The opinions expressed in previous entries may or may not express the current opinion of the author.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

A Couple of Hoof Notes

1.  An Arabian mare with a dodgy LH - she finds it hard to keep her RF up as a result of the issue with her LH.

I notice that before she lifts her RF, her LH - which she likes to keep parked well in underneath her - has to be set out to the side in order to accommodate the change of balance. After a few moments, it gets to be too uncomfortable, and she moves the LH back in underneath her. Then - and only then - she finds it impossible to keep her RF off the ground, and she takes it away.

I think it's significant that she moves her LH in order to be able to raise her RF, and when it's too much, she doesn't snatch her RF away but only does so after moving the uncomfortable LH back into the position she favors, whereupon she finds that she has to put her RF back on the ground to keep her balance.

She and I develop a little routine. I ask (and do not require) her to lift her RF. She paws the ground a couple of times with the LF in complaint. Then she re-arranges her LH and picks up her RF for as long as she can stand it. When it's too much, she moves the LH back into the more comfortable position, and I'm ready to put her LF down.

The owner is not sure what's wrong with her leg, but says the mare has been having mastitis or something, and perhaps she's holding her leg funny in order to protect a painful udder .... ?

2.  A buckskin gelding, a retired school horse. He has a stifle issue. It's always a stifle issue, isn't it? Everyone wisely pronounces this, and I find myself doing the same thing whenever there's a leg problem: "Hmm, looks like his stifle." In this case, however, it really is his stifle, according to the owner.

The day before seeing this horse I'd been musing on our old Appaloosa mare, an extremely cooperative and intelligent character. She had soundness issues which made it difficult for her to stand on three legs.  When the farrier came to trim her feet, however, she helped us to figure out a way to accommodate this problem. She would rest her head on one person's shoulder, lean her hip against another person, and lean her tail against the wall. I'd been thinking that I hadn't yet come across another horse who so cleverly and obligingly figured out how to help in the trimming process.

Until this buckskin gelding. He was having a hard time letting me work on his RH, as this required him putting weight onto his painful LH. I suggested to his owner that she stand by his left hip to prop him up. He must have understood something of what we were trying to do, because lean he did - but onto me. Not a good plan. I thought it was clever, though, and suggested that we try standing him with his left side against a wall.

Right away he got the idea of using the wall to lean against, and I was able to work on his RH with no problems.

He's a very nice character, and it was pleasant to work on a non-reactive, mild-mannered, tolerant, wise, been-there-done-that kind of a horse. For a change!

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