Monday, February 20, 2023

chipping away (puns)

It's a relief that Charlie's moved on from the most critical phase of his gargantuan gravel-induced subsolar abscess.... 

oooh look who graduated to long walkies around the farm!!!
He's reliably pretty sound at the walk now, even as we've introduced time out in the paddocks and walking around the farm. Plus, the drainage from the abscess finally cleared up. 

ooooh and sometimes his friends have to be in paddocks too, so he gets company <3
Which leads me to believe that we're firmly into the "false sole" phase of recovery. If you recall, Charlie's abscess took up the whooole underside of his foot; effectively separating the sole from the rest of the structures. Thus.... basically kinda killing it, if I understand correctly. 

presently the layout for a maximally reduced wrap that still meets my tolerance for risk
components: scissors to remove old wrap; hoof pick for evaluating sole integrity (more on that later); betadine in a curved-tip syringe for flushing; fluffy cotton padding for Charlie's heel bulbs; one roll vet wrap; duct tape patch (this exact layout every time) for sole coverage + 4 short strips to adhere to the wall; extra duct tape as needed
The result is that Charlie has to form a new sole underneath the old one, which I'm imagining is like growing in a new toenail. Our sense, based on where Charlie is in his soundness and comfort, is that the new sole is already pretty well along the way into fully forming. 

the wraps are looking solid after 24hrs of wear. i feel confident enough to attempt 48hrs now.
This significantly improved Charlie's overall comfort, and mine! Not gonna lie, having a gigantic hole in my horse's foot was just a bit stressful.  

hoof straight out of the wrap. see how chalky and pale the sole has become, compared to when it was black before?
But we think there's a new sole underneath that hole now, which means Charlie still has protection against infection etc. if one of my wraps should fail. 

i know this is hard to see, but the false sole is literally crumbling off in powdery chunks
The old sole is definitely changing in color and texture too. I had kinda imagined that maybe it'd peel off in one go sorta like an old toenail. But actually, it's coming off in chips and chunks and almost powdery toe-cheesy kinda consistency. Gross lol. 

i scrape over the whole sole with the hoof pick, then squirt some betadine up in the defect to keep things flushed up. drainage is completely over at this point, tho, so this step probably isn't necessary.
Charlie's also coming due for his regular trim, but my vet advised trying to push him out another couple weeks just to avoid being too aggressive at a seminal moment in recovery. 

bottom view: heel bulb pillow, vet wrap, and sole patch (lol puns) applied
The optimist in me hopes that maybe we could even consider putting a shoe on the horse by then.... But honestly I have no idea how likely or unlikely that is. Might actually give my vet the option to come take a look at the hoof herself to determine whether he's ready or not when the time comes. We'll see. 

top view of the same
In the meantime, we finally hit another huge milestone in Charlie's recovery: he returned to his full-day group turnout this weekend! You might recall I had hoped to do this last weekend, but there was still drainage and he had a few setbacks related to soreness, so we put the plan on ice for another week.

final slipper, with pressure-relief snip down past the coronet, plus a few extra pieces of tape
I wanted to do this over the weekend just to give myself maximum control. I got to take him out as one of the first horses in the morning, and walked him and a buddy all the way up into the field to the round bale, vs releasing them at the gate. Obvi I can't stop the horse from galloping around, but at least this way he didn't START in gallop lol!

experimenting with foam shims inside the Zip boot
He gave me a heart attack, tho, when I went to bring him back in that evening. Like, the fact that I didn't video this should be as clear an indicator as you could get that my heart was sinking a little bit. But, in retrospect, I am SO SORRY there isn't video, so you're going to have to use your most cinematic imagination to see what happened.

first test got all crumpled up and didn't stay under his sole
Bc at first... All the boys were down at the gate (as opposed to up on the crest of the hill at the round bale, or over the hill on the grass) waiting to come in for dinner. All, but Charlie. And I instantly started to worry. But! Lo! There he was, just barely over the crest of the hill by the round bale, just his star-face and floppy Eeyore ears were visible. Hmmm, why the sullen ears tho?

trimmed it down a bit, but likely will just abandon this idea if this doesn't work
Then he started walking tho, and here's where I should have pulled out the camera. Bc I was like, "Oh ok he looks fine walking." 

Then he trotted! And I was like, "Omg Squee loookie at him!!" 

And, then, uh, this mother fucker TOOK OFF GALLOPING STRAIGHT DOWN THE HILL TOWARD US, all snaking neck and flying mane, looking exactly like his best impression of a wild stallion lol. 

all packaged up!
Like, you can kinda see the crest of the hill in the gif below, top left. And then imagine him galloping like a fool straight down to the gate, and cutting sharply right before hitting the fence, skidding and mud flying, snorting and prancing and looking supremely pleased with himself omg. 

and omg ---- peep that starry face + giant ears mid-crowd???
So. Ya know. That was reassuring haha. Obvi I had hoped to recreate the magic last night, but he was already peacefully ensconced with his herd down at the gate by the time I got there. So. Sorry, I kinda feel like I robbed you of some epic Charlie footage LOL. I guess watch this video if you wanna imagine what it looked like? 
So. Haha. I'm feeling hopeful. Two full days spent out, and the horse looks good. I am honestly a little concerned we might see a slight increase in soreness, not least bc... Homeboy still doesn't have a shoe. Attempts to pad out the Zip boot haven't been super successful, so I'm not ruling out upgrading the boot to something with a little more support if needed. 

so happy to be a free horse again <3
For now, tho, I'm just so relieved! Maybe someday soon I'll actually get to ride again? Maybe?? Pretty please??!? Lol...

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

"hakuna your tatas, emma"

Happy Valentines Day, everybody! Let's celebrate the occasion by reviewing an extended-cut collection of recent photos (and gifs omg) of Charlie being entertained by his favorite barn friends and obvi some gnarly updated shots of the #HoofHole2023....

charlie is the luckiest horse to have so many friends enriching his days during this long recovery!
First Update: As anyone who's been around long enough may have surmised, my optimistic tone and ambitious hopes for beginning Charlie's reintroduction to full turnout last Friday were.... hm, premature.  

after switching to the dry wrap protocol we ended up with a bit of a blockage
As you may recall, we transitioned protocols by the end of last week to a fully dry wrap. Meaning we stopped soaking the hoof, and, a few days later, stopped using Animalintex wet poultice pads in the wraps. Meanwhile, we continued applying the antibiotics slurry.

using betadine for a little extra flushing
My vet advised me on Thursday night to be more aggressive in scraping off old residue from the medicine. Tho, I'd already finished Thursday's wrap by the time that advice came through, so I figured it'd just be a new part of the protocol for Friday. 

these little curved-tip syringes are extremely versatile and useful tools!
But by Friday night, the residue had already blocked things up enough to increase pressure inside Charlie's hoof, so he was decidedly less comfortable again. Not critical, but a setback. 

not really soaking, here --- kinda just dunking a bit to help clear the blockage
My vet said to do what needed done to clear out the blockage, but then otherwise continue with the dry wrapping plan -- don't reintroduce soaking or wetness to the wrap. 

side story:: michael almost came to the horse show with us omg haha
She also recommended scuttling my original plans for attempting a start to reintroducing full turnout. The horse was much better by Saturday, but she still felt like slower was safer. 

moving on to sunday, the first day where we didn't reapply an antibiotic slurry.
also omg his sole is BLACK
Charlie is doing well with brief stints in the paddock tho. He goes out in the morning while barn staff does chores. I assume this is for about an hour. Most days I pop him out again in the evening while I clean his stall and prepare for his wrap change. 

mmmmmm fluid in da hole. just treating with betadine from here out
And some days he's lucky enough to have a friend willing to sneak him out again midday. Realistically, Charlie is not a great paddock pony, bc he eventually gets impatient and weaves. And the charm of the paddock is already wearing off a bit....

charles is so helpful
But the frequent changes of scenery (aided and abetted, naturally, by a fresh flake of hay!) are still entertaining enough, I suppose. 

d'aww his friends turned him out midday for some fun in the warm sun on Monday!!!
It's good to see him out, too. Stall rest is just plain hard on this horse's body. I'm starting to create a mental inventory of what all we'll need to do once he's past this process. 

so happy to see him moving around even tho he's lonely and sad
(also. pls be nice. i know he's lame. you know he's lame. the vet knows he's lame. we all know. the whole system is operating in distinctly suboptimal conditions right now, mkay?)
Probably, uh, some ulcergard lol. Honestly probably should have maybe already started that... But I really didn't think we'd be looking at so much stall rest, whoops. 

ugh his condition is so discouraging rn, i might have actually cried a little lot when my friend texted this picture :'(
I'm also noodling on plans for what Charlie's general reintroduction to riding might look like. Realistically.... he's just in bad shape, all around. 

boot performed well in its first mud test tho!
We'll probably do his hocks right around the very tail end of this whole saga, tho ultimately I'll defer to my vet on her thoughts re: timing. Then... Well. We're basically starting at zero.

honestly feeling good about this! after snapping the pic, i pulled out the leather insert to let it air out and brush off the mud. might also cut up an old yoga mat to add padding***
(**based on the input of an anonymous commenter who shared successes from how they coped in a similar situation.
pro tip: unsolicited advice? meh. sharing stories of what did or did not work for you? amazing!)
I tried to do the math the other day, and it's kinda an ugly set of numbers. Charlie got basically the whole month of August off after his #TangleWithTensile

wondering if those heel bulb marks are just bc it was more wet this day.... still using a "pillow" of cotton fluff inside the wrap
Then there was another 6wks off after kinda general malaise in October/November leading up to the vet prescribing Equioxx.

mmmmm #bubbles #gross #itsBETADINEnotblood
i think this is progress tho? reminder: we still expect this is a "false sole" that will eventually (soon?) slough off, revealing a new sole underneath --- sorta like growing in a new toenail underneath the dead one.
And now we're already 6wks into this saga, with every expectation of a few more to come. That's.... a shit ton of time out of work just in the last six months. And Charlie's condition right now, paired with the effects of prolonged stall rest.... reflect the consequences. 

"your coat matches my slipper <3" -- charles, who adores children
So ya know. Brace yourselves for the transition to unending "Rehab" posts, I guess. And --- before you even go there, I do NOT want to hear a SINGLE bit of unsolicited advice about the value of "walking" and "hills." Please, kindly, go fuck yourself. 

my sweet goofy pony, we'll take care of you!
Ahem. Anyways lol. Aside from Charlie's splint surgery, this whole ordeal is running away with the prize for "Most Ridiculous Ding Yet." Here's hoping those won't be famous last words, tho, lol..... 

And in the meantime, I'm gonna do my best to just calm the F down and keep giving the horse what he needs** <3 

(**aka, beefing him back up that #DadBod shape we know and love!!!)

Friday, February 10, 2023

anatomy of a wrap

Happy Friday, y'all! Bet ya thought that I couldn't possibly write about my horse's friggin hoof hullabaloo for nine straight posts in a row (over 5 full weeks)!! 

Bet you're wrong, tho ;) 

paddock + hay + dusk = happier times
Good news, tho. Charlie continues to hit important milestones along the way to recovery from his gruesome gravel-induced subsolar abscess.

still feeling hopeful about this thing
Today's update: we transitioned to a dry wrap (ie, no more animalintex poultice pads), tho still with the antibiotic slurry. This appears to coincide with the drainage drying up -- a key box my vet wanted checked off before we could consider reintroducing full turnout. 

d'aww look at that muddy pone pone tho!! <3 <3
We will do a couple more days with the topically applied antibiotics slurry (oxytet + crushed metro pills), then move onto more basic betadine and eventually a "strong iodine," primarily for its hardening properties. 

in the process of removing a wrap. this view shows my attempt at a heel bulb "pillow" after 24hrs --- let's see how it did!
Which basically all means.... I can actually think in real terms about what that reintroduction to turn out might look like. More specifically: I'm hoping to stick Charlie back out with his herd tomorrow for a few hours. 

The herd relocated during his abscess-induced absence, and is now ensconced in the much-more-accessible winter sacrifice field, complete with round bale. Downsides are that there is generally deep mud around the round bale... But, it's actually been pretty dry the last couple weeks so I'm thinking positively.

wrap after removal -- why yes, that imprint looks like the fluff did *exactly* what i hoped it would!
So.... Really, my biggest consideration right now is how to dress that foot for success. He's spent more than 48hrs so far in that Easyboot Zip already, and I'm inclined to still feel hopeful about it. 

view after first day in a dry wrap (no animalintex). vet encouraged me to be aggressive in scraping off old residue
I started putting some folded up super fluffy cotton bandaging material over his heel bulbs, and as far as I can tell, it's working. Wasn't compressed to paper-thinness, so it's clearly providing protection from being overly compressed or rubbed... And the heel bulbs themselves looked quite good -- also probably helped by switching to a dry wrap.

slowly downgrading the wrap --- still has the antibiotics tho
So I'll keep repeating this process for a little bit. Tho, realistically, the wrap itself is slowly being a bit downgraded and less .... extra haha. I'm still using some rolled cotton to sorta hold everything in place -- the gauze patch with the antibiotics slurry on it, for example. But that's mostly bc I have a friggin ton of these little rolls and kinda wanna just use them up.

really documenting the placement of the "pillow" so it can be reproducibly effective
Probably at some point in the next couple days, the rolled gauze will disappear altogether and it'll just be a roll of vet wrap holding the fluffy pillow in place and covering the sole, then the outer duct tape 'slipper.' 

add a few more strips of duct tape and voila! charlie's "slipper"
I don't really know what will happen if/when Charlie sloughs off the rest of his sole, so it feels like maybe a safe choice to maintain this sorta inner bandaged wrap inside whatever outer boot or shell Charlie might be wearing. 

tucked away inside his zip boot, ready for day 3 of constant wear
Actually, in an ideal world, I kinda like the idea of using that reusable / disposable shell while Charlie is stalled -- since it's a lot less binding on his hoof and generally more breathable, while still protecting the duct tape wrap. Then maybe he'd just wear the Zip boot for turn out... 

But... That requires twice-daily boot changes, which means trusting other folks to make good and deliberate choices. Which.... Ehhhhhh we'll see.

"i'm not a terrorist, you're the terrorist!" ---charles, being a slight pest lol
So. We're ready to give it all a shot, I suppose. The last box on my vet's checklist is kinda the biggie, tho. Charlie needs to stay reasonably comfortable on that hoof. Which... We'll see, I guess. 

He's still walking like he's got a hole in his foot bc, spoiler, he does. But it's not really slowing him down much. And he's definitely getting increasingly impatient with his confinement. 

So we will see! Wish us luck lol, and hope y'all have a great weekend too!

Wednesday, February 8, 2023


Rather than throwing a pity party about how the #barnsquad is eagerly prepping for the next show in our winter indoor circuit this weekend.... And that the busses (including my own) need to leave the station at 5:15am (natch, without my own horse aboard...)...

Well. Rather than any of that, let's talk about how I can entertain myself aside from showing riding!

introducing the current basket in which i've placed all my eggs: the Easyboot Zip
Charlie's recovery is going basically as expected, so far. He's as comfortable as he can be with a gigantic cavernous crater in his foot. And it's just going to take the time it takes for everything to regrow back into one piece.

shoutout to Stacie for recommending this model, after the pair of Clouds i initially bought didn't fit...
I'm not actually convinced he's comfortable enough for full turnout yet... But it's time to start planning for that inevitability. 

can't help but love this reusable / disposable shell tho -- it did its job!
I originally picked up a pair of Easyboot Clouds off a friend after convincing myself my measurements were probably "close enough" .... And, lol, no. (Related: anybody need a Size 3 Easyboot Cloud? New in box? Likely to fit a regular-sized TB, maybe!)

i'm sparing you monday's pics bc... they look a whole lot like tuesday's pics. 
above: tuesday animalintex
This Zip model has much easier sizing, tho. Meaning, instead of 8 fairly narrowly defined sizes as with the Cloud, the Zip just has 4 sizes, each of which have a broader range. 

tuesday crater
Maybe if Charlie was more lame or had some sort of structural injury, it would be worth it to fit him properly for the Clouds. But... Eh, he just needs solid protection between his #hoofhole and the #mud. Size 3 in the Zips seem to fit the bill just fine. 

we're doing one more day (today) of animalintex. i'm going to check in with the vet about dealing with all this residue next
I'm not a total idiot tho. Just partial. So his first 24hrs with the Zip are while he's mostly stalled with just an hour or two out in a paddock. 

fresh antibiotic slurry applied to the crater
I also put basically a full wrap underneath it too -- a layer of rolled gauze, vet wrap, and then duct tape. My thought being... if the boot wants to spin or rub on his heel bulbs, the duct tape will be a smoother, more friction-free surface? Maybe? I dunno guys LOL.

the rest of the slurry is on the animalintex patch, and we're still doing a complete wrap protocol
Also, lol, bc I'm bored and am taking too many pictures, I'm posting this *before* knowing how this test run goes. So, eh, I guess take your bets (again) on whether you think this wrap / boot combo will be too much, not enough, or just right for eventual turnout!

tho i didn't build the duct tape up as high now that we're switching to a boot
Naturally, I reserve the right to change my approach at any time anyway haha. And will probably shoot off another message to my vet today or tomorrow, just to update her on how things look. 

this Easyboot model has generous sizing
Things really don't look much different with the hole from day to day. There's still drainage, and... Idk, it might be my imagination but I think the hole is getting bigger lol.

charlie does have giant heel bulbs tho so eh we'll see i guess?
We are still operating under the assumption that Charlie is growing a new sole under the surface, and that what we see will eventually slough off -- sorta like an old toenail lol.

i'm ready to be hopeful
I still don't have a clue how long that will take, tho. Probably long. I dunno. We aren't exactly at the "peak growth" season for hooves, ya know? 

oh charlie <3 making sweet faces like he isn't 100% out of patience with this lol
And I want a little more clarity about what landmarks the vet will want Charlie to hit before he's ready for all-day turnout. 

So ya know. More to come, I guess ¯\_(ツ)_/¯