Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Suspiciously Familiar

Maisie was pretty sore this morning, and her stall showed signs that she wasn't comfortable overnight - lots of pawing. She was a bit better on the grass, although still uncomfortable - especially the left front. No obvious heat in the feet. This is beginning to feel suspiciously familiar. I went back and looked at my posts from last year - last spring, a little later than now, towards the end of May, Maisie developed very uncomfortable feet. We didn't think it was the grass, but rather just plain concussion - I had taken her shoes off for a bit and it really didn't agree with her due to her extremely thin soles and poor hoof quality, combined with our dry, hard ground.

It's looking like things are going the same way this year. The big difference is that last year, putting her shoes back on made her much more comfortable pretty quickly. She's already got shoes on now so that means of making her more comfortable isn't an option. I don't know if what we have going on this year is due to concussion/stone bruising, which is certainly possible - the fact that one front foot is much worse would indicate that - or due to something about the grass - we've been out for a while now, but she's a big eater and has obviously been gaining weight. (My farrier's comment yesterday was that she didn't look like she'd been on a diet - nice! - can we say "fat"?). The spring last year was consistently much colder and wetter than it's been this year, which could explain the one-month timing difference. Once she went back out on grass, she was fine, which made it seem like it wasn't the grass that was the issue, but I'm not so sure. She's been at our barn for a number of years now, and last year was the first year she'd had any problem of this type, although she's always had a tendency to sensitive feet and weight gain, both of which can be signs of insulin resistance.

I did put her out to pasture this morning, and also gave her a gram of bute for her discomfort. We had frost overnight, and sun and much warmer temperatures today, so the fructan levels in the grass will be high this afternoon - I'm going to go look at her early this afternoon and possibly bring her in (although she won't like that much). We have really lovely pastures, with appropriate grasses, but it may be that Maisie can't tolerate this much grazing. I've also upped her chromium/selenium/vitamin E/magnesium supplement (for insulin resistance), which may also help. If she needs to be on dry lot, I don't have a lot of options - we don't have a permanent dry lot, although perhaps we really need one - our big dry lots have been reseeded. She could share Charisma's paddock, but that would mean she wouldn't be able to have hay, and with her history of ulcers that wouldn't be good.

Poor Maisie - can we say "high maintenance"? I'm just hoping she feels better today, otherwise I'm not sure what we're going to do. I'd hate to have to move her to another barn, and would only be happy with one where the horses had stalls opening into a paddock so they could go in and out at will, or a place with other good all-day turnout options. Movement is probably good for her, but spring grass may not be.


  1. That's horrible! Maybe it'll get better as things warm up and the initial grass has been eaten down a few times.

  2. Hope you get it resolved soon . Sounds different , but the thing is , you know your horse best

  3. It does get complex, doesn't it?

    Hope you find the magic combo.

  4. Yes, it certainly does get complicated when you have horses with different needs. I'm not sure, but I would probably lean towards the grass being the culprit as's becoming much more prevalent nowadays. However, one option that could prove helpful and was an immense help with my laminitic mare was with her shoes. We kept her toes bobbed and squared off to increase her breakover and our farrier arced her shoes to form what he called a "rocker shoe". This type of shoe will grow sole in an amazingly short period of time. Try it! Radiographs showed that in as little as 6 weeks we had doubled her sole thickness.

  5. Is building a paddock paradise track an option? I think they are such a great idea for horses who shouldn't get much grass, because they encourage movement.

    I thought of you today as I watched Baasha grazing out in the field. It has just turned what I'd call "lush" including dandelions and a few timothy seed heads are appearing. I wonder if I'm just lucky that he can be on such grass without problems. Or is it just a matter of time?


  6. Hey Kate...Where you are, would you be able to block off part of a pasture...even if it is only 50 feet deep? If you could let the horses eat it down, then when Maisie was in there it would not be too much for her (yet she could keep busy all day).
    When that section gets eaten down, move the fence back 10 feet so she is not exposed to too much at a time. This is exactly why I never keep my horses off the pastures in the spring...I don't want them to be so thick and rich it could hurt them. Mine are more like a lawn and they keep it mown without overindulging. Hopefully, the grass is not the problem. Good luck with that sweet girl.

  7. Kate, You were right! :0)
    The bird that I couldnt identify is a Rubby crowned Kinglet!
    I sent the photo to Cornell Univercity and they said thats what it is also! Great call!

  8. Would a grazing muzzle help?
    Or pads under her shoes?

  9. Ugh. The work we do for our horses.

    ;-) It's a labor of love.

  10. I had no idea of the complexity's of the grasses...I hope you can find out what is bothering her soon. Much luck!

  11. How frustrating. Hope you sort it out soon. It's so hard trying to have "special" turnout.


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