Monday, January 16, 2012

One Month

Lucy's de-clogging and first trim with Candy was on 12/15/11; and on 1/15/12, I brought Lucy out to the paddock, took her halter off...and she bucked and trotted away from me. I grabbed my phone as fast as I could and managed to catch her trotting back.

In one month, she went from possibly being put down at eight years old to cavorting in the paddock like a normal horse. Major props to you, Candy. :-)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Frankenstein Feet

Lucy might not have bolts in her head, but she most certainly had many, many bolts in her hooves. On Thursday December 15th,  Lucy's hooves were finally placed into the care of Candy's capable hands. On the phone, I had told her, "You might want to bring a power drill with you because I'm pretty sure those clogs are screwed into her hooves." And, unfortunately, I wasn't kidding.

Our first challenge was removing the fiberglass casts that covered the clogs. We started off wetting them with the hose, and then Candy hacked away at them with a hoof knife. We were getting nowhere. So, while I frantically Googled "How to Remove Hoof Casts" on my phone and waded through pages of completely useless information, Candy and Judy discussed our options. Call the farrier and ask him to come out and remove them? Only if we wanted to wait around for, oh, a good six weeks. Call the vet? Since he was present when the clogs were put on, we figured he was a pretty safe bet. His assistant told us to use a handsaw (?!), so I went poking around for tools and came up with a small set of pruning shears. Luckily, the vet called back within five minutes and said to use hoof nippers. At that point, Candy was having some luck with the pruning shears, but she grabbed her mini hoof nippers and went to work.

It was like unwrapping a really horrible, upsetting, disturbing gift. Not quite last-scene-of-the-movie-Seven bad, but bad nonetheless. Because by then, we knew what was underneath. The vet had told us to use a Phillip's head screwdriver to remove the screws from Lucy's hooves in order to get the clogs off.

After searching high and low for a Phillips' head screwdriver, Candy remembered that she had one in a previously unopened toolkit in her car (thank goodness!), and she quickly got to work unscrewing Lucy's hooves.

Finally, it was time to remove the clogs once and for all.

And, surprisingly, her hooves didn't look nearly as bad as we thought they would (especially considering the state of Tiffany's hooves--Lucy had the same farrier). Yes, there was a ton of bruising and the trademark ridiculous square toe. But, luckily, Candy was put on the case before too much damage was done. Lucy foundered back in September, whereas Tiffany foundered somewhere around 9-12 months ago; so, the farrier didn't have nearly as much opportunity to morph Lucy's hooves into odd and previously never-before-seen shapes.

However. I assume most of you have heard of a "hot nail," right? That's the term for a nail that has been driven into the live, sensitive tissues of the hoof. Well, Lucy was hot-screwed, and not in the good way. She had multiple screws that had been drilled directly into her live tissues. And then people wondered why she was crippled to the point of not eating for several days. It's a mystery.

Here, you can see the dental impression material that was between the clogs and Lucy's hooves.
I had always thought that it would be soft and cushy, and was surprised to find that it's actually
quite rigid--not comfy-feeling at all

As soon as Lucy was trimmed and booted up, we videotaped her walking off. But to show you the difference in her movement, I'm also going to post the video I took approximately one week before (a few days after her final farrier appointment).

And that's in hoof boots that are ridiculously large. If you think she looks good there, wait until you see the latest videos of her. This mare endured what most people have commented to be "torture devices" for several months, but she has bounced back from it like a rubber ball. I only hope that people can watch her progress and realize that wood screws and giant clogs are not the answer to laminitis. There is a better way. It doesn't involve power tools or nuts and bolts. In fact, it doesn't involve anything you can purchase at Home Depot. It involves knowledge, skill, patience, and time. A little arnica helps, as well. Let's hope Frankenstein feet will quickly become a thing of the past.