|My handsome boy - photo enhanced.|
My darling Red boy turned 18 yesterday. To celebrate, I brought him a whole bunch of carrots, his most favorite treat in the world. Then, we went for a ride through the oodles of deep, wet snow (courtesy of a major winter storm which dropped well over a foot of the white stuff over two days, with another just starting as I type this - where, oh where has spring gone??).
|Eating his carrots as fast as I was willing to give them to him!|
|What most of our ride looked like - gray skies and endless snow. What you can't see: some of the drifts were almost belly deep!|
|A brief glimpse of blue sky! Hooray!|
|K. and Amigo strike a pose.|
|Look at that grin! As long as we're out on our ponies, nothing much can get us down.|
|Showing excellent form while crossing the barriers.|
Coming home, he took a couple of bad steps on the gravel road leading back to the barn, but then seemed totally fine the rest of the way. His feet, along with everyone else's, are pretty soft right now, since they're living in a mixture of slushy snow and mud. I'm not using boots yet, as our rides are still in the deep snow, except for the short bit to and from the barn. So, I was (am) hoping he just stepped on a rock. However, by the time I was untacking him, he was "resting" his right front hoof. Horses don't "rest" their front feet, so this was definitely out of the ordinary. I couldn't find any heat, swelling, or palpable pain in the leg anywhere, and so turned him back out with the herd while I saddled up Rhio for his turn.
|What we wish we had to ride on (this is a plowed road, hence it's bareness)|
Returning an hour and a half later with Rhio, I observe Red standing in the pasture "resting" that right front. Ok, I'm now totally convinced there's a problem, and when he's in his stall having dinner, I go over him again looking for anything amiss. I'm really wishing I had a set of hoof testers, but after a second round coming up with nothing, I'm fairly certain he's either deeply bruised that hoof, or in fact is brewing an abscess in there. In the 11 years I've had him, he's never had an abscess before. But I guess there's a first time for everything.
|Rhio refusing to cross the barrier (photo enhanced)|
I gave him some Bute for pain and inflammation, and he and Rhio got to spend the night cozied up in their stalls. This morning, the leg and foot still look absolutely fine, but he was still mildly favoring the leg. The sun was shining for the first time in over a week, and it was not yet windy (the latest storm has just started as I sit here typing), so I turned him out for the morning, planning to come back and ride Rhio in the early afternoon and reassess Red at that point.
When I came back, I wimped out of riding as the sun was already hidden behind thick, snow-laden clouds, and the wind off the lake was whipping all the horses' manes and tails around fiercely. Red was still lame on the leg, so both he and Rhio came in to their stalls (out of the wind - and with hay - they weren't complaining at all!) and I washed his foot, then wrapped it up with a poultice pad. This should help draw out any possible abscess, and I will leave it on until tomorrow. Then, we'll see how things are going. Poor guy - what a way to celebrate a birthday, by having a sore foot.
|Duct tape, vet wrap, and poultice pad.|
|Nice clean foot (needs a trim, though)|
|Poultice pad and vet wrap on, now to encase the whole thing in multiple layers of duct tape.|
|Done! A nice little duct tape bootie.|