It’s Saturday. As I pull into the driveway of the barn, I glance over at Alfie’s paddock, he sadly isn’t in it. It’s been 3 days, the abscess on his foot hasn’t blown out yet. Wait, I didn’t tell you about the abscess!
On Wednesday I went to the barn for our groundwork session. I’m walking Alfie around the arena to warm him up. We then start to jog and I notice that Alfie is lame at the trot. I stop, I check his front legs, nothing seems amiss there. I continue walking him and we start jogging again and there’s the limp. I text message Regina, the barn manager and ask her to come out of the warm confides of her house to see what her assessment is of Alfie. After a brief trot where she confirms he’s lame, she checks his front feet. Sure enough, there is heat on the inner portion of his front left foot. I send an SOS message to the farrier explaining that Alfie is lame and asking him to come ASAP to pull the shoe to see what it is we are dealing with. He messages me back and tells me he’s on his way. He arrives around 7:30pm, pulls the shoe off of Alfie and says he’s got an abscess on his heel.
This is really the first abscess I’ve had to deal with. There are a few ways to get the abscess to come to a head and burst or blow out. You can soak the hoof in a bucket of water and Epsom salts or you can wrap up the hoof with a baby diaper filled with Epsom salts and antibiotic liquid and using vet wrap (sticky bandages) and duct tape to secure it. Because of Alfie’s issues with water, we went with the diaper.
Abscess are like big pimples, once they break open the horse is no longer in pain and all is right with the world lol. Depending on how high up they are in the foot, it can take a day or several days for it to come to a head and break open. So to protect Alfie from doing any harm to himself while we play the waiting game, he has been on stall rest – meaning he’s not going out into his paddock with his horsey friends.
To help keep Alfie calm while he’s stuck inside, Regina leaves the radio on for him all day, tuned to his favorite music station – Country. I caught Alfie actually napping today in his stall – music really does sooth the savage beast.
Since Alfie is out of commission for a bit, my lesson or date today was with Maestro. I went up to his field to get him and he was excited to see his Aunty Judy.
Maestro is very similar to Alfie in he must know what you are doing all of the time. So while I’m brushing him, he’s turning his head looking at me until I finally just let him sniff the brush, and he was like oh ok, keep brushing me thank you 😂.
As we enter the arena to warm up, I feel a difference with him and his balance. He’s still leaning slightly towards the inside but after our lesson on Tuesday I am now better able to help him balance himself.
I know, you are all anxiously waiting to hear how our date turned scandalous. Well I will tell you. We did a lot of trotting today. And it was a nice forward trot. I also was able to get the diagonals correct most of the time.
If you are sitting there scratching your head wondering where the scandal is, well, it’s only our 3rd lesson, I mean date. This is very significant for me. Actually this is HUGE for me. I remember it taking many more lessons with Martini before I felt comfortable in not only my skills but trust in the horse before we even attempted to trot. Here I am on my 3rd outing with Maestro and we are trotting around the entire arena!! Now I’m still in the getting to know you phase but you know what I do know, my riding skills are so much better now, and so is my confidence. I owe so much of this to Martini.
After our date was over, it was time to take care of my Alfie. I walked him around the arena to let him stretch his legs and then Regina changed the diaper. While she was changing it she noticed that his foot is very hot which is a good sign that the treatment is working to bring this baby to a head. Fingers are crossed that it blows out in the next day or 2.
Driving home tonight my mind wanders to Alfie, Martini and Maestro. Three amazing animals who have so much to teach us. I’m so glad that I am listening to all of them.❤️🐴