As I continue down this incredibly rocky road with Sassy, I question everyday, my own sanity. Why am I still pumping time, money and heart ache, into this horse?
She seems better, then worse, then better, and then worse again.
I'm not 100% positive but I think my barefoot trimmer gave up on me the day I told her I was working on my own horse in between visits. She sent a text asking how she was doing, I told her she was sore and I was headed out to work on her, she asked what I was doing and I told her. She had so much toe callus she was parking out in front and hobbled even on soft dirt. I took off what ever toe callus was able to slough off easily and then took the advice of someone who I trust, and took her heels and bars down a little as well.
When I was done she was yawning and licking and chewing and generally much happier. So I took that as good sign. I told the trimmer what I had done, and I have not heard back since. I don't know if that means she is done with us, or if she has just been busy. I guess time will tell. Somewhere out there, there has to be a barefoot trimmer, who not only understands what I am trying to accomplish, but one who promotes owners having hands on experience with their own horses.
Every so often I go back and file off a little more. The problem is that she is walking on live sole 24/7. I don't know how to fix that. Yesterday I had the new farrier come and put Killian's new shoes on, and had him go ahead and trim Sassy up a little more. I'm not unhappy with the job he did, I'm totally indifferent. The reason being, that it doesn't appear to be much different than what I have already been doing. I suspect that is because her feet are so jacked up there isn't much too be done. I think he did take the heel down just a tad more and it seems as though her frogs are making more contact. Unfortunately I was not able to be here when he came to talk with him about what he did, and didn't do with her, so I don't know. He does promote the hands on work by owners, but I am not 100% sure if we are on the same page with what I am trying to accomplish with her. Of course the one thing I keep saying is that you can't cripple a cripple horse, so I know for a fact that nothing he did made her any worse. Which is the same for me. I haven't hurt her in any way, hopefully I am helping her.
I don't have any pictures right now. I keep trying to take some but I never ever have any help and so they turn out like crap. I cannot hold the camera, hold the hoof, make sure there are not shadows, and make sure we are at a good angle all by myself.
On a side note, I do like the way Killian's shoes look. They are not all squeezed in on the heels, but they are set back far enough to give him good support. He seems to be moving well in them. I will ride him this weekend and that will be the true test.
Anyway, I took Sassy out yesterday and worked her. I was going to ride her, but she did not want to be caught. So we spent half of our "work out" time with me driving her around her pen while she did her cute little cow horse moves. (Bitch!) By time she was done she was already sweating pretty well. However by time she let me catch her, she was not limping. She did get 2 grams of bute that morning, but still, the bute didn't used to make much difference so clearly blood flow is helpful. (duh)
Since our time was cut short I just took her to the freshly worked arena and we did ground work. I noticed something yesterday. All my horses are one sided. She was more than happy to WTL in circles to the left. I figured since her left foot is worse, then it would be more difficult, but no...she was fine. When I asked for her to go to the right, she forgot what forward was, and fell apart. Strangely reminiscent of a certain paint horse I know. She kept wanting to run backwards, and get stuck.
So I pushed her over to the fence, moved her front end across (that part she does great) and then drove her forward, She had no choice but to go the direction I asked. but of course once she got off the fence she tried to fall apart again. So we started again. After the 3rd try she was trotting forward in a circle and eventually was able to kick it up to a less than proper lope. It was very much like Trax's, "I'm staying as far and as hard on the end of this lead rope as I can." So we stopped and started again. We stopped and started over and over again until she simply loped forward with out yanking on the rope. One time around and I let her rest.
She was shaking. (insert sad face here) And then I was wondering if we over did it.
So we just walked. I lead and she followed. We walked over poles and obstacles and she acted like she was afraid of the bridge.
When we were in WY the arena we often used had a bridge that required a horse to step up about 1.5 feet in order to get on it. Her favorite thing was to climb up there for fun. She is part goat. So for her to act like she couldn't walk across my bridge, was her being stubborn. It took a few tries but finally she got up there.
Then she wouldn't come off.
This horse cracks me up, and I guess that is why I keep doing what I am doing.
Anyway, we just dinked around after that and pretty soon instead of leading her in straight lines I was one rein driving her in straight lines...over the bridge and the poles. It was kind of cool.
After we were done and she was breathing normal, and had not been shaking for a long time, I hosed her off. She loves a bath and then a nice roll in the dirt.
She is kind of sore today, not sure if it is from the trim or the work, but I gave her the last of my bute today and the last of her BL solution. I'm actually out of a lot of my supplements so a trip to the feed store is in order.
Oh and speaking of supplements, I almost forgot the most important thing I was going to say.
Sassy is FAT! Not all over, but I noticed the other day that the little cresty patch on her neck is now a huge cresty line of fat. Which got me to wondering if maybe this is the reason her progress is so intermittent. Even though the vets and farriers have all said she isn't laminitic, is it possible that some of the lameness is diet related?
(DD if you are reading this, I'm sure you are thinking- "Didn't I bring that up a year ago?" And you did, and all I can say is that I am really really SLOW to grasp things.)
So, since it can't hurt to try, I have taken her off the alfalfa/Bermuda blend pellets. She is strictly on the Purina Well-solve supplement (for IR horses) and her Bermuda hay. She is also getting ADM Gro-strong, for vitamins, to boost her cooper and zinc and hopefully help her grow more hoof. I just started this change this week, so it is too soon to see if there is a difference, but I will keep you posted. (because I know you are all on the edge of your seats)
She does get out to the pasture 3 or 4 times a week. The pasture is planted with Bermuda as well.
Lets face it folks. I am grasping at straws and totally taking stabs in the dark with this mare. I am in way over my head with her. I guess I am learning a lot because of her, but some days I feel like I am just beating my head against the wall. I have no idea what is going to work or what isn't. I just keep trying things until something seems to give steady improvement.
I need to know, is it this way for everyone?