Yep, it was the abscess hoof. As the empty abscess cavity had grown closer to the ground, the hoof wall underneath cracked because the cavity was a weak point in the wall. It was cracked from the cavity to the ground, and it was growing steadily wider. Huge crack in hoof = sore pony.
Pretty scary-lookin', yes? I emailed this pic to Candy and she was shocked at how much wider the crack had grown since she had last seen him. She told me to keep his flares rasped down so they wouldn't pull it further apart, and keep him in his Cavallo boots.
About a week after he moved into the new barn, his hoof looked like this:
The wall was starting to chip, so I once again grabbed my rasp and cleaned it up as well as I could. Afterwards, I packed the whole hoof with Magic Cushion, wrapped it with Vetrap, and slapped his boots back on. (By the way, I had considered casting this hoof; didn't happen, but I found Techform casting tape, which is the exact same thing as Equicast only orders of magnitude cheaper.)
Slight improvement, and with Magic Cushion stuffed into the cavity to hold everything together
That brings us to Salem's last hoof trim a little over a week ago. Slightly off topic, but as I pulled into the barn, I glanced over to Salem's paddock and saw this:
One sleepy young boy lying in the shade for an afternoon nap--adorable! I love that he has relaxed and realized that he's safe and sound in his new home. I'm also loving the fact that he isn't isolated off in No-man's Land like he was at our last barn; his paddock is right up front where everybody can see him, and he can actually see most of his horsey neighbors from his paddock/stall. I think this move was a blessing in disguise.
Back to the hooves: Candy was pleased to see that the crack was superficial and had not extended beyond the first wall. There was also no infection present. All great news.
Another month or two and this whole thing will (finally!) be completely grown out and gone. Which means Salem *should* be sound and I can finally start riding him again. I know better than to set my heart on it, but I am hopeful that it will happen.
***The outer bands of Isaac have been hitting us the last few days, and we'll be getting the brunt of it Sunday around 9 am and continuing into Monday. I didn't put Salem's luggage tags on or draw on him with livestock markers, but I did leave his fly mask and leather halter on him, and booted him up in his Ecogold cross country boots for good measure. (I didn't even buy any emergency M&Ms, which is a good sign that I am really not too worried.) All the other horses are locked into the barn, but I decided to leave Salem's door open and let him choose if he wants to be in or out--the last thing I want to do is stress him more. Hopefully, he'll just be very wet but otherwise fine. Maybe I should have brought Salem some flippers and a snorkel, though, because as I write this I am listening to rain pouring down!***