Thursday, November 26, 2015

Harvey's hind legs: Thankful for the darndest things

 First off, let me say that I've been predicting, and dreading, Harv's demise since he was sixteen. Call me a drama queen, it's always the worst case scenario that I jump to.

This fall has been rough, with Harv's laminitis bout, weight loss (subsequently regained), and the continuing decline in his neurological condition. On the Friday of Labor Day weekend I sat in a white plastic chair in Harv's paddock while he ate hay, waiting for the vet and thinking I was about to say goodbye.

Harv ain't havin' NONE of it!

Harv's hinds
The most recent concern? Well, in addition to his old age, arthritis, weight, neurological issues, Cushings, and such, he has thrush. I am trying to keep them picked out more diligently, but on a neuro horse this is a safety concern. When working with him in the paddock, often at night, he would not let me pick up his left hind for love nor money. I tried bringing him into the barn but he was so upset at being away from his buddies, he would not stand still, even briefly. He'd step sideways, often stepping right on his other hoof, and it's no fun crouching under him while he trips himself up that way. That hind end is not under control, and safety is a concern.

I wondered if Harv's neuro issues had worsened to the point he was no longer comfortable standing on one hind. It does seem that as he moves his cannon bone is never straight up and down, but listing one way or another. He's continually catching himself from falling. I wondered how long a horse could go without having his hinds trimmed, I wondered how long he would be safe to be around.

Last night!
At last it is cold enough that all of the horses stay in at night. I went out to see Harv, and again tried to pick up the hind feet. In his stall, he just took evasive action. Finally I pulled him into the cross ties. He stood like a rock, and while he would not let me hold each leg for long, he did let me pick them up and quickly clean them out. If I can do this much, my farrier can do his job.

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