How do horses manage to be so frustrating? Echo has been unquestionably sound in the two years I have had her, and yet now that I am ready to start doing things properly with her, everything goes wrong. Yesterday I noticed that Echo was not quite level when trotting on the right rein on the lunge. I thought she might have just trodden on a stone, so I didn't think any more of it, but then today she was still a bit lame.
I have put some keratex hoof hardener on her feet to try to toughen them up - all the time off she had in the field was not great for her hooves. However, today she was still not right on her off-side fore. The stable manager had a look at her legs and feet and thinks that she has developed a small amount of 'seedy toe'. I've never heard of this condition, but I know the quality of her hooves isn't great at the moment. It seems to be a separation of the hoof wall from the white line and sole of the foot, which then gets filled with sand and grit. This sounds right, as she has been very stroppy over the last week, scraping her feet on the floor in order to try to get attention. Naughty pony.
So, after the yard manager put some peroxide in the hole and sealed it with stockholm tar, I went home feeling fine. Until I did some research on the Internet - always a bad move. Some of the websites I looked at said that it could be an indication of laminitis. Oh my God. It better not be. So I rang my old trainer and panicked on the phone to her. She was really helpful, and said that it was unlikely to be laminitis, but a farrier would be able to confirm this. Although, having only just moved her, I haven't yet got a farrier that I use, so I'm having to ring lots of people and find someone who will come out and see her this week. I'm going on holiday on Monday (spectacularly bad timing, I know) and need her to be seen before I go.
It's such a shame that this has happened, as she was doing so so well - she had a saddle on today and was absolutely fine about it. We went for a lovely walk - she started off a little spooky, but gave up after a while and just let me lead her around! We went to one of the water jumps on the cross country course and although she wouldn't go in the water she did attempt a step - not exactly a jump, more of of an exaggerated step up!
I think I will let her have next week completely off now - a friend was going to lunge her for me, but I don't want her to be uncomfortable. I obviously can't get on her while she's lame, or she'll associate being ridden with discomfort - not the best start for a young horse! Anyway - before I make plans I will wait to see what the farrier thinks. Fingers crossed!