Sunday, February 22, 2009

Playing it safe

I fulfilled my goal for the week and visited my horse both days this weekend!

Today I went with a new goal in mind, but events totally changed my plans. I had wanted to ride Panama, first in the pasture and then out in the field if he seemed in a good mood. Unfortunately, when I was picking his feet, I noticed — totally by chance — a vertical hairline crack extending from the base of his hoof, almost all the way to the top.

The crack is extremely narrow, and when I picked up his foot I could see that it is only through the very outer wall of the hoof. Still, I am concerned by the length of the crack, and the fact that it runs alongside the ridge caused by the proudflesh at the coronary band (a souveneir from the trailer accident that resulted in his mother's death, and us rescuing him).

I decided that it is better to be safe than sorry, and abandoned my plans to ride. I also called my farrier and tentatively scheduled for him to take a look on Wednesday. (Tentatively because I discovered his wife just died, and I told him if he's not ready to come back to work on Wednesday, to PLEASE call and cancel. I'm not in THAT big a hurry to work Panama, and I don't want to rush my farrier's return.)

Afterward I was talking to the new renters in the barn owner's other house, and the mother mentioned how pushy some of the riders are at her daughter's barn, and how bad she feels for some of the horses. It made me think how many horse owners and riders wouldn't have given the crack a second thought, simply because they are too selfish to give up their own plans. It seems impossible that anybody could be like that, but at the same time I know that they exist in the horse world.

Me, I'd rather play it safe and give up my plans, than risk laming my horse. Honestly, I was excited about possibley getting Panama out into the field today, but what's the point if I end up not being able to ride him again for a long time because of an entirely preventable injury?



At February 23, 2009 at 10:10 AM, Blogger Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Those cracks can get a lot worse. If I see one that extends past half-way up the hoof, I clean it out and have my farrier install a closed shoe to keep the crack from expanding and spreading. If the horse comes up lame or is bleeding from the crack, I call the vet. I feel bad for your poor farrier.

At February 23, 2009 at 10:13 AM, Blogger Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Also, if I find a small crack just at the edge of the hoof, I'll take the nippers and file to it and try to cut it away so that it doesn't have the chance to spread.

At February 23, 2009 at 10:24 AM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

Thanks NM. Maybe I'll feel more comfortable working on my own horse's feet someday, but right now I know I do NOT have the knowledge or experience to go fussing with that, even to stop a crack.

My farrier said from the sounds of it, he thinks it may be superficial and just from Panama's hooves getting too dry, but I feel better having him take a look. I'll want to avoid shoeing if at all possible, though, even if it means not riding for a while or using some kind of boot.


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