Sunday, September 21, 2008

Red's Stifle Revisited - Connecting the Dots

Red trotted sound in the arena a couple of days ago. Yesterday he had a trim from a friend of mine who just completed a course of study at the Oregon School of Natural Hoofcare. It is a very different trim from the one I give - gonna show some pictures in a bit. While he seems to be pretty comfy with his slick new look on his front hoofies, today he was stiff in the hind end, slightly favoring his right rear leg, and his right stifle was visibly bobbling up and down when he walked. I've just googled and read 20 zillion articles on stifle problems. Gonna share my theory of what Red is dealing with. Your comments will be very, very appreciated.

First, here are some photos of Red's new look for his front hoofs. We did not touch his back hoofs but I am touching them up weekly to keep the toes bevels and rockered and the heels as level as possible while his coronary injury grows out.

My friend has been trimming her own horses for years. I think she is going to be a very talented barefoot trimmer and I am so excited that she is going to make this her profession. These pictures are of Red's front right hoof which has always had a rather clubby shape, badly contracted heels, and deep sulcus thrush. The outside quarter was higher than the inside, yet the sole was even with the hoof wall. I was slowly working towards balance, following the sole while taking off a little at a time. My friend took quite a bit off (to me, I was hyperventilating while watching the trim) but perhaps that is what the hoof was needing.

As I said, Red is walking evenly with his new trim, but is stiff in his hind legs and is slightly off in his right rear leg. I really believe that our entire lameness nightmare started in early July when he sustained this injury to his coronary band. Before I understood that he freaks in the front slot of a slant trailer, he had a major crazy horse fit, ripped the protective mat off the wall, and exposed a bolt near the floor. Stupid horse mother - me, did not get it the first time, actually went on another trip with Red in the same front slot of the trailer WITH THE EXPOSED BOLT STILL NOT REPAIRED. Red again shifted into crazy horse mode, this time jamming the exposed bolt into his coronary band and also damaging the hoof wall in the outside quarter of his rear hoof.

It has been amazing to see how Red's hoofs have remodeled to accommodate his injury. It is my HUGE hunch that this remodeling of the weight bearing surface of the hoof temporary put a great deal of stress to on his hock and stifle. When he was kicked in the stifle the force and inflammation involved three now vulnerable parts of his leg: 1. the stifle; 2. his hock; 3. his already impaired hoof. And in a few hours we had level four lameness.

I don't know what else I can do but wait for his right rear hoof to grow out and regain its integrity, while continuing to keep his rear heels balanced and his toes short, beveled, and rockered. This was working. I'm a little curious if his new trim and shorter front heels put more strain on his stifles. Seems like I recall reading something about the relationship between front heel pain and stifle problems. Yep, here it is in an article called "Postures of Pain".

OK, now to connect the dots . . . when Red suffered his hoof injury a negative angle (heel low) was created and according to the author Christian Ware:

Secondary Hock & Stifle problems Horses with reversed hoof angles often suffer patellar problems and hock and stifle issues. Often this is mistaken for locking patellar by owners and veterinarians who are unfamiliar with physiologically correct hoof form. The hock and stifle joints work with reciprocal action – flex one and the other flexes equally but opposite. What is not commonly known is that there is also a role played in patellar action by the tensor fascia latae muscle and the lumbo-sacral joint. All of these are affected by abnormal reversed angles as they are unable to work in concert as they should. In fact they are foced to work in opposition to each other. Working in opposition creates tight hamstrings and lumbo-sacral pain. This hock and stifle pain is often mistaken for arthritis in older horses.

Seems to me like Ware's observation offers a solid explanation for Red's troubles throughout the last few weeks. My vet did not even pause for two breaths to consider the impact of the coronary injury when I suggested it might be one important factor involved in Red's lameness. I think the solution is to avoid further stressing Red's hock and stifle while his heel grows out. He is on Farrier's Formula to encourage hoof growth. Any suggestions will be welcome with open arms.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I am grateful

. . . that Red was SOUND AT THE TROT in the indoor arena. This is a cushy surface, but still he has come so far from having a lameness rating of 4.

. . . that Lyra came to me ON HER OWN when I called Red and WITH NO HALTER sauntered along with us all the way to the gate. She was as determined to go in as Red was and was not about to be left behind.

. . . that my two dear horses have come to accept each other and work together when I am leading both of them.

. . . that I am blessed to be have horses as a daily (almost) part of my life.

Prayers For Syndi

Safe in the hands of Creator
you are surrounded
by beauty, love, and healing.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Sarah Palin: Arial Wolf Hunter?

OK, I have avoiding much political commentary here cuz I have a different focus in this blog. Such avoidance has not been easy because I find Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin profoundly offensive and disturbing on many levels. But I just read a piece on Palin's promotion of arial hunting of wildlife which I found so obscene I simply had to post my opinion here. There is no way I want someone who displays such brutal disregard for the suffering of sentient creatures (irony - = no abortion under any circumstances but terroize and torture wolves and other animals) to be second in commandof this country. Her record on the environment is pure gut and slash.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Be Well Dear DOR of Cactus Jack

Syndi, those who love you from near and far are sending healing thoughts for that great, passionate, generous, loving heart of yours. Be well my friend, you are much needed on this planet.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Way We Roll . . .

I do a lot of kids' counseling groups. Last year one of my kids looked across the table and asked another, "how come you're so hyper?" Second kid stares back with a perfectly straight fact and says, "that's the way I roll." Me? I'm pinching myself to not start laughing so hard I'd fall on the floor.

Tonight I'm thinking of the way I roll. It is in a herd or a pack. Maybe both. Cannot imagine life without my canine, equine, feline partners. Most of my childhood I had to live without animals. Felt absolutely as if I was walking the earth with only one leg. My beloved horses, dogs, and cats have enriched my life beyond words. Some folks just don't get it. You mean you spend EVERY NIGHT with your horses? Yep, that's the way I roll.

Monday, September 8, 2008

On My Way . . .

. . . to meet my horses I find treasures hiding in the grass. Rosehips are turning wonderful shades of ruby and permission. After the first front, I will gather these beauties and dry them for Red, Lyra, and myself to enjoy throughout the winter. Besides being rich in vitamin C, rosehips have anti-inflamatory properties and are helpful with those achy knees.

A Professor Winther has actually formulated rosehips formula to ease the pain and inflamation of osteoarthritis for horses and people. It is called LitoZin and has been proven effective in a Danish double blind study.


Red Continues to Speak His Mind

Red has always been a horse of distinct opinions which he shares in obvious ways. If he is not ready to return to general pasture he will sit back on his hind end and refuse to budge, giving in only when I swing the lead rope at his rear. This horse of mine (he might snort and say, this human of mine). This horse of mine insisted on leaving the general pasture with Lyra. He stalked after us, giving her hell until I told him he could go too. Then he settled into our rhythm and waited at the gait for me to return with a halter to take him across the street.
My plan was to have Red go into his stall to eat, while I rode Lyra. Ha. There was no way in hell he was going into his stall while I messed with another horse. Nose went into the air, tail dipped down as he planted himself and refused to budge. I could have forced it, I can be pretty relentless but he was so clearly telling me he really, really didn't want to be put away while I stayed with Lyra. I fed them together and then hand grazed them for awhile. They need to learn to walk with me and behave under different circumstances. Lyra is doing so well, she is patient and gives to my requests. Red is, well - Red is actually doing fine once he is assured he is to be included.
Lyra was returned to the GP first tonight. She did not want to go. My formerly autistic like horse mimicked Red and slammed on brakes of her own as we began the walk down the lane to the general pasture. Secretly I was delighted that she wanted to stay with me instead of return to the herd. Her goal was probably to shake me down for more goodies, but she wanted to stay. How very far she has come.

Meanwhile, my Red horse enjoyed his massage with his custom massage oil. In fact, when I was done he swung his head around and looked at his other side, looked at me, looked at his other side. I followed the direction of his gaze and he heaved a huge sigh as I massaged his left rear pastern and fetlock.

Red has clear intentions. He is letting me know what he wants and prefers. The things he asks for are easy to respond to. Now how does this fit in the whole human as leader philosophy of natural horsemanship? This is feeling more like horse and human as partners. This is the direction I want to continue in with my horses. When we were done with the massage and he had seconds of Safe Choice, he walked beside me down the lane to the general pasture, relaxed and contented, making the little snuffy sounds I love.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

There is Nothing Like a Good Roll . . .

. . . in the stinkiest spot possible to celebrate your homecoming. On her second day home Lena accompanied me to the general pasture and immediately sought out some good ole stinky places to joyously roll, wriggle, and writhe in. Bwallah - instant happy dog!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Lena is HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The calls came at 12:30 am and 3:20 am - a man calling to say he might have my dog and would I please call to give him a description. He hoped the dog in question was Lena but he also hoped she wasn't because he was growing very fond of her (Lena does that to people). I waited until early afternoon since it seemed like Lena's potential hero was a night owl. When I called, I described my girl down to the scar on her nose from picking on a raccoon. Her hero - James, said called her by her name and she must have responded cuz he sort of mumbled, "yep, guess she is your dog." MY DOG!!!! After such a long time I thought I would never see her cute face again. When I walked up to James' house, Lena was peaking out the window, wriggling like crazy and making little squeaky whiny sounds. Her hero James seemed like a good soul, sort of a late night, punk music fan with a soft spot for lost dogs. He is also my hero. Thank you James! And thank you everyone who gave me so much encouragement while Lena was missing, it really helped.

Monday, September 1, 2008

The BEST Frog Flap Trimming Tool EVER!!!!!

Really! First, I avoid trimming the frog whenever
possible. That said, both Red and Lyra had several nasty little, hard to get at flaps that were thrush/fungus traps.

The recent Linda Cowles Clinic I attended had some good tool tips. I am the ecstatic new owner of a Corona Trimmer - a gardening tool that is similar to the Corona grapevine trimmers Linda recommended.

It has 3 inch slightly curved blades that are really sharp and will do precise cuts of tough, hard to reach frog tissue. Did I say I love it?

Here are some more pictures of my new beauty.