farrier · rehab · surgery



For the first time since August 14, when I finished my weekly lesson with a feeling of disquiet and thus started our endless diagnosis/treatment cycle, last night I saddled my horse, put his bridle on, and sat on him.

He was good as gold. Even though I’d closed every door to the indoor and alerted the barn manager, he stood at the mounting block and walked off sensibly. I don’t know why I expected him to forget everything he’s ever learned in the past 9 (!!!) months, but he responded willingly when I asked him to stretch down, to have a teensy bit of bend in the corners, to go on a 20 meter circle.

We walked for 20 minutes in the indoor. I didn’t ask for anything complicated, just to stretch down a bit into my hands, bend a little bit, access the inside hind on a circle. He was quite short behind but even up front – I couldn’t feel a hint of a problem in that RF. At the end of 20 minutes I could feel him getting the smallest bit muscle-tired, but he was definitely better in the hind end.

I could have ridden forever, and got a little teary at one point. He is the absolute best, and I am so glad to be riding him again.

The plan is to stay at 20 minute walks in the indoor through the next week at least, then start hacking outside for 30 minutes, whether fields or road work. I am a teensy bit nervous about how his soles will hold up on the dirt roads, with all their rocks, so I want to work on getting them tougher before we do that – lots of Durasole.

Tonight, I’ll take pictures of his new glue-on shoes, which are kind of funky looking. The farrier also used epoxy to clean the whole RF up, so it looks practically normal save for the scar tissue lump that’s slowly working its way down the hoof.

In conclusion, \o/

farrier · surgery

Patience, patience, patience…

The formalin/iodine mixture wasn’t doing the trick on Tristan’s scar tissue, so last night the farrier cut the tissue out and then cauterized the wound. He also took away a bit of Tristan’s hoof wall to make sure the final bits of abscess hole are oxygenated, and that we have access to the last bit of healing tissue to clean it out regularly. I have to say, even with a little crescent cut out of the front of his hoof, this is the best it has looked in months – almost a year, in fact. I forgot to take a picture from the front, but here it is from the bottom.

The best part? Tris behaved for the farrier to do all of that without drugs, and without me even there! He texted me that he was going to go ahead and cauterize (which was something we’d already discussed as a possibility on Monday) and then when I got there he had just finished and said Tris was fine. This from the horse who back in November tried to kill the farrier when he tried to trim and shoe him. WHOO!

He should be getting his shoe on this morning. I made the extremely poor life decision of going to a midnight showing of Star Trek last night and registering for a 5K walk tonight, so even if I have enough energy after that walk my lack of sleep will still force me straight to bed.

Tomorrow, I pack breeches. \o/

farrier · surgery

One shoe down…

This morning, after much waiting and gnashing of teeth, I met the farrier to glue on Tristan’s fancy new shoes.

I tranq’d him, and it took forever for it to kick in, because we moved him to a different barn and he was very snorty and fussy.

Then the farrier pulled of the duct tape booties and showed me the trim he did over the weekend. Tris stood great for the trim and for a CleanTrax treatment over the weekend, and his foot looks WAY better.

The farrier used a dremel to really, thoroughly clean out Tris’s foot, getting the last of the dead sole carved out.

He also did some regular clean up trimming.

Then he started to glue on Tristan’s left front shoe.

It took a long time set because it was so cold outside it was actually snowing, and even through the tranq he started fussing because he was so sick of holding his leg up – his shoulder was trembling for the last minute.
Then when we looked at his right front we saw that the small bleeding that had started in his scar tissue was still going. The vet who was there looking at other horses took a look, and we jointly decided to hold off puttin the right shoe on for a few days to heal and toughen up the scar tissue. So he will get a formalin/iodine mixture painted on the tissue for three days, twice a day, and hopefully by Wednesday it will be ok to take the shoe.

So I just have to be patient for a few more days…
Tris was still drunk when I left, leaning against his wall and napping pathetically.

abscess · surgery

8 Weeks!

Yesterday morning was Tristan’s 8 week check, and it went spectacularly all around. Vet was thrilled with his foot, with the care, and really with everything. She was not terribly worried about the crack in his foot.

The farrier is on his way back from Florida right now, and as soon as he arrives back in Vermont he will trim down Tristan’s front feet, put his shoes back on, and then Tris is cleared to go back under saddle!

Possibly just as exciting, no more wrapping! I will spray some AluShield on the hole to form a barrier, and flush it regularly to clean it out and keep it pretty good, but at this point it can grow down and heal on its own.

I’m excited to ride again, and I’m excited to start getting the sole of that foot in better shape. It’s really bad right now – crumbly and soft and just gross. I’ve ordered some Durasole to use on it to start toughening it up, and I’ll probably also do some thrush treatment on it. The LF foot responded quickly once I started treatment; I expect the RF will as well.

Here’s a comparison shot to show how far the original abscess hole has grown down, and to show the nasty crack:

And here’s the bottom of his foot. You can see some of what I’m talking about with the sole!

farrier · surgery

Another Day, Another Setback

I can’t exactly claim to be surprised. This is exactly what the farrier predicted would happen.

Sometime in the last two days, the small crack leading from Tristan’s surgery hole to the abscess hole has become a large crack. As in, I can now see daylight through it and with pressure move the two parts separately. The toe has grown out enough that walking on it has pulled the crack wider. Ugh.

He does not seem sore, but obviously his hoof should not move like that. I would guess that increased movement would put him at risk of an even bigger crack. So he’s back on complete stall rest, poor lad.

I will check in with the vet and the clinic in the morning, but I suspect our way forward is to keep him quiet and get his foot trimmed and a shoe put on as soon as possible – which could prove problematic, as the farrier may not be back from Florida for another few weeks…


Six Weeks

Tristan’s surgery was six weeks ago today, making this the low end of his recovery period estimate.

He is for all intents and purposes sound, and has been out of his boots for a week now. I am still flushing and wrapping his right front every two days, but finishing off the wrap with duct tape instead of his boot. He gets turned out in the indoor for as long as he behaves, which is longer some days than others. On days when he’s not turned out we handwalk for 20 minutes.

He is still growing tissue in the hole, and it’s tough to say how long that will continue. There is definitely some hoof growing back as well. The quality of his soles is not good from being in the boots, and his right front heel has rubs.

Mentally, he would like to be off stall rest, and he could be if it weren’t mud season. His foot is still not quite healed enough to disregard the muck and standing puddles.

Life after the surgery is starting to seem real. I brought my bridles home to clean and I am starting to think and talk about riding again. It’s possible that we will start short rides soon, just keeping his foot wrapped and staying at the walk.

Here’s what his foot looked like after flushing this morning.

dentistry · massage · surgery · vaccines

5 Weeks!

Yesterday, Sunday, Tris got a massage. He was tight in some of the expected places: in a muscle that runs from his poll down to his right front, in his back from his colicky episode, and in his hind end from the funny movement in his boots and the hill work. All surface tightness – no adhesions or strains.

Then this morning the vet did a 5 week check on his foot. She was THRILLED with the way it has responded to the metronidazole, said it looked (and smelled!) terrific. We jogged him out on the hard dirt road and he has a teeeeensy bit of residual tenderness in the RF when turned on a hard circle, but totally understandable given that he still has exposed tissue there.

She was concerned about the deterioration of his soles, however, an in consult with the surgeon decided to leave the boots off when he is in his stall, put them on for turnout and handwalking only, which should start to dry them out and toughen him up. Surgeon also recommended treating with Wonderdust occasionally 1-2x a week to start toughening up the tissue.

Finally, he got two more vaccines – West Nile and Potomac Horse Fever – and then had his teeth floated. He did really well for that and the vet let me feel around in his mouth to feel the sharp edges and what they felt like once he had them floated down. It was really, really neat!

In conclusion: drunk dentist pony.

surgery · turnout

Happy pony

Tristan’s wound is definitely starting to turn into hoof material – it’s hardening and the edges are crowding in. He continues to be sound and last night and today we hand walked outside. It was even dry enough outside today that I put him in a small paddock with a pile of hay before I left, and the barn staff kept an eye on him for an hour or two of turnout.

Massage on Sunday, 5 week checkup on Monday, and then another few weeks of being careful and maybe I get to start riding!

Here he is as I left him this morning.

farrier · surgery

Farrier checkup

All’s well! Tris was stoned out of his mind from the dermosedan gel, and did great for his farrier appointment.

Hole continues to look good, 4 weeks out today, and the bottom holes are allllmost gone. They’ll go at the next appointment. Once the foot grows that far, we’ll start to worry about the next hole, the big one. It’s got a crack leading up from the smaller one and a bit of hoof wall that may well separate and be wide open. We’ll address that when we come to it. The mushy bit was just dead sole, not an abscess. His sole is in tough shape with the constant moisture of the boot.

In the meantime, keep on keeping on. Up to 15 minutes handwalking each day now, and incorporating poles to work his back a bit.

Scroll down for the updated foot pic.



So much for my well-behaved pony – it really was too good to be true. Last night I thought I’d do some handwalking outside, maybe incorporate some hills. Tris started off great, and then threw a bucking fit for the remainder of the walk back to the barn, when he wasn’t jigging.

Tonight, we went up to 15 minutes of handwalking, and he only had one short fit, but when I turned him loose in the indoor he rolled and rolled (flipped over 7 times!) and then came up bucking like a lunatic. He circled the ring bucking and cantering and came to a sliding stop in front of he when I called him over.

Flushing and soaking tonight was not the easiest – I mistimed it and the other horses got dinner while we were soaking. He did not approve, and took a few steps back toward his stall out of his boot.

The tissue is starting to grow in hoof-colored, which I am assuming is keritanizing, so that’s good. The worrying part is that there is an area just to the left of the hole that looks and feels mushy – with what looked like a small hole – and I am wondering and worrying if perhaps it was an abscess that has burst with the soaking. It might mean there is still internal infection. I’ve sent off another email to the clinic. We’ll see.