I've been kind of out of pocket for the past few days, either traveling or recovering from travel. In that time, however, our horse - hereafter also known as the 'money pit' - managed to pull off both of his front shoes again. That makes a total of four shoes he's lost in the past four weeks. It's worth pointing out that these special shoes were put on by the vet to correct a mild problem with his stance (kinda like those big black orthopedic shoes they used to prescribe in the 60's). These shoes with their special rubber heel wedges are apparently all the latest fashion in horse owners (unlike those big black orthopedic shoes from the 60's) - at least, in the first 20 years of my riding experience, I'd never heard of these things. Apparently, no one's told the horse he's the wearing the equine equivalent of Jimmy Choo's. Of course, when Buzz attempts his imitation of Shoeless Joe, he can't be ridden until we nail more bits of glowing hot metal back onto his hooves. And this time around, he managed to step on a nail as he wrenched one of the shoes off, creating a seeping abscess right up in his hoof - which means that the 'mildly off' condition these shoes were meant to correct have turned into a sucking void of money, time, and exercise prevention for our 'free' horse. Awesome.
So yesterday we get the farrier back out to the stables to examine our limping livestock. He tried a couple of things and then, accidentally (but fortunately) we located the abscess by, let's say, cracking the seal. Disgusting, but you could almost see the relief in Buzz's eyes. In a moment to make my mother proud, the farrier recommended we treat the hoof by soaking it in hot, salty water for twenty minutes. This has long been my mother's (the nurse) favorite treatment for any ailment. Cut on your hand? Hot salty water. Sore throat? Broken bone? Hot salty water. Bubonic Plague? Nothing a little soak in hot salty water won't fix right up. And by 'hot', she means a 'peel the flesh from the bones' kind of warm. The farrier gave me a funny look when I started laughing as he was recommending treatment. No doubt my mother picked up this remedy on the farm in North Georgia long before ever heading to nursing school.
The problem with the horse is that you can't just tell him to keep the hoof clean after dosing it with boiling brine. After all, horses have a tendency to crap where they sleep, and though my mother never gave explicit instructions to cover this scenario, I'm thinking rubbing manure into the wound negates the medicinal effect of the salty soak. So we had to wrap it up and keep it clean - we surveyed one hundred horse owners and the favorite wrap for a horse's hoof? A diaper. Hey! I've got a almost-but-not-quite potty trained two year old at home. Diapers, I've got. (or 'nappies' as they're known here. "Want to take a nap" has led to some misunderstandings in our house since our move.)
Twelve hours later, Buzz has ripped the bandaged diaper off his hoof (this is a horse who rips off metal horseshoes which have been nailed into his foot - why would a Huggies Pull-Up fare any better?). But he's feeling much more spry. Tomorrow he goes into the vet, where we will have a real heart-to-heart about my (and our horse's) patience with these ridiculous shoes.