But we don’t use the “S” word around here.

What “s” word? Shoe.

I am so bummed out right now to write that Gen is getting shoes put on this morning. My horse has been happily barefoot for over 2 years now. In fact, never in the history of my blog has Gen ever had shoes. That is all about to change this morning. Why? Because I really am a bad horse owner. And this time I did not even realize it until it was too late. As I have complained about many times recently I am crazy busy right now. In my craziness I kept meaning to call my Farrier and get appointments set up for the boys. Unfortunately, intentions cannot pick up the phone so even though they were not quiet due, both boys had very long toes.

I had a hard time picking up Gen's leg to take a picture because his tendon was owie last night. You can't even see how bad it really is from this angle. Poor Gen.

Gen had a chip in his left front, the bad leg, that was growing. It went from just a crack, to a chip, to a bigger chip, etc. Each time I would try to file the area down a little bit, but being nervous by nature I didn’t want to go to far. And so there would still be some jagged edge left. The crack kept growing and growing, but I figured it was just a crack. I am very lucky with Gen in the fact that he has REALLY good feet so I don’t get to see a lot of cracks. Because of my not knowing how bad it was I just sort of assumed that every crack was similar. Even though this one got HUGE (like the size of a golf ball cut in half) I still didn’t think I had anything to worry about. I did notice that Gen was a little tender on it when the ground was frozen, but it didn’t set off any internal alarms in me (which is not normal).

I sent my Farrier a text the day I noticed the soreness to see when he could come out and just do a normal trim. He told me he would be out after the new year. I said that was fine, Gen had a crack and I just wanted him to look at it. I had already left the barn, but my Farrier made me promise that as soon as I saw Gen again I would take a picture to show him the crack. With the snow and everything the first chance I got to do that was Monday. Not even 90 seconds after I sent the cell phone picture my Farrier got back to me and asked me why I had not told him this was an emergency. I told him the truth, because I didn’t think it was one. Gen was FINE in the snow and only a little tender when the ground was frozen before so Gen could wait.

My Farrier told me in no uncertain terms that no, my horse could not wait. He would be out tomorrow to asses the damage. He didn’t want to scare me, but he did mention that if it was as bad as the picture made it look Gen would need shoes. Why? Because with all his leg problems and how specifically he needs to be trimmed in the first place there was no way we would be able to correct the problem without pissing the tendon off, which is just not an option with my horse. He told me he would just go look and call me and let me know what he thought needed to be done. He promised that he wouldn’t do anything on Tuesday, but that he was worried about Gen and needed to get a better look.

NowThatsATrot was working so she knows what happened better than I do when my Farrier arrived, but I can tell you that I got the text that my baby was HURT. My Farrier could feel heat on the corinary band and the hoof. What I had taken for granted as just a crack in Gen’s foot had actually gone so deep that live tissue was exposed. A single step on a rock right to that area and my poor pony would be in really bad shape. How did I not see how bad this was?!?!? I am so mad at myself for that right now.

Anyway, the good news was that this was a totally fixable injury. Because of the location of the injury and Gen’s condition we were not looking at normal shoes. Gen is getting glue on shoes with some pads for shock absorption and snow protection. Not cheep, but better than having him get hurt and put even more pressure on the already over stressed good leg. As my Farrier pointed out, Gen is not a normal horse so everything we have to do with him has to be done in a way to make sure his tendon does not have any extra stress or strain. My Farrier knows that I am a total wack job when it comes to my horse, so I know that if he says this is serious it really is. He also listed some of the 100s of things that can happen such as an abscess, an infection, scar tissue build up, founder on the good leg, etc with an injury like this. I know I have said it before, but I just feel so stupid for not realizing how serious this was.

My poor pony. And he has to suffer some more because today he does not get to go outside. My Farrier is coming first thing in the morning to put the special shoes on, and since Gen is known for running, and it takes the shoes time to set, Gen is stuck inside all day today. It sill amazes me that horses work at all. I mean, they are like apples being held up by toothpicks. I am trying not to beat myself up over this and look to the positive that it is being taken care of and Gen will be fine, but I still feel bad. You know he is getting a bag of guilt carrots out of this one. And the other crappy thing is that I am leaving first thing tomorrow morning so I don’t even get to see how the new sneakers are working out for him. I know he is hurting now though so any improvement will be welcomed.


10 thoughts on “But we don’t use the “S” word around here.

  1. Don’t feel bad. He’ll be fine. It was caught in time – that’s all that matters. You’re only a busy human doing the best you can. You’re not supposed to be perfect.
    Hopefully he’ll never have this problem again but at least you now know what to look for – look at it as a growth opportunity (learning experience). Have a great vacation knowing that he’s in good hands.

  2. I’m with SpeedysMom – we can’t know everything and so long as you learn from this then that’s what counts. I mean really, Gen could have at least acted really lame from this so you’d KNOW it was bad but nooooooo, he had to go and act like everything was just fine! So it was HIS fault! LOL!!

  3. As Mrs Mom loves to remind us, the best thing our horse’s hooves have going for them is time. Fortunately Gen’s hoof problem was caught before there was any serious damage, and now that you know you can take super good care of it so he gets better. And one benefit of the retired horse is stuff like this doesn’t set back your regular routine of love and spoiling … probably puts it into high gear. 🙂

    I think that figuring out what is serious or not is one of the hardest decisions we have to make as horse owners. Is it just a cut, or is there a chance he did more damage? Is he uneven because he tweaked something or because he really injured something (or has a weird infection in his foot?). That abscess burst on its own; is it ok to treat it myself from here or should I have the vet out to be on the safe side? And those were all questions I had to ask just in my first year of horse ownership!

    On another note, it was a little freaky to hear this – our horses are acting like each other again. Ace developed a small crack in his front left toe a little over a month ago!

    And can I just say how amazing it is that you aren’t totally freaking out about leaving for a week right now? That’s a HUGE testament to how wonderful the people are at Hill Farm. I’m proud of them and you for that one.

  4. I’m so sorry but it’s better that you found out now and not while you were away. Now that would’ve driven you nuts! Wishing you both all the best.

  5. Don’t feel so bad, things happen and you’re not a farrier or vet so how could you know what was going on. You did the best you could and sending the picture was a great idea. Obviously, your farrier knows how to take care of this and all will be well soon enough.

    Have fun on your trip and stop worrying about Gen he’ll be fine. Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Healthy Horsey New Year!

  6. MERRY CHRISTMAS OTB, Supre Handsome Genny, and the always adorable Phoenix!!

    Gen’s feets– do what ya gotta do girl, to take special care of the big man. It’s all going to work out for him!!

    And please slip both those wonderful boys a treat from me on Christmas!!

  7. I think the most frustrating part of owning horses is all the stuff we don’t know………and it doesn’t matter how long or how much you work at it, there will always be things you don’t know. It just goes with the territory that something will happen we don’t handle just right because we didn’t know any better so don’t be too tough on yourself. You’re not alone is this one.

    Here’s hoping you have a great holiday………and a fun trip!

  8. Thankfully your boy’s issue is fixable! I hope you had a great Christmas, and it sounds like your horse is in great hands!

  9. First, Merry Christmas!!! And poor Gen, that’s bad news. It’s hard to know when a crack is that bad, and I have to second Denise… call your vet and tell him what’s going on and see if you can get some bute for a while. Those cracks HURT, and I bet he’d appreciate the pain relief. (this from the person who hands out bute like candy around here)
    He will be ok though, you got the farrier out and it will grow out. Could have been much worse. Hope you post some pics of the crack too, I know I’d like to see it.
    As for the cactus question, YES YES YES and YES. They get in it, we get in it, the dogs get in it. Jumping Cholla is my nightmare. I’m scared to death to get bucked off into it (that’s a trip to the ER right there) and I know people who have. Not pretty. I go very far out of my way to avoid it if I can.
    Best ranch horses will plow thru it, come out with cactus balls all over them and not even blink. Regular horses usually jump and buck (been there, done that) and OTTB’s REALLY jump around when they get in it. (been there, done that, scared me) Regularly at the vet’s office we get a “cactus dog or horse” that we sedate and all of us stand around for an hour and pluck the cactus out.
    We laugh at cowboys who come down from up north and say our desert is nothing. They think different after they get in that cactus. I personally wear FULL heavy leather chaps, cover my whole leg and half the horse’s flank, when I’ve gathered cattle out here. Best protection you can get.

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