Monday, February 26, 2018

his majesty's royal dingdom

Yea, he's lame again.

No, it's probably not serious.

Yes, it's a different leg this time.

And no, I'm not amused.

all dressed up and nowhere to go
Backing up a little bit (again). Charlie's abscess blew out Sunday a week ago. And he got his feet done last Tuesday - a full trim and reset all around, replacing the right hind shoe that had been pulled for the abscess, and replacing the left hind shoe that Charlie lost in turnout.

we put him in a "stall" for time out while i jump crewed
By Wednesday evening, he was sound enough for me to hop on for a quick w-t-c ride followed by an easy hack through some fields. Thursday and Friday we schooled some more - nothing intense, and not super long, but good solid to-the-point flat work.

Charlie honestly felt pretty great too. I mean, I couldn't slow him down or steer him, but other than that he felt great. Like it would have been really easy to overdo it if I wasn't careful. I was careful tho and we kept things light and fluffy.

working him out a little bit under saddle first, trying to assess what was up
Saturday we came out dressed for the typical weekly jump lesson with trainer P, complete with our big-boy jump bridle. Tho I honestly wasn't really sure how much we would do, given the horse's recent time off from the nail + abscess (two weeks, not that I'm counting or anything....) and my worries about pushing the hoof before it was fully healed.

plenty of fine steps in there, but enough not-fine steps to bow out from a serious ride
It ended up not really mattering tho, bc after walking around for a while chatting with Brita and half joking about us not doing anything in the ride bc maybe Charlie would be crippled.... Well, we picked up a trot and yea Charlie was lame. Boooooo Charlie, boo.

And naturally Brita confirmed for me that it was the left hind too, as opposed to the right hind of recent nail impalement-turned-abscess fame.

i'm a meanie and made him trot some poles first tho (which he did perfectly fine)
Trainer P arrived in the arena soon after, and we jogged around a little bit for her. Charlie would mostly trot kinda ok, but very very tight. Almost (almost) just felt like his standard stiff weakness behind, except not quite. And he'd be going fine enough, but would then take like four really bad steps in a row.

he got steadily worse tho, sigh
We determined that I would skip any jumping, but maybe try to work him out a little bit on the flat. A little canter, which always improves his trot anyway, a few ground poles to ask him to push a bit more.... And again, he'd be fine but then not fine. And the "not fine" was progressively worsening.

so i just hopped off and parked him at a jump standard to hang out. he honestly seemed happy as a clam lol
Basically, seemed like we had ourselves a pretty classically ouchie hoof. And I mean, it *is* abscess weather out. Plus Charlie had spent a few days unintentionally barefoot on that hoof, and definitely made it sore from constantly resting the other abscessing hoof. So it's not really shocking that maybe his left hind is presenting as bruised or possibly also abscessing.

whoa somebody better go catch that wild loose runaway horse tho..... ugh charlie
It just kinda sucks tho. As it was, I figured I'd at least make myself useful up in the arena. So I hopped off Charlie, loosened his girth, and tucked away all his many loose straps, then parked him in a "stall" made of ground poles at one of the standards so I could help set fences and take video for my friends.

lesson mate C had to go wrangle the runaway lol
Wouldn't ya know Charlie basically stayed put too? He's such a ham, I swear. I'm convinced that he likes being part of the action, likes being up in that ring with all the horses. Especially when the jumping starts and everyone is hanging out in the center while one person jumps at a time.

bella did some wranglin too
He almost acts as if he's just taking a very long break haha. Just hangs out, watches the other horses go. Accepts whatever scratches and pets might come his way from passing grounds people. But otherwise just.... lounges around.

mostly tho, charlie just chilled
Tho naturally after standing around stationary for a while, he was suuuuuuper crippled. As evidenced in the earlier gif. Blargh. Except he walked back to the barn afterward just fine. And also walked out to the field yesterday morning just fine too when I checked on him.

he found my hairnet to be quite entertaining (helmet was hangin on other side of the standard)
In fact, it's entirely possible that it isn't even an abscess or hoof bruise. It's possibly even just some random fungus on a small inconsequential wound Charlie inflicted on himself by somehow (?!?) catching his left hind on the bucket his right hind was soaking in about two weeks ago. Because obviously Charlie would do a thing like that. And now that scab is looking sore and irritated by all the wet mud.

oh charlie. what are we gonna do with you buddy??
Who knows tho, ya know? Like, all I could muster after watching my horse come in from the field fine, walk up to the arena fine, and then quickly devolve into three legged lameness was.... a shrug. Idk. He's lame again. He'll probably be fine. Probably.

And at least this time I had already bowed out of our planned dressage show this past weekend bc he wasn't quite ready after the last abscess. So technically it doesn't count as another missed outing... or does it? Idk I'm losing track.

Charlie, for his part, certainly seems to enjoy playing the part of "pampered pasture pet." Hopefully he doesn't get too used to it tho! C'mon, buddy! We got stuff to do!!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

fo' snizzabel

Aside from sitting around feeling slightly panicky bc my horse was out of commission again, I've actually mostly been chuggin right on along lately.

Mostly boring stuff, as I'm sure you've already figured out. Lots of soaking and wrapping Charlie's hoof, and lots of quality time spent grooming him in the meantime (not that he doesn't still look like a mud encrusted orphan for all my efforts....).

But I also got to do some fun stuff! Like going with my friends to Loch Moy! AND!! Going back to Isabel's barn to visit with her and get to know her new lease rider!!

had to order more vet wrap. got a sweet multi color pack. hopefully will never have to use any of it ever again ever, but if we do, at least charlie will look fabulous?
Her former lease rider M was such a great fit and did such a nice job with her (pretty sure Izzy loved M way more than she ever loved me), but ended up getting a horse of her very own last Christmas. This was great for M, but not so great for Izzy, who has been sitting idle ever since.

But she's got a new lease rider now - a college student new to the area. And naturally Isabel wanted to pull all the same tricks on this rider as she did with me during our early days all those years ago. Acting like she was feral, being a bear to bridle, and just generally giving off vibes of being a wild, spirited, untamed beast -- rather than the seasoned professional we all know her to be in reality.

also tho, seriously can not say enough of these syringes!! highly recommend!
So I got to go and visit and tell the new rider, O, all of Isabel's little secrets. Namely: if you visualize everything she does through the lens of her reclining on a chaise longue while servants fan her with palm fronds and feed her sweets and treats, all her behavior starts making a lot more sense. In other words, she's a princess.

Plus naturally there were many tips and tricks about getting the princess groomed and dressed in a manner that befits her royalty. New rider O found this very useful, having not yet been able to bridle Izamonster on her own without help. So we got that taken care of.

it's an Isabel!!!!!! with her new rider!!!
Then I also got to hop on for a little ride to see how Izzy's doing and give O some pointers. Squeeeeee Isabel!!!! 

The mare is honestly kinda a hot mess right now tho haha. Like, last lease rider M did a fabulous job with her, but hasn't ridden her in a couple months now. The mare's just been sitting. So she felt very rusty and weak. It was so cool to be on her again tho! To start moving her around, asking her to give this way and that way. To stretch and be soft, but not curl or get behind my leg.

It was tough bc we were in the small narrow (narrower than 20m) arena and the footing was really bad - deep and soupy all around the track and short ends of the arena, and Isabel protested this very much. But we couldn't really stay off the track bc then the turns all got too tight and Izzy really isn't strong enough to hold herself up in tight turns right now.

oh memories <3
We worked through it tho and I rode her for maybe 15-20min. Mostly at walk and trot, working on her straightness and pushing her out, from her natural tendency to fall in. We did a little canter tho and it was a hot mess haha. Oh Izzy. You a fancy mare, but your canter's got nothing on Charlie!!

It's funny tho -- last time I rode her, when helping M first get started, it felt like coming home again after green green Charlie. This time? She felt familiar and comfortable to me -- but no longer felt like *my* horse. Maybe bc she's so rusty, she's not really going the way I like right now? Or maybe bc Charlie has come so far in his training that now *he* is the horse who goes exactly to my liking?

Who knows, whatever the case it was fun to ride her. Fun to aim her at the little cavaletti that she jumped every time adorably even tho I only wanted her to trot it haha. But it was also just as fun to hop off and hand the reins to O, and give her a little mini lesson on Iz.

ooooh but there's my boy!! under saddle!!!!!! and out hacking too!!!!!
Bc.... as much as I love that horse, and as dear as she is to my heart, and as invested as I will probably always be in ensuring she's safe and successful with her riding partners..... She's really not my horse any more.

Ultimately, Charlie's my guy. And my feeling of "coming home again" was last night, getting to sit on him again finally after he got all his shoes put back on!! And he's basically sound!!! Yay!!!!

This was naturally so exciting to me that I hauled him filthy out of the barn, having just knocked the crusted mud off his back and picked his feet, and hopped on for our first real ride in two weeks!!! And in daylight too!! Yay!!

It was like 80* tho (weather, go home, you are drunk) so we just did a cursory w-t-c before wandering out to the xc fields to hack around in the setting sun, wading through the water and walking up and down some little banks just for shits and giggles. Yessss. Feels good, man.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

still gonna call it a win

This past January I laid out some personal goals for my horsey endeavors this year. Specifically through the first quarter of the year, but also included a few overarching, longer-term biggies.

Most of these goals revolve around my own riding and Charlie's well being and development as an event horse. But one, in particular, was: "Be my friends' biggest cheerleader. Nothing has revolutionized my horse habit quite like having great friends to share it with - don't take this for granted!"

matching smiles post-ride :)
While the latest in Charlie's never-ending string of dings has taken us back out of the action again, all is not lost! Because our little team of riding buddies still got to head out to Loch Moy's Cross Derby last weekend, and I happily settled into my role of horse chauffeur, chief cheerleader and videographer extraordinaire.

Rachael and Birdie sailing like stealth ninja warriors over the corner
And it's funny because I'm so much braver when I'm not sitting on a horse in the moment lol. Like it was so easy for me to be like "oh you should totally jump that" when I knew my friends couldn't turn right around and likewise encourage me to challenge myself too haha.

Brita and Bella making a big jump look small
As it was tho, both riders had really great rides. Same as last time, the format at these Derbies includes about an hour break between each level for that level's riders to school whatever they please.

Bird's gonna need a bigger oxer!
Brita already had a pretty clear idea of her objectives after our first outing last month. Namely: school more of the T course. And Rachael aimed to knock some of the rust off and get solid, confidence-building reps for Birdie's first outing of the season. You'll be able to see in the video below that both riders were basically pretty freakin successful in meeting their goals lol. 

Bella says, "follow me this way, Birdie!!"
So obviously I was pretty happy to see both of them have so much fun. And also it was kinda reassuring in a weird way. Bc I definitely had some serious fomo going on, and admittedly had moments of feeling really bummed that Charlie had to be sidelined from an event yet again.

Birdie made the skinny T house look downright easy (hint: it's not easy!)
And lately those feelings of disappointment have been manifesting as self doubt, and hindsight that makes me question some of my choices.

For instance, it's no secret here that I'm naturally a pretty conservative rider. I plan things out very carefully, and spend a lot of time on incremental, intermediary and possibly unnecessarily small steps. Anybody who's ever asked me for advice on something like moving up will know that I'm a big believer in building confidence rather than trying to prove confidence.

Bella meanwhile cruised over the skinny T wedge like a heat seeking missile
As such, I made a lot of really conservative choices last season with Charlie. Like choosing to keep him at starter level through the first full half of the year. Or even this year, choosing not to run our timed round at last month's derby after he schooled so well.

In the moment, these choices make sense to me. They were made in the interest of establishing a rock solid base so that my horse and I would be as prepared as possible for challenges that lay ahead of us. And all of these conservative choices are made with the expectation of continuing the steady push upward and onward. I kept Charlie at starter level in July last year fully expecting him to go novice in November.

Birdie strutting like the superstar she is
We all know how that turned out tho. And history is repeating itself in miniature this winter too. I make these conservative choices early in the plan with the hope to be ready for an upcoming big challenge -- but then something happens (an abscess, splint surgery, a nail hidden in arena footing, another abscess...) and the 'big challenge' is postponed.

and Bella giving us a sliiiiiight heart attack pulling up three-legged in a dramatic reenactment of Charlie's nail impalement -- luckily she was just protesting a slipped boot!
And I'm left feeling.... underwhelmed by our accomplishments in hindsight, being only able to point to the fruits of my very-conservative choices. I know that Charlie is capable of so much more, probably capable of more than I'll be brave enough to face. I know in my heart that he will carry me to experiences I would've never dared dream of even a few short years ago. I know this.

But right now it's all kinda conjecture, ya know? And sometimes I wonder if maybe I've been making the wrong choices for Charlie. Like maybe I should have moved him up earlier last year. Or maybe I shouldn't have scratched from our timed ride last month. Maybe I need to spend less time thinking about my rides tomorrow, next week, next month, and spend more time thinking about where my rides need to go in the *now.*

happy horses all well back at the trailer post-ride, plus our favorite Lyra dog!!
Idk tho. That's not really my style. I just..... Idk taking the long view in riding just makes more sense to me. And knowing my own style as a rider, my own strengths and weaknesses, I know that being very careful with laying a strong foundation in the now will make for a safer, more fun experience later on when things are not so easy.

So mostly I'm just trying to resist that mind trap, resist that feeling of self doubt that says "you should have gone for it when you had the chance!" And resist giving in to the temptation of skipping ahead to where I so badly want to be.

Because watching my friends last weekend -- friends who have similarly taken their time with their horses and been careful and purposeful in developing their foundations -- Watching them go out so early in the year and knock it out of the park was really reassuring to me.

The process works. Charlie and I *will* get back out there soon. It's all ahead of us. It'll just take time. Probably just a little more time than I expect, given Charlie's status as King of the Dings.

I know I can't be the only one who deals with thoughts like these, fears of missing out or being afraid of going too slow, being too careful? Or maybe you're the opposite, likes it's always been easier for you to push onward?

Monday, February 19, 2018

he blew it, finally

I know a lot of bloggers try to avoid writing about endless wound or injury care. It gets boring, repetitive, and kinda.... idk, old? Which, ya know, I get. An abscess is an abscess is an abscess, right?

oh hey, btw, in between 40-60* days we got a couple inches of snow. go figure. and i swear, charlie is not as sad as he looks - this was one of his most comfortable days all week, as evidenced by him chillin quietly enough for me to step away and snap a pic. also i *swear* i stood him up inside the barn. he insisted on standing with his head outside tho.
But continuing along with my introspective theme from last week, on what reading blogs has meant for me -- and how much I've learned from all this -- I'm gonna go ahead and post all the details at hand on Charlie's post-nail-puncture abscess care.

dat's a big leg tho. started filling the pan extra high bc Mr Oh So Sore couldn't stand flat on it for a couple days
Mostly for my own documentation. And bc I don't really have shit else going on anyway (only sorta a lie, stay tuned). But also bc so much of what I know about abscess care is not from first hand experience. Rather, it's from observing friends and barn mates, or reading about it on blogs.

the addition of his hay bag to our kit was very much appreciated by Sir
So I'm sharing my own experiences here, to maybe either pay it forward. Or at least expel some words off my chest bc this gal's gotta write something and if it's gotta be about abscesses and soaking my horse's hoof infinitely and forever, so be it, right?

definitely helped pass the time! and apparently was better than takis lol
Anyway. Let's rehash the timeline, shall we? Wednesday a week and a half ago, Charlie stepped on a nail during a lesson. The puncture went straight up into his hoof about an inch, but somehow by the grace of gods missed all the critical structures within the hoof. And the horse seemed.... miraculously unscathed.

yea there's that snow i told you about 
We braced ourselves for the prospect of an abscess tho, and he did ultimately present with some signs of abscessing on Monday night: a very hot hoof and some very slight swelling around the pastern. Also a little lame, tho not classically "three legged" abscess lame.

Farrier pulled his shoe that Tuesday, and the horse ended up on stall rest through Friday morning bc of a very unfortunate miscommunication with barn staff. I had no idea he wasn't getting turn out - and only realized the error when he was suspiciously clean after being unblanketed on a 60* day and I had come to the barn prepared to chisel him out of a crust of mud.

the snow was esp pretty considering the ground was too warm to allow it to stick
Thursday also coincided with Charlie starting to really feel crippled tho. I had been soaking him in epsom salts and wrapping the hoof every day since Monday, but Thursday was legit his first really bad day.

Friday only got worse, and he managed to take off his other hind shoe in turnout. Go figure, after I gave the staff a hard time for not turning him out, he went ahead and wrecked his'self in turnout that very next day....

and natch about 24hrs later, same exact scene but 15* warmer and sunny. looks.... kinda similar? but feels worlds different
So he had one hind sore from the abscess, one sore from losing a shoe but also needing to constantly compensate for the other. Plus his diagonal fore was showing some signs of fatigue. And I legit began to wonder if the horse would goddamn founder on me. Bc Charlie.

I talked with the vet about my paranoia about missing some important warning sign from the nail puncture, and we set a date for "if he's not better by this point, we x-ray."

and, on this particular sunny nice day, charlie was feeling even better. yessss!
I also asked staff to keep Charlie in a small paddock after he lost the other hind shoe to avoid crippling him further on the gravel driveway (vet's rec, I personally am not convinced the road is any worse for him than constantly resting on the unshod hoof....).

His first day in the paddock -- Saturday -- he basically stayed under the run in roof quietly eating hay. Second day -- Sunday -- the barn worker called me soon after turning him out to say he was trotting around whinnying pitifully for his friends. Hallelujah. Horse wants to trot?? Yasssss. Toss that sucker back out with his buddies!!!

photographing a blown abscess is tricky when holding a wet, sore hoof in one hand and a cell phone in the other
I had hoped it was a positive sign he was feeling much better. Lo and behold, when I arrived for our daily bubble bath date that evening --- the abscess had in fact blown!!! Yay!!!!!!!

so i annotated with relevant landmarks. blue line is bottom of hoof. (charlie's shoe is pulled, and he's not generally a barefoot horse, explaining why this has a maybe odd profile). orange line is a very rough estimate of the nai's entry point. red line is where the abscess blew out.
 I mean, he's still lame on it. And I'm still paranoid. But. Ya know. Progress, right?

Anyway. I've been wrapping this hoof a few different ways prior to the abscess blowing. Mostly: a small pack of poultice sprinkled with epsom salts on a gauze pad pushed up into the groove where the nail went. Then vet wrap. Then duct tape.

I included a diaper once or twice, but it proved not effective in muddy turnout situations and lasted the worst, plus possibly irritated his cornet band, pastern, and fetlock the worst after filling up with absorbed mud and water.

Once I forgot vet wrap entirely and just did the gauze pad and duct tape. I was paranoid this would be a bear to get off his hoof the next day... but wet ground conditions basically rendered this nbd. And once I ran out of vet wrap and used elastikon instead. This was maybe the hardest to get off his hoof, but also lasted the best, tho it filled up with mud instead of blowing out.

same hoof, post-soak and post-betadine-flush
Each variation of wrap ended up blowing through the toe. Even when I used patches of feed bags at the toe, which had been recommended to improve longevity of a hoof wrap. Honestly I just think nothing could quite stand up to Charlie's constant resting of the hoof. Tho the wraps lasted longer and were less likely to end up around his fetlock on days he got turnout vs days he spent on his matted stalls.

The best system seemed to be packing the problem area with poultice, since that provided a sticky barrier to any mud that got in the wrap. Also, by the last few days it became apparent that the abscess would blow through Charlie's heel bulb (the telltale sign was his hypersensitivity to any sensation there), so I began slathering the heel with ichthammol too -- which helped prevent anything else from sticking too much to the hoof.

can't recommend this style of syringe strongly enough. they're fantastic -- with a very small diameter, curved tip that fits into basically any space.
Once it finally blew, I decided not to wrap it again bc the wraps just seemed to capture more mud, esp in the area of his heel bulbs. Vet agreed with this too.

So I just soaked again in epsom salts, plus a generous squirt of betadine this time too. Then after soaking, used a curved-tip irrigation syringe to flush inside the abscess pocket with betadine solution. The abscess opening was about a half inch slit, with maybe a nickel-quarter sized squishy pocket underneath.

Flushing it felt kinda gross tbh, but after having to flush his splint abscess wound it really wasn't that bad. This syringe was great tho. Really really good for this job. And I'm oddly relieved to have a fresh supply of them in my first aid kit bc it seems like a versatile tool, esp for a Charlie Horse.

so ya know. he's probably going to live.
So now the hope is that we're on the other side of this thing. It's hard bc it's mud season and keeping the hoof clean is impossible. But I'll do my best. And hopefully the farrier will deem him good to shoe tomorrow too. He needs done on all four anyway, but I'm hoping the farrier sees no reason not to shoe that RH.

We'll see. I'm feeling optimistic. And after watching my best riding buddies fucking kill it this weekend at another Loch Moy cross derby, I am so so so eager to get back at it. C'mon Charlie buddy. I need you, man. Need you to move on from this!!!

Wish us luck!! And in the meantime, I'm curious: Since I've been at this for seemingly ages now, I'm finally feeling like I'm refining my first aid kit for abscesses. The only thing I didn't get to use from my kit are the animalintex pads, but that's only bc his didn't blow out the bottom of his hoof. Otherwise tho I'm kinda pumped by all these great new tools I'm using -- like those syringes.

What are some of your favorite things to have on hand for abscesses? Do you have a favorite type duct tape? I'm using gorilla tape. Do you like vet wrap? Or elastikon? Or diapers? Does it depend on whether your horse is getting turn out or not? And, for that matter, how do you decide on that? Are you like me, wanting the horse out as much as possible? Or does it depend on how crippled they are???? I'm curious!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

charlie eats a taki

And possibly has some regrets....

Aaaaaaaand that about sums up our weekend around these parts. Just the usual: depleting my horse's hard fought trust in me by feeding him spicy junk food haha. Mmmm takis....

Honestly I was surprised he even ate it, considering I tried harder than I'm willing to admit to get him to eat a peep last year, and failed miserably. I guess nobody can resist the takis tho. Not even horses.

Or ya know, maybe it's just something to pass the time while soaking that damned hoof. Either way, bless Charlie's entertaining soul lol.

I promise no ponies were harmed in the making of these gifs!! Can't say the same for the takis tho.... #gonetoosoon. Is your horse an adventurous snacker too?? Or have you already driven him to extreme skepticism by feeding too much weird shit??? lol....

Anyway, hope y'all are having a slightly more exciting weekend! And if not, maybe the horse-eating-a-taki-and-living-to-regret-it gifs were just what you needed?? ;)

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

the game's afoot

Get it?? See what I did there??? A foot?!?! Lolololol I crack myself up with the puns....

handsome boy. also, incidentally, currently not good for much else either.
The inevitable has become reality. Charlie's woe-befallen RH, of recent nail impalement fame, has indeed begun showing signs of abscessing. Sigh.

I had begun to hope we could avoid this entirely.... I mean, the spurting blood from the puncture seemed so promising! And he had become so comfortable!! I had even begun to tell myself that it really truly would be ok to school him purposefully again!

Alas, tho. Twas not to be. In fact, it all went down somewhat comically anyway.... In true Charlie fashion, naturally.

RIP horseware liner, you were gone too soon!
(for those curious tho, yes i absolutely went right on back and ordered another one....)
The foreshadowing: Charlie's normal sheet was still soaked from all our rain, so I had asked the woman who helps with blanketing to use my new Horseware liner and Mio sheet. Except.... dun dun dunnnn, I neglected to tell her about the clips on the liner for attaching it to the sheet's rear surcingle straps to prevent slipping.

Womp womp, you can probably see where this is going. Actually I know you can, bc the representative photo is literally directly above this text.

Suffice to say, Charlie shredded the liner beyond repair. I didn't even know if he took it off himself or if he needed to be rescued. All I knew was... that liner was DEAD. And whatever the case, I legit half expected Charlie to have maimed himself in some important way in the ordeal.

hm well golly gee wilikers, nobody could have seen this coming!
So the first thing I did after pulling him out of his stall that evening was methodically check each of his mud-encrusted limbs for blood, swelling or heat. And, Bingo!, I found two out of three where I least wanted to: his RH.

And it was hot. Dammit.

I guess it's possible that he somehow hurt that same hoof in some liner-related debacle. More than likely tho, we're still looking at fallout from last week's nail puncture.

fortune favors the prepared, eh??
So now we're back on full abscess protocol. Honestly I have no reason to believe this will be anything other than a normal, run of the mill abscess. Except that whole pesky "nail" business.... And the fact that it's Charlie and Charlie does things his own way.

But. The gist is: soak and wrap. Soak and wrap. Etc etc etc.

seriously tho. he's a good boy.
As far as I can tell, the nail hole is all sealed up. But I still cleaned up the hoof as much as possible before soaking it - rinsing in cold water and scrubbing with a stiff brush and hoof pick.

Then soaked in hot water with epsom salt generously poured in, plus some betadine too just for shits and giggles.

terrible angle. clean hoof tho...
After soaking for what felt like forever, I then poked around a little more with the hoof pick (finding nothing) then packed with poultice and more epsom salt and wrapped up for the farrier to evaluate.

and if you only saw this post from when i accidentally published it yesterday, you would have missed this sweet post-farrier barefoot pic..... still no sign of drainage tho...
The next day, farrier was able to pull his shoe and look around a little more. But while there's definitely something brewing in there, there's no sign of drainage yet. So Charlie's back on the farrier list for next week, and in the meantime I continue to soak and wrap, soak and wrap.

"hm this isn't so bad!" - charlie, probably
So. Ya know. Whatever, right? It's not like we didn't see this coming...

Frankly I was already pretty convinced that Charlie would wait until Saturday morning, after I'd already packed the trailer and loaded everything up for Loch Moy, to announce his intention to abscess.

"oh wait, shit, i immediately regret that choice"
Silver linings I guess are that the organizers allowed me to apply my entry to a future event instead of forfeiting it entirely (which would have made it the 3rd lost entry out of the last 4 mailed out, including the end of last season... those ain't great odds, Charles!).

now that's what i call thinking
So.... That's basically where things stand right now.

Still no reason to believe there's anything more nefarious going on inside the hoof.... He's been too comfortable for too long to suggest any injury to any of the important structures. Theoretically.

And an abscess certainly isn't the worst thing in the world. Honestly it's abscess season right now anyway, with all the wet/dry/wet/dry cycles we've been having with rain and freezing conditions. It's still reeeeeally freakin annoying tho.

C'est la vie, tho, right?