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Cowboy Up!

This is Cowboy Jack. He was a gift to a client and that turned into a project for me. HA! He was fairly lame on the fronts and very stiff with the hinds. Didn't like to move around much and especially not at a brisk pace. First thing i noticed was the effort he had to put into lifting those front feet off the ground. Every step looked like it was such work for him. Upon pulling the shoes I noticed why, thick steel shoes, pads, and an expoxy filler to help with cushioning and easing the pain. Wowza! No wonder this guy lacked gumption and was sore all the time!!
















deep central sulcus infection. filled with the epoxy. contracted heels.








you can see the natural angle of his foot way up at the hairline. from there is just flares and bulges out. the hairline is very stressed and arched as well. this is generally caused by the concussive forces of the shoe on the hoof wall. peripheral loading ring a bell???  rippling due to inadequate diet and probably concussion from the shoes.

Pulled his shoes and gave him a good trim. he had a lot of excess hoof wall to come off. heels were underrun so we start working on that by keeping the toe backed up and allowing for a more natural breakover point.


contracted heels seen here along with a small withered frog from lack of stimulation even with the pad and filler.
deep central sulcus infection to clear up on this foot too.



 after the trim. you can see how far the heels are pulled forward and frog stretched forward as well at the apex. this will change over time as we maintain a good trim cycle and get his diet working for him.



he was very tender on rocks after this first trim. did much better in the sandy arena where these after pics were taken. he moved out with much more ease now that he didn't have 5lb weights on each foot to lumber around.

*****Update*****

this is cowboy now.



much more natural angle to his feet. no ripples. diet is great!
hairline is nice and relaxed. no more jamming on the hoof wall.
but you can see he's still showing us he has a better foot to grow in. look at the hairline. this tells me he will be growing in tighter hoof wall connection and his heels will probably shift back some as well.







great concavity through that sole. still working on building up that frog as he uses it more and more.
heels are migrating back. 

still work to be done but he's come this far in just a few short months from who knows how many years of being shod and dealing with abscesses and lameness. 





no more contracted heels! 
sulcus has filled in about as much as i think it will. at this point its not tender for him and there's no active infection. So i'm not gonna mess with it. just advised the owner to keep it clean and free from muck jamming up in there. i think it will be like this permanently. it was separated for so long and it just scarred up that way?? just my thoughts on that.

He is now completely sound on rocks. The horse that once was reluctant to even walk around the arena is now showing in walk/trot/canter classes and has begun jumping. He has some mild arthritis from years of concussion on the joints but overall does great
Its amazing what can be accomplished when we focus on the cause of the ailments rather than just mask them for as long as we can until the animal is beyond repair.
Oh, and on a side note, he is in his late teens!! So no, there is no age limit on rehabbing. Go get 'em Cowboy!

1 Comment to Cowboy Up!:

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Brittany on Monday, December 17, 2012 11:45 AM
I am Jack's owner, and I am very pleased to see the progress he has made and tickled to see this blog post. While he may have entered my life as a "Cowboy" who was rough, cranky, sore, unwilling, and bit, kicked, and even attempted to rear at times, he is developing into the affectionately dubbed, "Gentleman's Jack," as we are now starting to call him. His transformation may have started with a fabulous and professional trim, but it ends with me and the care I take of him. I took Annemarie's instructions and advice into careful consideration, trusting that she is a professional who knows what she is talking about. I find that tragically, many horse owners do not have swift reversal of issues in their own animals, and sometimes do not get to where they need to be at all, simply because they did not follow through with a good care plan. On Annemarie's advice, we avoided rocks, rode in sand, and were delicate with him for the first few months. As signs of improvement continued, his activities increased. I also put him on a Source supplement called Focus SR. It is a micronutrient supplement designed for the needs of older horses, complete with flaxseed and other great and yummy things. He eats beet pulp and Triple Crown Senior feed to help keep weight on because he does struggle as a "hard keeper" as most older horses do. He is not, however, on any joint supplements. And for a horse in his 20's and actively working, that was a pleasant surprise! I also do not stall Jack. I believe freedom of movement is key to good horse health. He gets free choice hay and I toss a blanket on him in rough weather. Horses are designed to tough it out in the great outdoors, so I let him do just that! He enjoys being ridden, and is stronger and more able to carry out the tasks asked of him everyday. He loves a good trail ride, and has recently taken a liking to barrel racing. For a horse who was too crippled to turn at the walk a short 8 months ago, I am ecstatic to see him rip around a barrel and take off at full gallop. He ALWAYS beats my younger horses. I think it has to do with having grattitude for getting a second lease on life that makes him try so hard.
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