The trip start out badly with me losing not just my glasses, but my bank card as well. AWESOME! But we managed to get on the road on time. It was cold but not windy so that was good. Road were totally clear.
Sassy was not happy about being blanketed and trailered before breakfast, but I gave her a nice bag of hay to keep her busy.
We stopped about half way to give her a minute to walk around a stretch her legs.
We arrived 2 full hours early (not sure how we miscalculated so badly) and found ourselves sitting in front of the Farriers house while we waited for him to finish an earlier appt.
There was much grass in the barrow bit in front of his place, so Sassy got to do some grazing.
Finally the farrier, Steve Foxworth arrived. Now he asked me not to promote his name so much but to really promote ELPO Equine Lameness Prevention Organization. More on that later.
He watched her move, she was worse on the right than the left as expected. He read the vets notes, he looked at the xrays, and then said, "Now lets see what Sassy says that she wants."
He busted out his diagnostic tool. Oh let me say that he also had a very nice apprentice working with him named Ben..
|You can see it is wedged to the outside right now|
Here is how it works. They use the rubber straps to strap it on. Underneath is a rotatable wedge. They strap it on and then place the wedge where they want it. Then they put her foot down and see how she reacts. Then they lift her other foot and see how quickly she asks to put it back down. Then they switch the wedge 180 degrees and do it again. They do this over and over until they make the full circle.
What made this interesting to watch was that he didn't just gauge her reactions with her feet. He watched her entire body language. Was she holding her breath? Did she relax? Was she licking and chewing? Did she let her air out? Could he hold up the other foot with his fingers? All these things were noted.
So going off of what the xrays showed, he put the wedge to her toe first. We all expected her to tell us that it was very uncomfortable for her. We were all blown away when she said,, "Ya I'm pretty okay with this." So he went to the heel, and she wasn't too bothered by that either. then he went to the inside toe, and she said, "um no, I don't like this at all." Then he went to the outside heel, and back and forth all the way around. What he learned, or rather what she told us is that it is her outside heels on both feet that really bother her. The insides aren't so bad.
When he was all done, he gave me an option. We could shoe her exactly as the vet suggested, OR we could give her what she asked for. I went with option 2.
He said that rather than corrective shoeing per say, he wanted to "clog" her. I had never heard of it.
|These are after he has filed them to give her the most comfort|
I'll be honest, I had my doubts, but figured that Sassy knows what she wants or needs better than any of us, and with that tool, she told us, so we might as well give it a shot. Besides, I like anything that involves healing naturally over surgery, or nerve blocking and riding them until they have to be put down.
So then comes the question, doesn't that keep any air from getting to her frog? What about thrush, what about moisture and manure getting up in there?
Enter the "Magic Goop"
I wish I had gotten pictures of them putting in and the shoes on her, but I was busy holding her still. She was about tired of being messed with, and was ready to go back outside.
Here is the end result.
BUT THE RESULTS WERE AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So we take her out and just walked her around a little to let her get used to her new clogs. Then I took her and trotted her down and back. I heard the guys all say "wow" but I couldn't see because I was trotting her.
So Ben took her and I watched....she wasn't lame. She did not limp, she did not head bob, she did not short stride, she did not unload on the turns.
Oh My God! I swear I almost cried. I swear I am crying now.
We tried to move her in a circle but she was bucking and jumping and feeling good. She kept wanting to run and the ground was too slippery, but still she was moving out nicely. She has not moved out nicely in almost a year. It is not for her to get silly even when she hurts, but I could see the difference in how she moved for sure.
Yes of course I got video. But I have to upload it to you tube first, so it won't be ready until tomorrow. But I will post it.
He says to me, "I"m sorry but I think I ruined your horse." I almost hugged him.
Now here is what I want to say about ELPO. This whole experience that I just explained is what they do. The entire principle is based on what the horse tells you they need. Now he said that they don't always put clogs on horses, it just depends on what they say they need. Some horses get just a trim, some horses get those shoes for navicular, some horses get something completely different. It depends on the horse.
Sassy said she needed relief in specific areas and the clogs were the best way to give that to her. Also he says that the next time he sees her, these clogs will tell a story because of how they wear. It will show him exactly what he needs to do next. He believes that we can help her heal herself.
The thing I was most struck by was how he did not look at just one part of her, but he watched the whole picture. When he finished nailing on that second clog and put her foot down, she licked and chewed and then let out a huge sigh of relief. The look in her eye got softer, she was not in pain and it showed. I also watched him prep her for those nails. He held the clog up, tapped a few times and put her foot down. No nails, just getting her used to the feel. When she would let him tap totally relaxed, then we started nailing. I've never seen a farrier do that either.
He said, "If you take the time to take the time, then it takes less time."
I also like their apprenticeship program. It is a 2 year program. The first year is watching, helping, and hands on learning, the second year is more doing, and cultivating new clients. Steve said that he is so busy, he really isn't taking on very many new clients, so I am glad he accepted us as one.
This morning I went out to feed, and let her out to run around and roll if needed. She had a pretty couped up stressful day yesterday, and it was late when we got home. It is cold and windy today, and she was out there playing and bucking and rearing up. I watched her trot around and she is still moving quite nicely.
I was told I can go ahead and start her back on some light work. Since she hasn't been ridden in a year and only had maybe 30-40 rides on her then, we will start back at the beginning, but yeah baby, I am excited!
I will post some better pictures and the video tomorrow.
Oh also more good news, our offer was accepted on the place in AZ. Now it just has to pass appraisal and inspections!