Monday, 7 September 2009

Invisibility Cloak

Horse shoes are like Harry Potter's invisibility cloak, only not so useful and much more unhealthy. Horse shoes cover things up, but it doesn't mean they aren't there.

So Grace had her shoes removed last Thursday and each day as I pick my way through the rotten, stinking material that was formerly hoof I find more horrors.

Each foot has its own receipe of rot. The near fore, underneath a half cm of thick black goo, was sheltering a suppurating corn which has started to bleed. This explains why it is hard for her to hold up her other fore leg for very long. It is just too painful for her near fore to take her weight for very long. I have cleaned away the goo, left more heel than I would normally to keep the weight off the corn and dressed the bleed with some broad spectrum antibiotic. I will continue to clean and treat twice daily until it has healed.

Her off fore also has corns, but they are not yet bleeding. The amount of infection in both fronts, all previously under the shoes, is huge, but not as bad as the hinds. On both front I have rolled the feet where possible, to relieve the flares and start to bring the feet into balance. I am going to do this slowly as the poor girl is stuck between a rock and a hard place. The fronts of her feet are sore because of the flare and thin sole, the back of her feet are sore from the infections and corns. While it is horrible now, it will resolve. The faster I can clear the infection the sooner she will feel better.

The hinds are the same but much much worse. But although I know its bad, part of me feels it can't be as bad as it was because at least now she has stopped 'backing up' her bed and standing in her droppings. - Horses with foot/limb/back pain will sometimes stand with their hind limbs jacked up on a ridge of bedding to relieve the pain - and if they have an infection in their feet they will stand in urine or droppings because although long term this contributes to the problem, in the short term it provides a measure of relief.

Grace was incredibly sweet today. I took a punt and left her untied while I cleaned, disinfected and did a bit of trimming of her hooves. She made no attempt to wander off or resist at all. And this is the horse that was supposed to be a nightmare to handle?

I am working on her addiction to sugary things - so not all her food got eaten today because I halved the sugar content, but she did eat most of it. Normally any horse I managed would get no sugar at all. But such was Grace's condition that getting her to eat was the priority. Now she is a good weight, her teeth are done and she is settled, we can dejunk her diet.


  1. Yikes! Goes to show you that shoes can do more harm than good unless the horse absolutely needs them and they are maintained on a consistent basis. I'm sure if her's had been taken care of every four weeks like they are supposed to be, then her hooves wouldn't be turning to mush.

    But no use saying what could have been done. She sounds like she's coming along so much better. And with daily cleaning, like you said, everything should clear up.

  2. Did you see the picture of her hind where its just fallen away? That wasn't 'injury', that was were infection just ate away the hoof.