I have owned my horse Timmy for 9 years. You would think by now, I would know pretty much everything about him. After all, I see him almost daily, ride him and hang out with him all the time. Well as typically happens with horses, he has once again surprised me.
We have been dealing with a persistent RF lameness. It is nothing major – no bones, ligaments, tendons or arthritis -but enough to keep him “off” and a bit “ouchy”. This has been going on since the end of May. Three different vets have seen him and the diagnosis was stone bruise, maybe hot nail or very deep abscess (although that it the least likely).
For the past two months, I have soaked, packed and wrapped his foot more than I have in 9 years. I have a rather impressive stash of Epsom salts, Magic Cushion, diapers, vet wrap and duct tape – and I KNOW how to use it. Here is what I DIDN’T know about Timmy:
1) He LOVES a good foot soak! I would fill a small bucket with warm water and Epsom salts for him. The bottom of the bucket is not much larger than the width of his foot, but he would stand quietly with his foot in that bucket until HE was ready to be done. If I tried to take his foot out before that, he leaned harder on that leg so I couldn’t budge it. I even tried body slamming him but to no avail. He would voluntarily remove it when it suited him, so I just stood ready for when that happened. The boy enjoys a good pedicure!
2) He seems to enjoy stall rest! In 9 years, he has never been on stall rest. This is a guy who has not taken 4 bad steps in all that time. In the summer, our horses are inside during the day and out at night. Timmy has a lovely, spacious end stall with a large window to the outside and a fan. He also has the end corner stall so he can see out of both sides of the barn and beyond. Being a gawker, this makes him very happy. During the period of stall rest, I would go up each day around 5pm to clean his stall, dump his water buckets and fill them with fresh, cold water and groom him. He was hand-grazed 30-60 minutes so he could have some grass. A hit of fly spray and some hay sealed the deal. Next up was dinner and while everyone else was being turned out, he would watch quietly. I swear he was thinking “suckers” as they passed by. He can see them out of his window but when that was old news, it was nap time. No one enjoys a good nap (snoring and moaning included) like Timmy. Never once did he pace, scream, stomp his feet or seem agitated. He was happy and relaxed. I kept looking for signs of distress but each day he would greet me and our ritual would begin again.
He finally got a shoe on and was ready for turnout, after 10 days inside. I got him ready to go, sprayed him down with fly spray and walked him to his pasture. I thought maybe once he got inside, he would start running around or immediately start to roll but that never happened. He is turned out by himself, so he took a quick stroll around the perimeter to make sure his “house” was in order, then found a nice patch of tall grass to eat. Ten minutes later, he had a good roll and that was it. No drama and no craziness.
So here I am, 9 years later, discovering new things about my horse. I have always known what a good steady guy he is and that he is a bit spoiled, but pedicures and stall rest were not in his repertoire. It just proves that as soon as we think we have seen it all, horses surprise us.
P.S. I will give him 2 days outside and then see how he is under saddle. Fingers crossed he is sound but if not, I doubt he will mind.