Sunday, August 29, 2021

Fat Pony

 What to do when you've been trying everything to get a laminitic pony sound for 2 years?  (Translation for sensible people who aren't afflicted with horses: this horse doesn't process his carbs well, so his feet swell within the hoof capsule and make it exquisitely painful to walk).

We've tried specialty aluminum shoes, grazing muzzles, restricted grazing, low starch diet, the vet school administered shots into his joints, orthopedic boots (with snazzy socks)... some worked for a while, some were as useful as a wet cardboard box.

This week, Dr. Taylor has gotten involved, she's an equine podiatry specialist from Auburn.  I've known her for years, worked for her family for a decade. 15 years ago she was the only one who tackled a crippled Clydesdale I'd rescued and that other vets recommended turning into Alpo.

Bella lived a great life for many years.  

All this to say when Dr. Taylor started to say: "What you're going to need to do....", I grabbed pen and paper.  It's her favorite saying, I've heard it many times before.

No grazing for at least 6 months.  Nothing with any sugars in it.  Small meals of timothy hay soaked 45 minutes to leach out carbs.  Sand under his feet at all times for cushioning.  Shelter from rain and the heat of the sun.  (There was more...a 30 minute conversation more!  I'd bore you to death with the rabbit hole we went down into the nitty gritty of equine nutrition and hoof anatomy)

All this and still maintain him in the herd, as another vet says: "emotion is the lotion".  A depressed, isolated herd animal won't thrive.

During the mornings, Blue hangs out in a large grass-less paddock with Titan.  In the afternoons, he has the paddock to himself because Titan has to go into his air conditioned stall to alleviate his advanced Cushing's symptoms  When the main herd returns from a day of grazing, we lock them all in the paddock for a few hours to force them to take a break from grazing, and to let Blue mingle with friends.  Around dusk, the two horses that have air conditioned stalls are released back to general population and they all head out to their respective evening pastures (they graze together during the day, but are separated into 3 smaller hers at night to prevent fighting)... except for Blue.  We didn't have a good place to keep him grass-less, yet still able to see his buddies and get nose to nose with them, whilst not mess up the current evening herd arrangement. 

Until now.  Sunday, I grabbed concrete, posts and a new gate.

Gotta work fast, Hurricane Ida will be hitting us with outer bands by Monday night.

I don't know how many tons of concrete I've mixed by hand in my life.  The Boonies alone has over 3700 lbs of it that I mixed with water I had to hand truck up there and mix by myself (those posts and the barn I built out there are not going anywhere any time soon). 

By 7 PM I surmised the concrete had cured enough for me to lightly affix some fence boards onto the posts.  

BEFORE YA FREAK OUT, THIS IS TEMPORARY. I was running out of daylight within the hour.

Monday, when staff returns, we'll remove the panels, cut and level them.  Then mount the gate.
But, for Sunday night, the Blue is in his new evening paddock.  

"Who loves ya, Little Buddy?"