Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Riley update part 2: The bad (well, not so great) news

So you saw the clinic -- the good news. Here is the not-so-good news, which hopefully is just the tail end of the hoof issues.

In mid-March, Riley went back under saddle with  a trainer, 3 times a week. I gave the trainer these guidelines:
  • Work Riley only in the indoor (felt, cushy footing)
  • Check digital pulses after every ride
  • Don't use the flash attachment
I lost on this last point, but it was kind of a throwaway anyway. Always include one point that you're willing to concede :-). The point is, we were careful about monitoring his feet. At least I thought we were.

The first few weeks under saddle
In the first few weeks, Riley's front legs were holding up great, and he was sound. The hinds, though, were both swelling up, asymmetrically, on and off, from the pastern to about 6" above the fetlock. The left leg was the worst at first, but after a few weeks it suddenly got better. The right continued to swell --that ugly, bulbous, taut kind of swelling. On April 6, I got a call from the barn manager -- he was non-weightbearing on the right hind.  The vet came out and found an abscess on the inside of the hoof toward the heel.   She felt his heels were pretty worn down, so we had the farrier out and put hind shoes on him (he already had front shoes). In about 5 days the swelling was down. Problem solved, right?

Well.. No...
In early May -- about a month after the abscess was found, the right hind blew up again -- this time on the outside aspect of the hoof. The farrier came out. He  trimmed the right hind and found two abscess tracts -- the old one, and a new one on the other side. We moved to the left hind. As he trimmed the hoof, he found two identical abscess tracts -- same place as the right hind (see photo, let).

If you're counting, that's FOUR abscesses. I was beside myself -- would he ever be all right?  I figured that four abscesses had to be from mechanical forces/workload/bruising. This makes some sense since both hinds were swelling mysteriously from the start of his training. The vet concurs. I just hope these are from old, pre-shoeing bruises.

The right hind swelling subsided in a matter of days and he was moving sound, so we put him in the clinic. Last night, I went to the barn to check him, and he had stocked up again in the right hind, but it was cool and squishy. It largely dissipated when I handwalked him. I remind myself that his left hind, which was the first leg to swell and subside (abscesses popped without my noticing), is now tight and dry.  I hope the right will follow suit.

Riley, Riley, Riley...
I never thought I'd have to worry about your back feet, Ri. Anyhoo, that's the bad news.

There is an update #3, which I'll reveal later this week. It's neither good nor bad, just "news."


  1. So frustrating!! If it makes you feel better my horse is obsessed with injuring her hind legs. We just got going again and then another small tweak, enough to scale everything back and to cause me more worry and cost me more $$$. I hope they grow out of it soon.

  2. Good thoughts to Riley. All those abscesses must be scary but then he looked so good in the clinic!! Hope you can get it sorted out.

    We moved on from a trainer due to tightness of cavesson issues. Freedom of the mouth and jaw is something I couldn't compromise on.

  3. http://www.hoofrehab.com/


    Two sites that I enjoy and I hope that you will have a look.

  4. This is just shy of totally weird. One abscess, OK. Two starts to stretch it, but four?

    Here's hoping the shoeing will fix it once and for all.

  5. The good news about the bad news, is, the RH swelling is almost gone and the left continues to be clean/tight. He was worked yesterday. Thanks Val for the links -- I bet I've at least perused them online but with an endorsement I'll take a closer look.

    As my vet said, he had almost no heel. Perhaps it was time for shoes. The only other factor is that he is in a ring treated with magnesium chloride. The barn manager told me some horses don't tolerate it.

  6. Maybe he's just getting all his "issues" out in his youth. Hopefully after this, he will have a clean bill of foot health for the rest of his life. I hope it turns out okay :).

  7. i have a horse that abscessed really badly but in his front right he was three legged for nearly a month dispite the bute he had to go on some really stong antibiotics which we injected intraveiniously (if thats a word!!) subsequently i keep his front two hoofs with pads AND shoes
    he is very flat footed and this helps him with sensitivity ..he even moves alot better.when he got the abscess he just had two front shoes no pads.. it might be worth asking the farrier if this could help protect his feet..BUT just because he is unshod behind he stiil should have heals!!

  8. I, Fenway Bartholomule, can sympathize. You see, I have an mulelike swelling in my hock and my poor FarmWife is so worried! I have no discomfort, except that I am concerned about her. Now I shall be concerned about you, too! I will think mulishly healing thoughts for your equine friend.


  9. Why is the flash so important to your trainer? Doesn't the trainer know how to work without it?
    If Riley is so green, can't you do this starting work yourself? It must cost a lot of money.

  10. When I saw Riley wearing a flash without any resistance -- totally quiet mouth, happy expression -- it became a non-issue for me. At four, he has the maturity to accept it, so it's not a problem for me.

    Yes, it is expensive. I want him to have the best start possible, and I can't provide it myself.


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