A Dry Spell

Despite a few hours of rain one day last week, the grass is yellow and brittle and the ground is still hard as rock. Between the bugs and the concrete-like ground, Lucky has stomped his foot to chips on the left front. As I’m now officially unemployed (if you are wondering, about half that article is true and the other half is creatively phrased at best) and it’s Monday anyhow (a day I didn’t normally work) I was able to be at the barn for the farrier. I don’t normally get to talk to R. directly.

It was nice, first off, to see that Lucky is still by and large a farrier’s dream come true–stands, head hanging half-asleep, maybe turns his head back to see what’s going on. If anything he’s probably a little too stoic. It’s hard to tell when he doesn’t hurt and when he’s just being obedient. R. explored up into the crack, after rasping off the chips and flakes and telling me to go ahead and just do that when it starts flaking, and found that there was no sign of white line disease or thrush and it only went a little way up. His theory is the crack is probably the result of an old injury to the foot, and as long as we can keep it from getting infected, it appears to be growing out. So Lucky spent some time with a bag over his foot, soaking in medicine. I learned the interesting trivia that there is 90+% rubbing alcohol available, and the farrier mixes a bit with thrush medication to help dry out infections.

I also learned why Lucky’s front feet never appear to ‘match’ precisely, and probably why he prefers whenever possible to pick up the right lead instead of the left. It’s not a matter of trimming or the right having been the foot with the quarter grab. The farrier says he would call Lucky’s left fore a level one, maybe level one-half, club foot. It’s narrower, naturally higher-heeled and shorter than his right, and were we to shoe him he’d probably be a full shoe size smaller. The other foot, which he tends to put more weight on, is more prone to having a low heel, which is why it took longer to fix the long toe/undershot heel on that side. It doesn’t impede his way of going and (again, unless he’s the most stoic horse in the world) he has no pain or heat on that foot, but even if he had trims every four weeks, he would probably never have precisely the same shape foot on each side.

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