knock your teeth out!!   I don't have that problem with my standardbred even though she is barefoot.   I also have the advantage of being able to hold her in a trot.  I love this about her!  

My next step is to get her to canter under saddle.    That can be a little more of a challenge but certainly not impossible or even uncommon.  Many. many standardbreds learn to canter under saddle.  Its not that they CAN'T canter but rather they were trained not to. So it is often a matter of retraining and muscle memory.   When Remmy first came to me I made changes slowly because she had 'harness racing' muscles vs. riding muscles.  I started off my lots and lots of walking on a looser rein allowing her to stretch her head down and low.   We then began trotting up a gentle hill on loose contact to encourage building up her hindquarters and back.  A high head and tight rein is a signal to brace, pace and get hollow thru the back.  I did not want to reinforce that type of frame.

I also had to teach her leg cues and bending.  We worked on moving away from leg pressure and gave her the release of pressure as the 'reward'.  She caught on very quickly.   In the arena I have been working on moving her hindquarters in a pivot from leg cues and doing some lateral movements and bending.  She is so much more supple.   In the harness they don't bend.  :)   I ride in a snaffle while we do this kind of work.   To gait on the trail I ride in a broken short shanked curb bit.   My goal is to always work to lighter aids/bits.  

In the beginning I also rode with a crop only because that was something she understood from the track.  It wasn't used to hit her but rather to use to reinforce the leg aids she did not know about yet.  I no longer need to ride with it because she understands leg cues.

I should of started off by saying I am far from an expert on this subject but do enjoy my horse and have a better appreciation for the breed.  A huge number of these horses end up either as buggy horses (which should tell you something about their temperament) or at kill pen auctions.  I wrote this to just do my part in dispelling some myths about the breed.  The breed association has also done a very good job of organizing breed specific shows so there is that avenue as well although I know standardbreds are so versatile they could potentially end up in a variety of classes/events.  

If you have a standardbred retraining tip or photo please feel free to share in the comments or at my facebook page at


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Being Unconventional

Let's face it- some breeds are In and some breeds are Out.  We are a fickle group as a whole when it comes to what we like in our animals.  We like following trends and fads as far as breed type, color, riding style, training methods, tack, farrier methods and even horse care and housing.   There is a little bit of everything to please every personality type- from fast to slow, large to small, smooth movement to high steppers.   You can choose from curly coats to manes down to the ground, feathers to sleek, trim and lean to big and bulky or conservative to flashy and everything in between.

There is nothing wrong with personal preference per say but I like being unconventional.   Maybe its because I usually root for the underdog.  Or maybe its because I don't show my horses so I don't have to see things thru a judges eye.  I ride for pleasure and exercise at home and on the trails.  I have horses because I love being around them.  I love seeing them in my backyard and enjoy every aspect of caring for them.  I find them to be relaxing and therapeutic.   I have horse envy just like most red blooded horse owners do- I'm not saying I don't.  Sure, I would love a 17 hand  warmblood, a majestic friesian or a gorgeous gypsy cob any day!  I guess when I am asked what breeds I have and I answer - an arab,  a standardbred and an appy I realize my horses are not trendy and when I say those words they are not impressive to other horse people.     In fact my horses are of what some might consider to be on the Out  list.  We've all heard about ugly, big headed standardbreds.  To be honest that's what ~I~ pictured initially before I got my beautiful Remmy.   There are more horse stereotypes: Appys are bull headed and stubborn.  Arabs are hot headed and scatter brained.   Standardbreds are thought to be clunky and as close to an equine out cast as you can get but also completely unjustified.  

I like to look at horses like I like to look at people.  I don't like to lump a whole group of people and apply a label to them.  I think that is unfair and also so very limiting.  I like to remove labels and look at the individual.   All Amish do not have puppy mills or beat and starve their animals.  All gays are not immoral.  All Italians are not in the mob.  All Muslims are not terrorists.  I like to do the same with horses.  My appy is not a stubborn, rat tailed, evil horse.  In fact he is one of the most willing horses I have ever owned.  My arab is the ultimate babysitter and LOVES kids.  She is smart, personable and well behaved.  My standardbred is a fast learner and a great all around riding horse in a lovely package- sleek with a gorgeous head and big, soft eyes.   They do not fit the typical stereotype for their breed.  I am afraid though if I ever needed to sell them it would be more difficult because they are not in the IN crowd.

So I challenge you to not impose or promote the typical stereotypes - of people or horses!  Enjoy your unconventional views as an independent thinker who takes each individual at their face value, actions and character as it is presented in front of you.  Keep an open mind and you will be pleasantly surprised.  Some of the best horses come in plain brown wrappers and are overlooked because they are not trendy or flashy.   A big purchase price does NOT guarantee a good horse.  Develop your own 'horse sense' and be realistic about what you need.  And above all enjoy your horse!  I firmly believe the horses know when we enjoy them- truly enjoy them,  for what they are- not what we think they should be.  You can still challenge them to learn and grow as we challenge ourselves to do the same!   If the horse isn't doing it right it probably has a whole lot more to do with how it is told to the horse than anything else.  People are kind of like that too.  We like clear communication and time to process things.  Who wants to feel like they never measure up for things they have no control over?   Looks are only skin deep- Remember the saying, "A good horse is always a good color."?  There is a lot of truth in that!  And above all DO NOT trade in your old model for the latest trend unless you can be sure they are going to a good home.  The horse market is still brutal out there.  You may find a diamond in the rough if you just look at the outcasts with an open mind.

Happy trails!~~ Sue

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Saturday, June 1, 2013

Peace is.....

Create your own mind maps at MindMeister

I've been working on the Peace and Justice Committee at my church, Kidron Mennonite Church and found creating this mind map of members thoughts and comments to the question 'Peace is....'  be an interesting experience.  This is a visual of how peace is a combination of love, power, knowledge, choice and experience that can be expressed outwardly in our actions and internally with our intentions.  We can receive peace as a gift from God during a difficult time or as a nudging to re-align of our priorities as we live out our relationships in the home, work, community and in our views on our country and the world.  

Monday, May 27, 2013

What my horse has taught me....

What my horse has taught me:

Face fear head on. 

Fear is contagious so choose your company wisely. 

If you can feel calm in your body, your mind will follow.

Baby steps still move you forward.

Sometimes you just have to 'be' and not 'do'. 

Take time to 'chew' on the moments of clarity. 

Emotions can get the best of me.  Being in the right state of mind is everything!

Too much of anything is not good- except patience and love. 

If you think you can, you are almost there!

Good friends make everything better.

In a herd, there is always a leader and a follower and that's okay.  Understand your role.   

A bad attitude only gets you so far- (ponies being the exception)  

When you fall, brush off the dust and get back on. 

Enjoy the trail before you.  Ride the horse you are given.

What you 'think' you see may not necessarily be, so look twice before you jump to conclusions. 

The place between freedom and discipline is contentment.  

Always end on a good note!  ~~~~

what about you?  share in the comments what your horse has taught you!  

Happy trails~ Sue

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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Back Slidin' aka as Welcome To Spring

Back Slidin'

aka Welcome to Spring!

1.Back slide
4 up1 down
To continuously return to a prior state. Can be used to define an addiction or a relationship (or most horses come spring)

This definition was taken from Urban dictionary   Highlighted words are mine.  

Yes, I am experiencing a Back Slide in my own paddocks, pastures and riding ring.  I am speaking the truth so other horse people can know they are NOT ALONE.   We've been down this road before, sometimes annually, and we will be down it again (in the fall) but we WILL get to the other side!!  

If you have horses you know what I am talking about!  Those first few crisp, clear, invigorating days of spring that make us call off work, abandon household chores for barn chores,  disappear from our families and husbands to spend the day with our horses because we FINALLY have dry, clear weather to RIDE !!!  Our enthusiasm is not even subdued when we discover our usually well mannered steed is an absolute nutcase coming in from the pasture!  We don't care when we lead him in and his feet seem to defy gravity or that he appears to have forgotten every manner we have ever taught him - we forge ahead to our ultimate goal of riding!!  We soon discover every bit of training and handling our horse has experienced has slipped out of his equine brain.  He can, in extreme Backslidin' cases appear to have forgotten he is even domesticated!  Yes, it can get that bad with even the oldest, most well mannered, sway back, 20 something year old horse.   This, ladies is BACK SLIDING equine style!!  

Their is a scientific explanation for this phenomenon and why it happens in the spring (and fall).  

It works like an equation.     

Horses + Cool Temperatures +  Change in Atmosphere + tilt of the earth slightly off kilter < scent of lush grass \div \!\, fences + (stalls) x^2 ≠ a sane horse.  

This phenomenon is known to bring on wild horse delusions.  You've seen it- your horse snorts like a freight train, tail is straight up in the air and the distance between Point A (horse's feet) to Point B (the ground) increase exponentially the closer you get to the barn.   

Have no fear.  This condition does not last long-  85 degree weather and above is on its WAY!!    

Nothing slows down a fast horse faster than heat and humidity!!  

Stay tuned for the next blog post:  "You CAN Lead a Horse to water, Going Thru water is another story. "  

Happy Trails!  :)  

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Rehab Update- Navicular in Horses

Rehabbing a horse with navicular, navicular syndrome or whatever label you want to put on it, is not easy.  To say this has been a long and bumpy ride is an understatement.   You can read a previous post here on this same horse.

April 2012

Trying out a new farrier:  Hoping he is addressing the underrun heels and long toes,  Horse exhibiting heel pain, off and on again lame, short choppy strides, persistent thrush in spite of soaking, treating nearly every day for weeks and weeks....

Oct.  2013

Splash has gone from bad to worse.  He is now in excruciating pain after what I THOUGHT was a reputable farrier addressing my horse's hoof issues - long toes, low heels and heel pain, lameness (natural trimmer too nonetheless who professed to be an expert in the field).  This horse was in SO much pain I seriously considered the kinder thing to do would be to put him down.  I could not stand to see him in pain and felt things were beyond repair.  Thankfully we kept trying.  Keep reading!

fall 2012 

  In the above photo the left front has already been trimmed.  Splash was looked at by the former farrier just days before this photo was taken when I called to let him know the horse was in terrible pain and please come and look AGAIN at the long toes, low heels.  I fully expected him to come out and trim some toe off!!  Even my untrained eye knew this was not a 'balanced' hoof.  I was told it is fine- no problem with the trim.  He described the hooves as 'balanced' and said the vet who took the xrays showing negative palmer angles 'did it wrong'.  Whatever.   New farrier came and took these photos and trimmed as much as he could in one trim.  Splash was immediately more comfortable.  I had a glimmer of hope!!

Enter Lauren Michelle McGarry of Red Horse Equine Arts!  Lauren Michelle came to our rescue when the farrier who took the photos above was booked.  Even though LM lives a distance from me she was willing to travel and do what was necessary to give Splash his best shot at getting better.   LM could take you thru this process and give all the technical jargon of what she did with her trims.  I will spare you that and just encourage you to contact her directly and ask away!   I can say she was patient with Splash, who now was hard to trim due to sore feet and a fair bit of farrier anxiety!

Lauren Michelle helped me get Splash fitted with EasyBoots and pads.  He has been wearing them all winter as well as getting regular trims.  I had him on a supplement with natural anti-inflammatories from SmartPak called Rehab Pellets.  He also is on Joint Jolt.  

This is Splash in mid March:

coming in from pasture before his trim

after trim, with boots

after trim without boots

Splash is showing some soreness still in these videos although not a lot-- he typically does move a little off after a trim due to standing on 3 feet.   The trims usually take longer than what is normal, due to my farrier's trimming speed but also still overcoming Splash's inability to stand quietly with a hoof up for long periods of time.  I think it is partially a behavioral thing and partially a pain thing-- but the good news is he is getting better and better!  He is SUCH a good horse it is not in his nature to be resistant or pushy so I am not worried.  I see as we address the feet issue and he is pain free, the behavior improves.  

I took the photos and videos that follow today.

His heels have come WAY back since 9 months ago.

Even in this still photo you can see he is more relaxed thru his body and extending his foot more forward.
He is standing more square as well.  His feet are more under him.  At his worse, he would stand stretched out in what looked like a founder stance.  He had stretched white line with damaged lamini from the long toes in addition to heel pain from the low heels.  Poor boy!!! 

He is coming along.  More than being able to see changes in his hoof is being able to see changes in his movement and lack of pain.  SO grateful to see that.  

I did not have the heart to take video when Splash was lame.  It was hard to see him like that-- and for him to be lame more times than not.  I didn't want to record it but now I wish I had so I could show you the progress.  Believe me to see him making progress is such a relief!  

The video was filmed while Splash was boot and bute free!  I typically put Easy Boots on him but lately he seems to be doing well without.

PS- Please ignore the dog!  His favorite time is when the horses are turned out and he can chase them in the pasture- so he was annoyed they weren't going out to pasture- as was I AND Splash!  :) 

It does my heart good to see Splash buck out on pasture now.  We are seeing light at the end of the tunnel!! Lauren Michelle and I both feel he is going to be sound and recover from this 'man-made' terminal condition!

Happy trails!


Update:  June 22, 2013
Another farrier change has taken place.  Due to time and travel issues and the fact that Splash was not cooperating with LMM I had Mike Bagley come back and trim Splash.  Splash was developing a habit of pulling away from LM and making it difficult for her to trim him.  Sometimes this was due to pain but I could see now it was a becoming bad manners as he has been in less and less pain.  Splash was standing quiet for me to work on his feet, even untie and loose in the arena so I made the decision to not put LM thru struggling with him anymore and called the previous farrier who did a nice job on Splash to come back.  Mike works fast and handled Splash well.   I can see this is what this horse needed.  First time Mike was out he trimmed Splash in about 20-25 min.  Splash tried a couple times to pull away but didn't get away with it and very quickly stood nicely.

I am very pleased to say I have begun riding Splash as he is staying sound.  I rode him last week 3 x - trying to keep him at a walk for the most part so he can build back condition.  We have taken some leisurely rides on farm fields and country lanes.  Initially I can feel he has some tension and apprehension as we start off with somewhat choppy steps but is soon walking freely and with nice, long, relaxes strides.  I think he was in pain for so long he braces himself expecting to hurt so needs a bit to see it will be okay.   I can see Splash is enjoying himself too as the fear of pain goes away.  I am not asking for tight turns although I can see he is pivoting on his own at liberty which is very good.

This horse is one of those 'one-in-a-million' no spook, point and go, responsive and well behaved trail horses that everyone wants.  Whoever had him before me (I got him out of a kill pen 3 years ago) put some time into his training.  He is very well trained- rides light and responsive but not at all hot headed or pushy in any way.   That is one of the reasons the 'farrier issue' of not standing did not make sense from an over all look at this horse and his way of being.  He is one of the most willing and sweet horses to ride and handle otherwise.  I ride out alone and even with no riding in over a year I could hop on and go back on our old stomping grounds.  He has been worth the effort to get him comfortable!!   My plan from this point is to continue slow and steady and get him back physically in condition as much as possible.  I have no doubt years of hoof pain have taken a toll on his joints so I have him on a good joint supplement too.  I am continuing to hope for the best!

Finding the Good in a World of Trouble!

During a week of tragedy, violence and fear I have to remind myself there is only so much I can control.  I used to get quite consumed with fear when our world events would take a turn like it did this week with the explosion at the Boston Marathon.  I would become quite overwhelmed with the hurt and pain in this world and end up fighting depression.   It is one of the side effects for me as a 'sensitive' person.  I FEEL things deeply.   It is where my art, empathy and compassion come from but it is empathy and compassion on steroids  I have had to find ways to cope so that I am not dragged down by the terrible things that happen completely out of my control.   

My heart goes out to all the injured, traumatized people and those who lost loved ones at the hands of such senseless, malicious acts.  I also am so grateful for the bravery and compassion that has been shown by so many.   So many heros in a time of trouble!   I am writing this blog to remind myself, and others like me, who tend to get overwhelmed at the volume of  violence and hatred in our world that one thing I can control is looking for the good, amongst the bad.  I can get swallowed up in the media coverage which tends to focus on fear and begin to feel powerless or I can find ways in my life to see the good in life, in spite of the bad. 

One of my favorite verses from Romans 12:21 reminds me what to focus on.    
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
another favorite verse John 16:33
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

I am now working in a pediatric physical therapy dept. I witness, every day, children with mountain sized obstacles, working thru their challenges.  This past week was not only tumultuous in the larger world but in the therapy gym as well.   I see these kids battle debilitating muscle disease, birth defects, injury, illness, autism, mental and emotional disabilities and physical abuse wounds to mention a few all day long.  They fall, literally and figuratively, but get back up to try again.  Success is not always measured by 'our standard' of success because sometimes, often even, it comes in tiny baby steps but it is awesome to see.   My job, on the hierarchy of status is pretty low as a rehab aide but I thoroughly enjoy being a part of the support staff.   I feel my job is vitally important in a smooth running therapy program so I give it my all.  I can do no less when I see the kids working so hard.   I am in a work environment in which we encourage each other and look for the good in spite of challenges and pain.  This is such a gift we can give to each other and it does not cost a penny.  This is what you can control in your world.  You have the control and power to look for the good in yourself and each other and encourage the 'try'.   The good is there in spite of the evils of this world.

I had this old favorite song rattling around in my head by Todd Rundgren as I began to write this blog.  It is very fitting I think to share here.  Enjoy your victories, no matter how small and see the good in others too.   These small tries add up to something amazing in the right time.  

Just one victory!  

If you don't know what to do about a world of trouble
You can pull it through if you need to
And if you believe it's true, it will surely happen
Shining still to give us the will
Lyrics from <a href=""></a>

Sow Peace and Love in Your World and Watch it Grow into Something Amazing!   

Boston our prayers are with you.  Much Love to all!!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Horse-y Rehab

Splash didn't give up either.  

Rehabbing a Navicular Horse 

Anyone out there in this situation?  Do you have a horse that has been diagnosed with heel pain, navicular syndrome, navicular changes, or just plain ol' navicular?  If you do,  I feel for you!!!   I have been on quite a twisated, convoluted journey with my rescue horse.   I welcome your comments and sharing of your story.  This process is not for the faint of heart! 

My intentions in writing this blog post is not to offer technical advise.  If you are anywhere on this same journey you have likely already been offered plenty, often conflicting, technical advise.  I am here to hopefully give you some tidbits of advise but more so offer support and encouragement.  I want to tell you first about my horse.  

I got this big, beautiful appaloosa gelding sight unseen from a 'rescue' that took in donations for horses  in kill pens, thru facebook and then looked for people willing to provide homes.  I know, I know-- most definitely NOT the smartest way to get a horse but I was willing to take a chance.  I did find out later (surprise, surprise) that this particular 'rescue' had quite the scam going on.  Would I do it again, minus the scam part?  Financially, it was not bright at all since this free horse has been anything but free.  I would do it again though for this horse. I also was in the position of owning the barn and land so I did not have the added expense of board.  He is one of those special, heart of gold horses and because of that I soldier on.  I encourage you to hang in there with your horse and hope and pray it gets better for you too.  

I won't go thru all the boring details of what we tried over the last 2 1/2 years and all the conflicting information professionals, or auxiliary horse health care support people gave me as I tried to get this boy sound.  All I can say is it was beyond frustrating.  My horses live in my backyard.  First thing I do every morning when I get up is look out in the pasture to check on them.  I have owned and cared for horses on my property for 20+ years so I am not a 'newbie' to horses.  I can tell, even from this distance if my appy was hurting or not that day just by his stance and that flavored the rest of the day.  He had varying degrees of pain- sometimes he was almost sound and lived a pretty decent life.  We even had several good months in which I could do light trail riding on him.  But as time went on, and the under lying problem in the angle and shape of his hooves were not addressed, he got progressively more sore to the point I honestly wondered if it was fair to him to keep trying.  I was seriously thinking maybe euthanasia was the kindest thing.  Neither one of us could take this chronic pain.  For a horse, and Splash is a stoic guy, to be in chronic pain, is not any kind of quality of life.  The help I was getting with my farrier at the time had us heading in that direction.  I have never professed to be any kind of an expert on hooves and put my faith in people who do that for a living.  I don't want to get too far into a farrier discussion because I liked all my farriers as people and think they were trying to do the right thing but why is the right thing SO difficult when it comes to these navicular issues?   

One thing almost everyone agreed on who looked at Splash's feet told was that his condition was a man made one.  He came to me with long toes and under run heels.  At that time he was slightly 'off' and pretty much beat up but he traveled who knows how much on his way to the kill pen.  He continued to be slightly off and my farrier at the time worked (or so I thought) on correcting the long toes.  

 Splash and a friend- during the good days


Fast forward now 3 farriers later, all supposedly working on the long toes and under run heels my horse was in serious pain.  I switched farriers again and had someone out who made some pretty significant changes with his now even longer toe and we saw immediate relief but Splash was still a long way from sound.  At least now euthanasia was put on the back shelf.  This farrier had an illness and death in family just as my my schedule changed so we missed each other for a trimming appt. and so I got off his schedule.  I needed someone again in a hurry.  

I had been in touch with Lauren Michelle of  Red Horse Equine Center and she was willing to come out and help.  Bless you Lauren Michelle!!  She walked into a mess-- Splash now at this point was not an easy horse to work on.  His feet were sore enough he had trouble standing for a trim and what was and is a naturally calm, quiet and willing horse was a problem to trim.  In my good conscience I could not see 'correcting' or punishing Splash for not standing due to pain but we needed to work on him.  It was a challenge to say the least.  It has been a pleasure seeing Splash improve not only physically but mentally as Lauren Michelle and her gentleness and persistence keeps us moving toward healing.   

Lauren Michelle has been reshaping his hooves since the fall of 2012 and we have seen a consistent improvement.  No more of this one step forward and two steps back stuff we dealt with for way too long!!  Lauren also helped me get a pair of easyboots with pads to get Splash moving and restructuring his feet.  In order for him to heal from the inside out he needs to walk heel first and the boots are helping that be possible.  We are seeing light at the end of the tunnel and I am SO grateful!!!

What this experience has taught me is that 

1.  Navicular is an elusive, mysterious condition!  I say that somewhat tongue in cheek because I am sure there are people out there that are knowledgeable about it but the knowledge as of yet has not filtered down to the general horse care population in any kind of consistent standard of care.  Thank goodness most doctors don't operate in the same way some of the  professionals I dealt with did in Splash's case.  I hope for more than a hit and miss treatment when I get sick or hurt.  And it goes without saying each direction takes time, money and energy to pursue.  As you are pursuing one direction that ultimately does not work, you are also creating more damage which takes the new way longer and harder to figure out.  In other words you keep digging your hole deeper.    

2.  The diagnosis process for any of the conditions that go along with heel pain or intermittent hoof lameness in horses is also pretty elusive and mysterious or was in this situation!   I was spoiled a few years ago when I lived in another area and had a long time equine vet I really liked and trusted.  I could go to him and know he would be honest and fair.  I was not taken on rabbit trails or given conflicting information from vets out of the same office!  

3.   Even though this has been an exercise in frustration I am thankful I could do it for Splash.  He makes it worth the effort.  It has also made me think of all the people and horses in situations in which they may not have the time, money, energy or help with their horse with 'man made' hoof issues.  This journey has also opened my eyes to how a naturally quiet, obedient, gentle horse can be virtually destroyed.  In the wrong hands this messy journey could of been SO much worse- but then how much worse can it get for a horse that WAS in a kill pen?  How many horses like Splash end up in kill pens not getting out because they are 'off'?  

4.  I have a deeper understanding and sympathy for people who have pets and horses that suffer big life events and things change in their lives so they can not do what they may have always done.  In the midst of re-habbing Splash, our family had a particularly difficult personal situation.  To have a special needs horse in the middle of this was, to be perfectly honest, a huge added stress to an already very stressful time.  To be dealing with this horse's chronic pain and treatment issues in addition to trying to care for myself and family in a difficult period of our lives was at times more than I could handle.  And the options for what to do with a horse like this if you can't care for them are not pleasant.  The only option I could see was either for me to do what I can and when I can't it would have to be euthanasia.  Who else would do what I am doing?  I could not put Splash thru anymore pain, neglect or trauma.  Seeing the horse in pain and not getting anywhere really dragged me down emotionally too.*  That did not help with the pain and stress already there.  Thank goodness he is not in pain any longer.  I felt an immediate lift when I could look out my window into the pasture each morning and NOT see him in pain.  

* For this reason I would think long and hard before I took on another re-hab horse.  With all things being equal and not factoring the financial aspect, emotionally dealing with this is draining.  I guess that is not encouraging- the purpose of this blog- but it is realistic.  Again, if you are in this situation I feel for you and your horse.  Lauren Michelle was a blessing to us also because she was non-judgmental but kept the hope alive.   

We have a goal we are shooting for now with Splash.  I have an out of state friend who is possibly  interested in Splash.  My husband and I will likely be downsizing into a smaller home in the next few years and I will need to rehome all but one horse, which I will board.   My hope and prayer is that we can get Splash 100% sound by spring.  I think it is within our reach because he is doing SO much better under Lauren's care.  She has helped me treat him holistically, helping with minerals and supplements and things are definitely looking up.  Splash is a wonderful trail horse- obedient, calm and unflappable out alone or in a group.  I would like nothing better than to know he is being loved and fussed over by my friend as they enjoy each other's company and take leisurely, relaxing trail rides and camping trips.      

Easy Boots Make Me Happy!

Friends Help!

Best wishes to all who travel a similar path!   I sincerely hope you are able to find relief for your horse's aching feet!  Keep up the good work and if it is not to be, then know you did the best you could in a bad situation.  

thanks for stopping by!!