Mandatory downtime

Yesterday I thought about dragging out the jumps & starting on our stadium homework, but for some reason (maybe the ridiculous weight of some of those poles??), I decided we’d spend another day on flatwork. Once I felt the heat in Johnny’s left front hoof, I was glad I hadn’t gone to the trouble of dragging everything out. Still, he wasn’t favoring it exactly, so I saddled him up and headed to the arena. It wasn’t noticeable at the walk, but it was painfully obvious at the trot. Johnny wasn’t quite three-legged lame, but he was most definitely favoring his left front, so we headed back to the tack room. I could see no obvious bruising, but since he was just shod on Tuesday, my best guess was a hot nail abscess. Joy. It’s times like these that I’m so glad we spend time working on ground manners. If your horse’s ground manners are anything less than impeccable, I urge you to fix them. Now. When he’s injured, it’s too late. Johnny stood as still as a stone, dozing in the crossties as I poked, prodded, then packed and wrapped his hoof. I just happened to have some SolePak on hand, so on it went, covered by a full roll of vetwrap and a ‘boot’ of duct tape. I’m all for soaking a possible abscess, but I didn’t have any Epsom salts on hand, and I prefer to do a warm water soak when dealing with abscesses. We have no hot water at the barn, and things tend to close versus open when you apply cold water–I use cold water once the abscess has ruptured.
This morning, there was drainage coming from a single nail hole, confirming my suspicions. Since our ‘wonderful’ Tractor Supply is almost always out of everything (or doesn’t carry the stuff I need), I had to resort to icthammol for this morning’s packing. SolePack actually contains icthammol, but it comes in a very convenient paste that’s easy to pack into crevices and doesn’t make a huge mess. Plus, they’re individually wrapped, which I think preserves the efficacy of the ingredients. The icthammol smelled as if it might have been sitting on the shelf for some time. Mental note: order SolePack for future.
So, as usual, with horses, there’s always something going awry. I’m just happy it’s an abscess and nothing more severe! Meanwhile, Johnny seems content to enjoy temporary retirement for now.


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