Friday, November 4, 2011

Back To Basics

So I had such an interesting conversation with my farrier yesterday that I just have to share...

I have finally conceded defeat, for the moment, on trying to figure out the root of Moon's problem and asked the farrier to just pull his shoes. Moon is so tight, tense and unhappy that I told him that I was simply going to resort to the old-fashioned belief of turning him out and forgetting about him for awhile.

Whether it's the saddle or not, his back is so tight and sore that continuing to try to work though things just seems futile and unnecessarily cruel.

I mentioned to the farrier what the vet said about tenderness in his right hind and asked him to check it. The farrier found nothing. I also mentioned that we had noticed he was loading the outside medial on his left front and asked him to double check that. The farrier acknowledged that Moon was in fact loading to the outside of his left front.

I must have looked pretty defeated because the farrier asked me what the heck was going on and I filled him in on the last few weeks of frustration and that I was just going to turn Moon out for awhile and start from scratch when I felt that his soreness and sour attitude had dissipated.

The farrier says, 'Good! Looks like you both need a break. But I want to show you something and then when you start bringing this horse back, you don't keep doing the same thing I can tell you have been doing.'

I was a bit taken back. Of course the nature reaction is to defend oneself and I told him, "I haven't been doing anything lately. I quit doing anything except to just ride and try to keep Moon's back loosened up, but it keeps getting worse."

Farrier: "I know. I can tell by how atrophied his musculature has gotten over the last 3 months." Then he says, "You do realize there is nothing physically wrong with this horse in the back-end don't you?"

My eyes kind of narrowed...because if nothing else, I have figured out there is nothing actually physically wrong with Moon from the hip back. I couldn't help but sound a bit snarky, when I replied, "Yea...it took a couple thousand dollars, but I think we have safely eliminated any problems in the hips, stifle, hocks or fetlocks."

My farrier gets a big old grin on his face, like a kid you have just unexpectedly handed a piece of candy to and I get the distinct feeling he has been waiting for this moment. I'm already cringing...so I throw out, "Well, the vet thinks it might be that the saddle I am using is pressing on his kidneys." I knew it was a dumb thing to say before the words were even out of my mouth. My self-defense mechanism kicked in and I wanted to assure my farrier that I was not a complete moron, but you know how sometimes you say things hoping they make you sound like you have a grip on the situation...when you are actually at a total loss?

And I got what I expected...the very same look Ed Wright gave me a couple of times not just to long ago...That look that says,

Wow, You are dumber than dirt!

UUggghhh...Lately I have felt dumber than dirt. I have never had a horse with such a pronounced and mysterious ailment that I can't fix. I am the queen of fixing things. *I* am usually the one that people bring their horses to or ask for advice from about particular things that are going on. *I* am the one who can spot the problem and pin point the cause. *I* am the one who figures out teeth, feet, diet, training and conditioning problems and fixes them.

When the hell did *I* become the one who was dumber than dirt?

My farrier walks over to Frosty and asks me if I use the same saddle on him. I replied, No. He takes his hand and presses on Frosty's loin and Frosty sinks away from the pressure. The farrier looks at me and asks me if I still think it's the saddle pressing on Moon's kidneys. I'm a little speechless because I have never noticed Frosty suffering from back pain.

Oh, but my farrier was only getting warmed up...

To be continued...

13 comments:

Ms Martyr said...

Oh crap!

But, if he can offer a solution I guess it's worth the humiliation.

Mikey said...

well you're NOT dumber than dirt. But I am interested in what he has to say. Sitting here trying to guess..lol

Shirley said...

Oh I can't wait for the next post!

C-ingspots said...

I hope it's a simple issue that's a no-brainer for Moon's sake and for yours. Thank you for your apology, however, you didn't really have anything to apologize for. I understand your frustration. I have a habit of lashing out when I'm frustrated too. I'll stop trying to play "doctor" and keep quiet. If nothing else in the "horsepeople world", there's an ample supply of opinions. Even if you feel like a dummy, humbling lessons in life are sometimes the most valuable ones. :)

fernvalley01 said...

Not dumb by any stretch girl , exhausted, frustrated , and at wits end I would buy ! Hope this farrier has a magic answer up his sleeve!
I agree you are likely the "go to girl " for issues , but girl you sometinmes have to have a "go to" of your own!

Cut-N-Jump said...

Even Olympic riders have coaches so "Go To" people having their own herd of "Go To" people- not a big deal.

Sounds like maybe missing the forest for the trees a little? We all do it! We may see the horse every day, but how often do we step back and take an objective look? I know I am guilty as charged at times...

We can all be a bit too "up close and personal", while overlooking what seems like the obvious to others. We miss it because we ARE too close and often we look for the BIGGER things. The stuff we thought we would have, could have, should have noticed right off the bat.

in2paints said...

My last resort with Lilly was removing her shoes and it has made a huge impact where her back issues are concerned... I secretly hope removing the shoes is what helps Moon in the long run. In the meantime, I am definitely curious about what your farrier told you!

BK said...

And here I am with a horse with a sore back... This suddenly becomes VERY interesting to me, Ha!

BrownEyed Cowgirl said...

Actually, Moon just got shoes because he was stabbing his hind toes in competition and that is why he jammed his back. Prior to being shod in July, Moon hasn't had shoes on since 2006.

In his case, the shoes helped alleviate the excessive grab his bare feet had and eased the torque he was inflicting on his hind end due to stabbing the toe and pushing off of it. He was failing to complete the full flexion of his pastern required to absorb the shock when he set for his turns. The night he jammed his back, we had the bad luck of having to run on very shallow, hard ground. There was absolutely no give like in the deeper, sandy grounds we have been running on and he got jammed up. I was already scheduled to get him shod, I was just two days to late.

I have avoided having my horses shod for so long because I see the work most farriers do and refuse to let that happen to my horses, not because I find shoes to be the problem. Nine times out of ten crappy farrier work is because the person nailing the shoe on doesn't have the faintest idea of how to properly trim a foot to begin with. They half-assed trim the feet and nail a shoe on knowing that the shoe covers their lack of trimming knowledge and skill. Or worse yet are the ones who think they are really doing the horse a favor by allowing the foot to grow in the direction it naturally wants do, like Lilly having a propensity to have forward migrating heels, and what they do is actually push that foot farther along the incorrect path and you end up with the problems you have experienced with Lilly-blown tendons, 'no' heel, long toe and musculature problems.

A good farrier trims the foot so that it is in balance with the rest of the body and then applies the shoe to the properly trimmed and balanced foot. And that is the only kind of person I allow to nail a shoe to the bottom of my horse's feet.

Right Mikey? ;-)

kestrel said...

You is mean! I'm dyin' here! Can't wait to hear the rest of the story...

It is a long journey to find the answers we need. Sadly enough, some people don't even bother to look, and sore up horse after horse. Not you girl! No matter how many tricks we have in our bag, there's always room for one more. The cool thing about our relationship with horses is that you always have something to learn. that can also be the bad thing, haha.

Vaquerogirl said...

GAHHH!!! Leaving us hanging is unfair!....

I just want you to know that like you I am the 'go to girl' around here. I never took a lesson before about three years ago, I learned from the hooves up at a young age- ANYway, I often felt dumber than dirt every time I came out of my lessons. There were some days when I wondered how I even managed to put one foot in front of the other!

My point is-You are not alone! We all have lessons to learn- every one of us! And you and I both know that we're NOT dumb- but we are able to learn new things.
I can't wait for the rest of this story!

SunnySD said...

Cliffhanger - no fair! But seriously, I hope you've found a key. Not much worse than knowing there's a problem but not being able to come up with a reason or a solution. Crossing my fingers for you!

cdncowgirl said...

You are NOT dumb by any stretch... I'm sure you've noticed that because I pester you with questions ;)

And yeah, I've done that thing where you TRY to say something so you don't seem so dumb but what comes out actually makes you appear even dumber.