Thursday, February 16, 2017

Farrier Visit and Rabbit Prognosis

Last week we had our new farrier out to trim up some of the horses that were long overdue for a trim. I wanted to try a new farrier as our old farrier is looking to retire and was doing trims mostly as a favor. I'd slowly taken most of the horses off his route anyway but that meant that I needed someone to handle the more "challenging" horses, that is those that have ailments that cause them pain. It's not that my old farrier wasnt' good but knowing that he was looking to retire, I wanted to find someone who wouldn't mind tackling the Sanctuary horses. As I am finding out, if you don't have horses that stand perfectly still, many farriers wont' touch them. I don't blame them one bit, but finding a good farrier is hard.

And did we find a good one!!!!

Those that were trimmed last Saturday fell in LOVE with our new farrier. Usually there's a little bit of dancing and pawing. Quiet. Calm. Wonderful. Even Dude who is normally a jerk was on his best behavior. It could very well be that our new farrier is a woman and because I'm typically the only one handling the horses, they respond better to women. Or, our new farrier is just that awesome. Either way, I'll take it.

So the first horse up was Rabbit. She's been off on the right front for awhile now. And when I saw "off" I mean dead lame. I'd had the vet out last year to do x-rays and found nothing in her foot to show she had anything wrong. I had suspected laminitis or ring bone. Nope. The vet said her feet look perfect. There was nothing wrong with them. Well, now what?!?! He suggested she just needed a really good and regular trim (i.e., the polite way of saying be more consistent with her trims). But she's always been a handful for trims. But there in lies the problem....she wouldn't stand still and would pull her foot away almost immediately.

So the new farrier tested her feet out and knew that she only had 20 seconds on the "good" foot because Rabbit was putting all her weight on the "bad" foot. After doing a trim on the "bad" foot, our farrier concluded that the lameness has nothing to do with her feet. Although slightly irregular and not cosmetically looking pretty, there was nothing wrong with either her two front feet.

What's wrong with her then?!!? Her shoulders!!! Where along her assorted life, she somehow hurt her shoulders and that pain is conveying itself in her feet when she's walking. So the lameness has nothing to do with her feet but all in her shoulders. I'd been giving her a Vitamin E supplement because she always acted like she was a touch me not and any time you touched her she'd flinch...not out of worry but out of pain.

The farrier touched Rabbit's withers and kept light pressure on until Rabbit shook, like a horse would after getting up from rolling. The pressure wasn't that much or that long before she'd shake. So it's all in her shoulders. Now the question is what to do.

I need to do some research, and haven't had time yet (been sick with this weird bug and have had sick kids). But do I have a chiropractor work on her (although at this point, I think it would be too much), get her a massage and see if even the muscles could relax enough, or try acupuncture. I tried acupuncture once before on Dude but the experience didn't go well for multiple reasons. But this being Rabbit and not Dude, I wonder if she'd benefit from it. I'd like another opinion but after the farrier and taking Lightening in for a float, the money isn't there yet to do any exploratory testing on her. So for now, I'll start my research and see what comes of it. I know she'd welcome a thorough grooming or massage. Does anyone want to give Rabbit a massage for Valentine's Day?

So I think our farrier is a keeper! After the quick prognosis she did on Rabbit, Rabbit was relaxed and even took a step towards her. Which she normally doesn't do. It was a pleasure to see Rabbit relaxed and WANT to be in someone's space.

The other trims went well. I was a little worried about Dude because of his hips but he behaved like a gentleman. I about fell over because he wasn't a jerk. Lightening was the only one that didn't behave as well. But that's a matter of figuring him out. Although he allows me to pick up his feet, he apparently has never had his feet trimmed. So it'll be something to work on with him. He's also not used to multiple people working on him. He got nervous when the farrier was working near him. It's the same nervousness that he showed when I first hauled him for practice. So I guess I'll need to start working on desensitizing him to other things...and people. I had hoped more from him, but as I look at Mayhem, I have done the same to her...not exposing her to much and she's the youngest in the Sanctuary.

But overall, it was a great experience and I learned a lot. I am looking forward to next month when we tackle some of the other Sanctuary horses.

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