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*this* John W. Hays’ take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘farrier

Pain Transfered

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Don’t let this image fool you. Delilah is almost completely back to her old self.

Tuesday, when I got home from work, Delilah was so full of energy that she wouldn’t leave Cyndie alone. After they came in from a walk, Delilah grabbed one of her squeaky toys and begged Cyndie to chase her around the house.

When Cyndie laid down on the bed for a moment, Delilah started repeatedly hopping straight into the air for more attention.

If she has any leftover pain, it wasn’t readily apparent.

Last night I gave her a fraction of a walk, keeping the leash short so she would walk beside me, at my pace. She strained to speed me up the whole way.

Every indication is that she is feeling just fine again.

On the other hand, or I could say, hoof… Cayenne seems to have picked up where Delilah’s pain left off. That mare has suddenly become almost incapacitated over an apparent flare-up of laminitis in her front feet again, particularly the side that hadn’t previously been giving her as much trouble.

It is heartbreaking to watch her struggle to move. I immediately isolated her from having access to grazing in the pastures, closing her into the smaller paddock. It seems like too little, too late, to completely turn the tide for this condition which is proving to be rather chronic for her.

Cyndie said Cayenne didn’t show signs of a problem earlier in the day, so maybe by cutting off her grass-grazing right away, this flare-up can be calmed quickly. I fear it is all part of a trend for Cayenne that may be out of our control to alleviate.

We’ve spent the summer watching George shape her hooves in increments to improve the orientation and provide her some relief, but it is a long, slow process because you can’t trim too much at a time. Now, just when we were hoping to have her beyond this problem, she is showing a turn for the worse.

We’re very happy to have Delilah free of pain, but seeing an extreme discomfort move from one of our animals to another puts a damper on our urge to celebrate our dog’s improvement.

When our animals hurt, it tends to inflict a fair amount of sympathetic pain in us, too.

Ouch.

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Written by johnwhays

October 12, 2017 at 6:00 am

Beating Heat

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Although Arabian horses were bred to perform under harsh desert conditions, the humidity that we get with our high heat is enough to make all species a little irritated. In the summer, we offer our horses a warm dusty breeze that moves enough air to toss their manes and chase off some flies.

It actually seems like little comfort, blowing hot, humid air, but Legacy has taken a particular liking to it.

Delilah prefers to lay on the cool tile in the house. Her fur coat doesn’t allow for wind to be much help. Luckily, she is a big fan of sprayed water from the hose, so we can shrink her coat dramatically by getting her wet.

We are arriving upon my last weekend before the annual June biking and camping week. I will be looking for a way to spend some time on the bike seat without putting myself at risk of heat stroke. It would be really helpful if I could rig up a mount on my tractor instead, so I could sit on my bike seat while mowing the lawn.

Speaking of mowing, I will be picking up the old Craftsman rider from the shop this morning. Now I can return the borrowed John Deere and get back to my own rig. I’ll be able to find out if it runs well under intense heat, that’s for sure.

The summer heat has brought out the lightning bugs. With the strawberry moon glowing brilliantly last night, the neon green flashes dancing above the tall grasses made for a glorious nighttime walk with Delilah as I rolled the trash and recycling bins down to the road.

George has come back for the weekend while he is serving his farrier clients in the region. I tended to the horses while he trimmed our herd after dinner. Cayenne is making good progress. He removed her shoes and left her bare foot again.

It may be hot, but things here are actually running pretty cool.

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Written by johnwhays

June 9, 2017 at 6:00 am

First Shoes

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Baby gots new shoes! Sadly, it’s not all fun that led to this milestone for Cayenne. She has shown virtually no improvement in the last week with her painful inflammation of the tissue that connects the hoof wall to bones in her hoof. Cyndie has put in extra time with the horses to get them indoors overnight, where the footing is soft and the horses can spend extra time safely off their feet.img_ip1960e

Cayenne has also been receiving regular doses of anti-inflammatory medicine. Still, she continues to show signs of being so uncomfortable that she will resist walking down to the waterer to get a drink. Cyndie put out an additional bucket of water to accommodate Cayenne’s trepidation over crossing the crunchy distance to the usual waterer.

When the vet visited to confirm Cayenne’s laminitis diagnosis, he listed options related to the pending farrier appointment for our horses regular trim. He assured us that George would know what to do.

We started with a modified trim to help distribute the weight away from the most tender pressure point of Cayenne’s hooves. Since improvement was not apparent, we moved to the next level. Cayenne would get shoes.

Not just shoes, but also a leather pad that George enhances with the addition of a special void-filling concoction to maximize the protection of her sensitive tissues.

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img_ip1966eGeorge gave us extra attention at the end of his work day to squeeze in time giving Cayenne her first-ever experience of nails pounding into her hooves. She responded as well as we imagined possible and though obviously uncomfortable, stood long and calm while George fit the shoes and hammered them home.

Cyndie held the lead with a handful of hay as a ready distraction and Cayenne accepted the pounding on her feet as though she understood it was for a greater good.

The shoes are only on her front two feet, as those are the primary weight-bearing two and are giving her the most trouble.

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George finished the job with an application of hoof sealer that gave her a shiny look of high fashion. I’m sure she will be the talk of the herd with her new fancy feet.  Now we continue the anti-inflammatory meds and watch for improvement.

Hopefully, her pain will ease and we’ll have our healthy old Cayenne back to full activity in the shortest time possible.

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Written by johnwhays

March 5, 2017 at 11:07 am

Trimming Time

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dscn5609eAfter last week’s extremely cold weather, the swing of about 60° in the direction of warmer yesterday made our decision of waiting until this week to trim the horses’ hooves seem like a brilliant one. I thought Legacy looked particularly more limber than his usual self and credited it to the warmer temperatures.

Who doesn’t feel less tensed up when first day of winter turns out to be a melty, well-above freezing temperatures day?

Unfortunately this warm up comes with a threat of rain and some thunder in the days ahead, and for some areas near the Mississippi river, a flood warning!

What will they think of next?

George made quick work of the 16 hooves and Anneliese helped me finish the housekeeping in the space beneath the overhang. We were done before the sky turned dark. Pretty impressive for the shortest day of light.

dscn5614eFrom here on through winter, the days will be getting longer. I don’t know about warmer or colder, but they will definitely be getting longer.

Hopefully, they won’t get colder right away. Something is up with our geothermal heating system such that it doesn’t seem to be able to reach the set point.

During the cold snap, it was logical that it couldn’t keep up, but now that it has gotten so much warmer outside, the furnace shouldn’t have to work so hard.

Desirea shows off her new hoof-icure while munching from the slow feeder.

I think the horses are happy to have their blankets off. We’ll see what they think in a few days when rain, not snow, comes down from the sky.

Happy winter!

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Written by johnwhays

December 22, 2016 at 7:00 am

Nail Appointment

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The horses had their hooves trimmed yesterday. We are nearing the end of the season of rapid hoof growth, as the days grow shorter and the horses’ bodies shift their energy to growing a winter coat of hair. The hoof growth is still going summer-strong and combined with the wet weather we’ve experienced all summer, our horses’ feet have looked pretty rough around the edges.

Cayenne has received some special attention since her days of lameness when she developed an abscess on one foot. George has been slowly reshaping the hoof over a period of multiple trims to correct the way it will support her weight. She has one hoof that tends to develop a crack in it.

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The horses weren’t the only animals having an adventure here yesterday. Delilah was exposed to a wonderfully submissive female bob-tailed Australian Shepherd. We are always grateful for a chance to work on Delilah’s socialization, and this episode verified we are a long way from having control over her aggression.

Delilah is good at blocking out our attempts to command her to stand down, soldier. I’m afraid she requires reprimands that equal her outbursts, and I’m not sure our level tends to match hers.

I don’t know how to balance an intense level of reproach between that which would be effective and one inducing unintended trauma to her canine psyche. We got her when she was already almost 10-months old, not knowing the full extent of her early history, and it seems to us that she shows occasional signs of possible past trauma.

Cyndie is considering shopping around for a training school course this fall. She has my full support.

Our feline had a different sort of adventure last night. Pequenita was conspicuously absent overnight and this morning, such that it was the very first thing Cyndie and I spoke of this morning. Where was the cat?

She has a history of wanting to get outside. Last night we had company over and ate dinner on the deck, so were in and out of enough doors that ‘Nita had plenty of opportunities to sneak out. Our first thoughts were to look outside, but logic told me that there are plenty of indoor places where she might have gotten trapped behind a closed door.

With that in mind, it didn’t take long to hear her distant call from the storage room downstairs. She was thirsty and starved for affection, but otherwise unharmed by her overnight confinement away from her peeps.

We dive into another day of relative animal normalcy with our crew…

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Written by johnwhays

August 26, 2016 at 8:22 am

Hooves Trimmed

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Taking full advantage of the quick-dry we are enjoying this March, I was out raking the lime screenings on the upper slope around the barn and picking up the never-ending crop of manure the horses like to deposit there. DSCN2948eAs I often choose to do lately, I had Delilah tethered to an outside hook on the paddock fence where she was doing her best to behave like she was an integral participant in my project.

For whatever silly reason that only dogs can understand, she picked a perch that looked like she was claiming ownership of one of the piles I was trying to pick up.

I was hoping to get the area cleaned up in time for the scheduled appointment to have our farrier/neighbor, George Walker, give the horses their routine periodic hoof trimming.

We are starting to get the hang of the process and for the first time since he has been coming to do this, we prepared by getting a halter on each of the horses and tethering them up near the barn in advance. I give Hunter credit for this bit of wisdom, as he always played hard to get when it was time for his turn. George would be stuck waiting while tried to quickly talk Hunter into cooperating.

Quickly cooperating is not something he is inclined to do, especially when it is our agenda and not his.

Case in point, just getting him into his halter yesterday took 3-times longer than it did the rest of the herd. Having done so, the 4 horses were in an out of the hoof trimming station in record time. The only thing that slows down the process is all the precious gabbing we end up doing while George works.

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Written by johnwhays

March 15, 2015 at 9:52 am

Stitches Out

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We traveled to the big city yesterday for Cyndie’s follow-up appointment to have the surgeon’s nurse inspect the incision and remove the two stitches in the long wound. The way modern medicine closes surgical wounds in this day and age amazes me. Everything looks good and Cyndie says she is a lot more comfortable having that sticky bandage finally removed. Her movements have improved visibly as a result.

This morning our farrier, George, is coming to trim the horse’s hooves. It was scheduled on his calendar after the last appointment, but I had completely lost track of it. Luckily, he sent a text alerting me. Suddenly my morning routine is squeezed a bit.

The horses were in good spirits when I showed up to serve their a.m. feed and put out hay. I’m hoping they will be cooperative for me in an hour, because Cyndie will not be able to do more than offer moral support as I take on the role of chief handler for George as he works.

Delilah is another challenge. She has been hyper-focused on critters out the window and doing her worst to destroy glass and window trim to claw her way after them from inside. We have tried resorting to instant “time-out” when she loses control and jumps at the window, bringing her back to the spiral staircase and leashing her in place for a spell. After the second instance in a row this morning, instead of lying down in acceptance of her fate, she took to boldly barking her defiance.

I tried the “ignore” technique, because I was busy trying to write, but that didn’t help Cyndie. She couldn’t stand it. I understand that totally. There are plenty of times when I absolutely can’t tolerate the bark. It’s interesting that I was determined enough to try to finish my task with the looming appointment in the barn creating a tight deadline, that I was fine in this instance with letting the loud bark float in one ear and out the other.

The dog will unfortunately be restrained in her kennel during the hoof trimming today, since we don’t have enough hands to tend to everyone at once. Sadly, I think her time in the kennel while we were gone yesterday is the reason for her rambunctiousness today. It just means I will have to give her extra attention this afternoon.

I have taken to letting her run off leash inside the pasture fencing, while I toss discs for her to chase. The fence has worked well to keep her from giving in to the urge to dash off into the woods after some tempting scent, even though she can finagle under it if allowed. The lowest strand is not electrified, and I think she has figured that out.

Time to go prepare the horses for their hoof-icure appointment!

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Written by johnwhays

December 6, 2014 at 10:31 am