Anyway- EO is one of my OTTB semi-rescues. End of season at the track- end of their careers. And while Suffolk Downs now bars trainers from sending their horses to auction- these guys still had a rough racing life and are enjoying a great retirement post-life as pets, lesson horses and mud-pies. 🙂
EO came here, completely sound and stunning. I used to comment, the twenty minutes I actually rode him when he first came were stunning. He is a classic hunter type mover, long flat strides with a light even trot. Sitting trot was like being on a golden pillow.
EO was also the most accident-prone. If something was going to happen, it was going to be EO. He ran through the barbed wire fence when he first came here. I think he sustained a shoulder injury there, that contributed to his later ankle issues. It was one of those things where you just don’t see it coming- and in hindsight you know. duh- should have seen that.
I had had horses here for many years. Wookie and Autumn (also OTTB’s, direct from slaughter house) made this their home for 15? of their 20 yr life with me. So there were things I hadn’t ever had to think about. By the time I had moved here, they were both settled and savvy.
EO, fresh off the trailer, and fresh off the track- literally, having raced the day before he came– was more than thrilled to stretch his legs in an open field.. and I am guessing never realised there was a fence between my yard and the neighbors. OOPS. more like crap, but yeah. And had I realised he might have done more structural damage, I would have had him checked by a chiropractor.
Anyway- farrier and trimming, several times, and he had swelling in the ankle, that we couldn’t bring down. icing, wrapping, bute, etc. Keeping him in- the whole deal. No matter what I-we tried, the ankle had inflammation.
He wasn’t very happy at this point, either- but fairly content, at least, in his new turned-out life. Eventually, after a series of other small, unrelated, but connected events (a lymph infection in a back leg, that required antibiotics).. etc.. he ended up in a minor laminitic event.
This is where I had my bitch-slap-self moment. Had I applied the same herbal-holistic logic to the horse, that I would have KNOWN to use for myself.. then the whole thing could have been prevented. The vet told me, he could be on bute long term, without worry. And I believed it. The vet put him on ABX.. and it never occurred to me, and vet didn’t suggest- add probiotics back into his diet to replace what is being killed off.
ANYWAY- I now understand a LOT about the underlying mechanisms of laminitis. It isn’t REALLY about the feet. Or, it is, if you live by the western model of medicine- which is internvention-ary, rather than holistic and prevention-ary. Laminitis is a whole-system breakdown, which starts with the GUT, not breaking down sugars (rough description) and not removing toxins from the body. A compromised GUT. The FEET.. are just the LAST domino in a long chain of dominoes – most of which are invisible.
IMMEDIATELY- I used a LOT of comfrey (all I could get my hands on from anyone in the area), burdock and nettle, to support healing, reduce inflammation and detox the body. I also started to rebuild and support the GUT. slippery elm, probiotic etc.
Within 48 hours, he had made a tremendous come-back.. but it was a looong slow process. I spent a few weeks trying to get the blacksmith out to do his feet. I ended up calling someone else. Within a week of being trimmed.. all swelling in ankle was gone. How much might have been avoided, had it occurred to me that the footwork had caused the problem!!!!!! Inhale, exhale- release.
I came very close to making “the decision”.. EO was soooo unhappy, for sooo long, and uncomfortable and just plain worn out by it all. I have a good colleague-friend, who is also an intuitive. We were up in the barn, and I brought this up. ” What do I do? At this point, am I doing him any favours.. is it kinder to let him go?” Patrick stopped, paused and spent a silent moment looking at the horse.. having some sort of conversation at a level I was not able to hear. Patrick commented, with a high degree of certainty. “No,he’s not ready yet. Give him a little more time.” Lo and behold- it was not long after that, EO really started to turn around and come back.
Anyway- jump forward. EO has made an almost full recovery. He is back on full ration, full pasture and my best lesson horse. After a full year off.. he is a little behind the others, but is catching up quickly. This last year, we have found out how much he looooves to jump. Only small things.. but still.. he really perks up.
He still sometimes has a minor “gimp.” More in one direction than the other. This fall, we did some heavier work with him, both directions and the fence work- that seemed to loosen him up and “even him out” a bit more. That was when I noticed the divet in his shoulder, in the front, near the point. I suppose in the past, with so much attention on the foot.. the rest of the leg and shoulder was not really looked at.
Anyway- this last week, I had a new blacksmith work on him- based on natural/ barefoot trim.. which is grounded on the study of the wild horses feet. I have almost always kept my horses barefoot… not because I am a fanatical ideological.. just a sort of.. matter of course.. they stay sound, have good feet, and don’t seem to *need* shoes. I suppose had I been doing a lot of street walking, show jumping etc- I might have to consider shoes. or maybe not. Who knows. 🙂
Anyway-I have known for a while, that EO has about a 50-60% range of motion in the ankle. He has what the vet called severe arthritis in the joint. I don’t remember offhand WHERE she told me the bone spurs were…
Last year, the blacksmith had noted that if I-we could get his range of motion up to 70-80%.. he’d be pretty good to go.
Now that so many of his other issues have been addressed, and he is solid and healthy- I want to turn my attention to improving the ankle. I TRULY believe, that if the body no longer has NEED to protect itself.. it SHOULD re-absorb the calcium, and mobility should increase. The VET said, once the body lays down calcium- that’s it.. a sort of one-way trip. .X-rays have shown that the calcium/ bone of a bone spur has a more porous and different density than “regular’ bone. So here’s to hoping.
My protocol for EO, right now:
Chaga– heals everything, almost. Burdock is supposed to dissolve calcium deposits. Am hoping to clear up the bone spurs in his ankle. They ended up there from some less than optimal trim-work on top of an unnoticed shoulder injury. Will be interesting to see if I-we can get back a bit of his range of motion. I think the natural-trim work Natalie Gambosi did.. will help. EO had first lesson today after being trimmed, and his gait seemed really smooth and even, barely a hint of “gimp”…
I am planning to do a cup of chaga and a cup of burdock root tea, nightly.. Burdock is also good for detoxing, cleansing the blood, and drawing toxins out of joints. It is used for gout, and it removes the crystals that gout creates. Chaga, helps with almost everything. it is adaptogen, anti-parasitic, anti-inflammatory etc. And I now know from first-hand experience with my friend Gail’s horse- how much it helped the horse overall!
Wish him well, he is an amazing wise soul who has had a crap ride in spots.
I am an Education Specialist, Health Coach and Author. I work with aspects of the teachings I have learned from Andean shamanic and cosmology, to health, nutrition and education. Everything is energy. Energy must flow. Like water, when it does not flow, it stagnates and is not healthy. These techniques help your life to flow. I have been initiated into many of the ancient lineages and learned ceremonies, rites of passage and healing techniques. I have worked as a healer and done workshops and taught some of these aspects – passing the teachings on.
Dancing in Your Bubble : ancient teaching, modern healing
Natural Support for Alzheimer’s
Getting a Handle on Happy : find and fix causes of stress and depression
The Naturally Smarter Kid : a parent’s guide to helping kids succeed in school and life
Cafe of the Hungry Ghosts : behind the veil of ordinary – a paranormal-ish fiction book