Yes you read that right! We’ve got some good news! Or at least better news, but I’m going to take it.
It’s been very hard for me to watch Amber being unhappy, and simply for her sanity as well as how much that RH seemed to really bother her, I was very prepared to hear not-so-good-news upon her appointment on Tuesday. But the new farrier came (early even!) to meet with the vet, and we walked Amber just a teensy bit to see how she was doing. The vet asked for a few trot steps, so when they did Amber went into a full on dolphin leap (thankfully no kicking back tho haha!) and shook her head like the wild thang she was before walking again 2 seconds later lol. She was extremely lame – pretty much three legged at the jog – but I wasn’t really expecting much else. It still wasn’t what we were hoping to see, but it seemed like the little fun leap was just enough to help her feel better. Her ears were forward and her eye was happier.
She got some happy juice to make sure she stood on the wood for the x-rays and we took one of her RH and LH. I certainly breathed a sigh of relief when I saw the x-ray for her RH to find that it looked just fine. I’d been seeing her foot change over the past few weeks, but I haven’t ever kept so close of an eye on growing bare feet before, so what I was seeing was just normal growth and a too-long toe. Thank god. Pretty simple for that foot – knock the toe back a bit, take of a teensy bit of foot, and good to go.
When the x-ray came in of her LH I couldn’t believe my eyes. SO MUCH BETTER. I just about deflated onto the ground lol. She’d grown a little more than a centimeter of sole, and while the rotation looked worse, it actually wasn’t. It was just how things were growing that made it look that way. So just a bit more shaving of the toe to help that angle. The new hoof growth is making the foot look a bit weird, but you can see that it’s starting to grow straighter – parallel to the coffin bone rotation. So, Doc tasked us with another check up about 4 months from now. He was encouraged by the amount of sole growth in the last 8 weeks, so it’s now a matter of letting the hoof grow out and seeing if perhaps the foot may be okay depending on new hoof growth and all of the variables around it. But, that 1.1 centimeters of growth also made sense as to why she was actually able to put so much weight on that foot despite it still being laminitic.
The only immediate worry that remains is her right stifle. She was dead lame on it, and I had considered that maybe a steroid injection would help. Doc answered before I could ask, but he didn’t want to do a steroid injection to help that inflammation since there was a small possibility that it may negatively affect the laminitic foot. Which I’m totally okay with. It’s still saddening to watch her be so uncomfortable with her leg, but I’m relieved that her foot is looking a bit promising. I’m going to be honest that while I think we’re out of the immediate woods, I’m not letting my hopes get up too high. She’s more comfortable now for sure, but that stifle is still a point of a lot of pain for her and we can’t do much about it right now. So I’m relieved, but I’ll be keeping my eyes open and watching to make sure it doesn’t get to be too much for her.
With some last instructions from the vet, the new farrier proceeded to work on her feet. He did her fronts first, and I was pointing out to him what I wanted done. Not sure if I’ve mentioned this yet but I’ve been thinking for the past few months (since about April) that Amber’s RF problems with that tendon and her tripping were due to improper shoeing of that foot. About 2 months ago I noticed her LF beginning to show the exact same signs, so I tried being proactive about it but I was brushed off. So yay for farrier woes (and of course me feeling terrible since the inflammation and tripping started November of last year and I didn’t notice it/put it all together). Right away the new farrier agreed with me on Amber’s front feet, and I love how her feet look!
He was super kind with Amber, letting her nuzzle him as she likes to do to poor farriers, and he’d pet her nose and her face and pat her. She was extremely relaxed with him, and I’m very glad! When my curiosity got the best of me and I just started asking all sorts of questions, he very happily answered every single one. And so many of the answers were things I’d never heard before or even thought of, and it was really cool. Like why he uses copper nails instead of the nails most other farriers use, or why he was putting the nail holes in different places, or the type of shoe he was going to use so that Amber would have an easier time breaking over where she needed to. He loved her feet tho, and said she had some of the best, hardest feet he’d ever done and that I could keep doing what I’m already doing for them – which is nothing haha. I was definitely super happy when he said Amber was one of the best-mannered horses he’d ever done. Phew! We may have to split her trim times – 8 wks per vet instructions for the hind feet and whenever her fronts are starting to look long or need a trim which is generally around 6 weeks, but I think it’ll work out.
Along with that, now that we’re on a slightly positive trajectory, I can step back and assess some things a little more objectively. Namely, I honestly can’t keep pouring money into Amber like the stifle injection. It makes me sad, but I know at this point that it just wouldn’t really make that much sense. It feels a bit like I’m giving up on her, but logically I know I’m not. I know she isn’t going to be a riding horse anymore, and while I want her as comfortable as she can be, she’s going to have as spoiled a retirement as I can give her for as long as she’s with me and I think that’s fair. I also honestly don’t think that stifle will ever stay good enough no matter what I do. There were just so many issues surrounding it at the time of surgery that I don’t think it got the best shot at healing 100% and it’s okay for a little but even the slightest bit puts it out of whack. So, it would be better to start pouring that money into other things, namely lessons and a future horse whenever that may be. She of course will still get the royal treatment – she would never accept anything less lol – but you know, no supplements or that sort of thing. Just the bare minimum, since let’s be honest she still looks like a tank and she’s not even remotely fit haha! A difficult keeper she is not lol.
I’m just….really relieved to finally hear something positive. I feel that ever since her surgery we haven’t had one positive vet visit, but things are a little better now. A good farrier, finally some good news, and a happier horse. I can’t ask for anything else at the moment.