Sunday, November 29, 2009

Riley update: Fun while it lasted

Well, turnout is on hold for a bit longer. For about a week, Riley was on turnout in the barn's indoor arena. It was fun to watch him enjoy his freedom and his new playmate. His good-natured turnout companion suffered his nudginess and high spirits. Fortunately, Riley was more interested in his friend than in tearing around -- although that did happen in spurts.

Subtle, but "there"
Most of the time Riley looked great, but every so often he took a slightly odd step. It's not shocking he might still have a shortish step every now and then -- he still has a significant defect in his hoof, and only one shoe in front. The subtle gait anomaly left me concerned about moving him to "phase 2" of the turnout plan -- from the soft felt indoor footing to the hard winter ground. New Bolton gave the go-ahead for turnout "based on the soundness he showed us" on a few short runs on blacktop during his visit on Nov. 12. I wonder what they would say if they saw what I'm seeing now.

Deciding what to do...
I spoke to the one person (other than me) who has seen whole ordeal through from the beginning back in March -- my local vet. She listened to the story I'm telling you. Her take -- why push it? Another six weeks will give us that much more confidence that he is ready:

  • The hospital plate will be off.
  • The new hoof growth will fully support the pedal bone (currently it's 11 mm from the tip of the bone).
  • It's winter. Horses are shut in a lot anyway.
As much as I love seeing Riley enjoying his freedom and new friend, it's still a risk. He might not be ready yet, and do I really want to stress that hoof prematurely, after all this time?

Practical considerations
The final deciding factor had to do with the impracticality of indoor turnout. I tried hard to get Riley 5-10 minutes in the ring without inconveniencing anyone. But at a busy boarding barn, with adults who work during the day, this proved to be a real challenge.

New year, new plan
The vet and I agree that it's prudent to put him back on stall rest/handwalking till January. In January, we'll try turnout again -- and if he's 100% sound, hooray! As far as turnout logistics? TBA, baby. If the time is right, a workable solution will be revealed.

I'm ever thankful that Riley is such a good sport -- five more weeks buddy, five more weeks....


  1. Oh Stacey i am so sorry.

    I know how hard it is to have waited for so long, then to just see that the need more time. Great decision, in my opinion

    Zach :)

  2. OK, it is rather frustrating, I'm sure, but better safe than sorry. Since Riley is a "good sport" about being kept in, he should be fine about the extra time in. And you are right, it is not the best time of year weatherwise, so it probably won't be that hard to take.

  3. I think you are wise to would be awful to have to start over again after all this time. Does Riley have any stall toys to alleviate boredom and prevent him from developing any nasty habits? (it's just a thought :o)

  4. Oh, no... I'm sorry to hear this.

    Is there any way to get him a double stall or stall with small paddock/walk-out so he can have a bit more room to move but without the extra stress of "total freedom" ?

    It sounds like he is ready for more movement but not quite ready for a big open space where all the acrobatics come forth.

  5. Disappointing but it's better to be careful. Riley's lucky to have you.

  6. Too bad....but hopefully the next 5 weeks will fly by for both of you and he'll be enjoying his freedom before you know it! What a trooper, he sure deserves a break.

  7. I agree - better to wait - despite how frustrating it is! Grrrr...
    Riley is lucky to have you!

  8. I'm sorry to hear that :(

    I went through the whole rehab program with my mare a few years ago when she tore her suspensory and we were faced with the same problem, but like you, we decided to wait. It's so frustrating to have to keep them in but we made our decision based on the same premimse: is it worth risking it? I think you made a wise choice that will be for the best in the long run!

  9. Frustrating. Hard decisions, and sounds like the exact right choice. You are a good mom!


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