My horse's feet are just not happy campers and I have not been able to figure out why. The area around the outside of the hoof is called the hoof wall and that's been very weak and splitting and breaking off and getting big cracks. I tried putting conditioner on her feet because they've been so dry but that almost seemed to make it worse. So much worse in fact that when I was riding her (in the arena which doesn't have the best footing but isn't like concrete or gravel) a piece of her hoof wall just chipped right off. I filed it down as best I could so there were not jagged edges, but it was a small fix.
The farrier came today and I told him that Maiden always walks around like her feet are sore and filing them down so that they're not so long and flaring (like they get between the typical 6-8 week span between trims) doesn't seem to do any good to stop the soreness. I told him Trainer K. said having shoes would help because her feet are so weak and with the little bit of research I'd done I was prone to agree. But once he looked at her foot he said she had a serious fungal infection that had caused the soles to be too spongy and weak and when he cut off the top lawyer to expose the white line (the sensitive part under the hoof wall - kind of like your cuticles - you could see little tiny pebbles that had punctured and gone through the sole and were squished into the white line. So, I couldn't see them when I cleaned her feet because they'd gone through the sole like a sponge, but she could feel them like a sliver under one's fingernail every time she walked. Aaaaagh! Poor Maiden!
I asked how long she could've had it and he said it could've been coming and going for as long as I'd had her or longer. In fact, he said that the little pebbles getting in there where the white line is could cause abscesses. Which makes me wonder if that's why her feet were so absecc ridden when she was seized in the criminal neglect case a few years ago. It's not an obvious thing it sounds like so it could've just gone unnoticed for a long time. He said he could only tell today because it's been so dry there is no way a horse's feet could be as spongy as hers. So, it's five weeks of Thrushbuster medicine every day and then we'll go from there. And no shoes right now because he said I need to be able to get in there and clean thoroughly every day and get the Thrushbuster into every crack and crevice every day. Plus, he's afraid with the way the hoof wall is crumbling right now and how cracked it is, that nails will separate the white line even more. So we'll revisit in five weeks after treatment. And he said to watch and see if she become less tender after things start to clear up because she won't have the pebbles up inside her feet. The worst part was picking up a piece of hoof he had trimmed off and showing me where there was a hole (which was only visible from the underside) then showing me her hoof where there was an obvious pebble crushed into the white line. Ouch!
I'm hoping we're on the right path for her and that her feet will be feeling better soon. She's been an awfully good sport despite all that's been going on with her.
I had to call to make a doctor's appointment for myself this morning (which I never did because I was on hold for so long and then I had to leave so I just hung up ...) and this song was playing on the hold music and now I'm wishing I still had my old Styx Grand Illusion album from sixth grade. Yes, I know it wasn't on that album. Wondering if it would be a bad idea to download a bunch of Styx on iTunes or if that's just another nail in the coffin of my punk rock cred. (sidenote: the older I get the more it never ceases to amaze me that I continue to realize how much more fun I could've had if I just had never worried about being "cool")