I bet you thought you would never have to read an update about Tristan’s feet again, huh? Joke’s on you, Tristan’s hoof saga will never end.
Quick recap for those who might be new: in the summer of 2012, Tristan sustained a stress fracture of the coffin bone in his right front. A piece of the bone separated and became badly infected. In March 2013, he had surgery to remover dead bone and clear out the infection. (You can search for “hoofgate” or “surgery” or “coffin” in the side of my blog, since apparently all my tags did not transfer from Blogger, a thing that I only just noticed now, several years later. I’ll work on that someday.)
Since then, he has gone through a variety of permutations to keep that hoof stable. For a while it was glue-ons; then he went back to barefoot for a while. For a few years now, he’s been in front shoes with pads because the last, lingering problem is that the spot on his sole, near his toe, where the surgeon went in to clean out the coffin bone has never quite been the same. Our best running theory is that the scar tissue grew back just a smidge more porous and less stable. If he goes barefoot for too long – two or three cycles – it invites bacteria and things go downhill from there. Basically, guaranteed white line in that spot with no real way to stop it except covering it up.
For the first time in a very long time, a week or so ago I was at the barn at the same time as the farrier, and Tristan was on the list. So I got to see his foot naked, which I haven’t seen in over a year.
If you look just to the right of the notch (an unrelated carve out of a spot of white line), you can see a patch near the toe that’s a subtly different color and texture. That’s the spot I’m talking about.
Overall: the farrier is quite happy with it! We did talk briefly about a possibly future solution for when Tristan retires: he’s been experimenting with doing a deeper carve out and then filling the hole with sturdy wax. He’s had success with that in horses with keratoma scar tissue, which is a very similar profile to what happened to Tristan. I opted against that because Tris is going so darn well right now; I don’t want to upset the apple cart. It’s definitely something we’ll experiment with in the future if he needs to step down in work, though.