Sunday, February 21, 2010

Three Riley milestones!

Note extra room on outer edge to encourage hoof to expand.
Horizontal line at the toe is top of defect.
Milestone #1: New, normal shoes
Friday morning the vet met me at the barn and we put Riley on a lunge line -- sound! Well, let me amend that: The vet considers him sound but told me he was seeing a difference in the breakover between the two feet -- the left is very upright, the right is pretty much without a heel. I just saw a horse moving freely and comfortably.

Then the farrier arrived, and he put on two NORMAL shoes. Riley's right hoof has an Equipak gel pad infused with copper sulfate, held in by a mesh liner. The pad will keep the frog in direct contact with the ground. This will hopefully help expand the heel. If you look at the picture on the right, you'll see the outside edge of the shoe is slightly wider than the hoof heel. This is to encourage expansion. See the horizontal line at the toe? That's the end of the hoof defect.

Milestone #2: Drug-free Riley
This was Riley's first sedation-free shoeing (keep in mind he was on stall rest for most of his shoeing experiences). While he was still opinionated, he responded to correction and stood stock still for minutes at a time, or he quietly chewed the chain shank. Not really that bad, especially considering it took an hour to do two shoes (lots of standing, talking, scrutinizing). I can foresee a day he might stand quietly unattended.

Duct tape to protect mesh/equipak
Left hoof in process
Milestone #3: Riley the working man?
Riley's been cleared to go back to work. By work I mean physical rehab, really. He's scrawny. He's gangly. He has no topline. He's on paddock turnout until the spring. It'll be a slow road, but any talk of progress is a little miracle to me. He may be a riding horse after all! After everyone left, I took the bridle into Riley's stall and put it on him.

He remembered.


  1. Your excellent farrier will get those feet balanced and just right, I'm sure. Just give it a bit of time as he wisely didn't make sudden, radical changes in the angles. Looks pretty good to me!

    Amazing that the defect is so far down on the hoof. A few more shoeings and it will just a memory.

    It's taken my Tucker about seven years of shoeings before he SEEMS to be settled down about it. He wasn't really bad but restless and annoying. My shoer is a saint about it and worked patiently with him for all that time until it appears they have reached an understanding. Of course, it could be that now that he is 10, Tucker has finally grown up?? *lol*

    Make the rehab as much fun for both of you as you can. Riley health is a precious gift you have given him with all your dedication and tender loving care. You need to enjoy and treasure every moment of training him to be the horse you have always wanted.

    It is going to be a pleasure reading of your successes along the way.

  2. Hot diggity! Congratulations to both of you; I'm sure Riley will be frolicking around the pasture again in no time (and I'll bet you were one happy camper Friday, right? :o)

  3. Ah, the "he remembered" caught me right in the throat. Good luck with his rehab!

  4. What great news! After reading laz's blog this morning I really needed good mews from somewhere.

  5. That is so fantastic!! Kudos to you for sticking through it with Riley. He's lucky to have you.

  6. I am so happy for you -- you have walked an incredibly long and hard road of recovery that many people would not have had the dedication and willpower to see through. Kudos for sticking with your boy and can't wait to see him getting better and stronger!

  7. Just FYI
    2009 Aachen Horse Show re-runs on HRTV. It's on a few times a day so I set my recorder while I'm at work. I receive HRTV on Dish Network Channel 404. Enjoy!

  8. Hip, hip hooray! 2010 is going to be a fun year as you bring him back into condition and work. Enjoy! (And we'll all sit back and enjoy reading about it...)

  9. Whahooooo! Totally fantastic news. So happy for you both. I'm guessing that Riley has forgotten very little. :)
    What a long haul it's been. I know you still have a ways to go on getting fit, but I bet that will feel like a breeze compared to what you've been through.


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