Friday, August 21, 2009

Go West .... Women!

Dubois, Wy is our destination tomorrow to gather at Grace's house before heading into the mountains on Monday to ride pack horses up to base camp near the Grand Tetons to spend the week with our com padres. The final count is 16 packwomen with guides and cooks to lead and feed us (halter mares?). We will be on the look out for fab scenery and jackalopes....

Diez and TC went to Dr. Shipman's today for a laminitis check up -Diez, and to be companion- TC. Hoof testers show some tenderness in both of Diez's front hooves but the rear feet do not test tender. However, a little separation and development of "seedy toe" show that some damage was done to the rear hooves as well as more serious damage to the front hooves.

The good news is that Diez is improving and Dr. S is satified with her progress. She now needs a "four point trim" to concentrate weight on the four "corners" of each front foot and to get weight off the front/toe. Also, a couple of months with some shoes put on open side to the front. That will provide support on the hoof walls and leave the toe with less pressure to minimize the separation of the hoof wall from the sole.

The bottom line - as horse age and reduce work and undergo changes to metabolizm, risk of laminitis increases. The recent research on Equine Metabolic Syndrone indicates that the pattern of older horses developing laminitis (inflamation of the sensitive hoof wall laminae) and subequent founder (detachment of the coffin bone from the hoof wall and "sinking" toward the sole) is much more likely with an overweight horse and can happen in the same pasture where the animal has lived for many years with not obvious changes.

When no clear indication of laminitis is observed (not all horses show the "camped out" stance when they are in trouble), significant damage can occur before the horse shows lamness. So, any older horse (late teens and twenties) with a little extra weight especially with a cresty neck, should be watched closely when irregular rain patterns cause lush grass to come on after a dry period. TC is now 23 and certainly not thin, so I will reduce his feed a bit to try to reduce his risk of founder. Also, Sunny is always a bit cresty, and although he is much younger, his tendency to carry weight on his neck could indicate that he is at risk. Sunny's sire (I Stand Grand) was donated to OSU after he "road foundered" from a heavy show shedule. Perhaps he had a genetic propensity for laminitis?

So pat your ponies and watch your grass grow.

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