She stood like a pro for her bath, only protesting when I worked on de-crusting her sensitive flank areas. It took three applications of shampoo and four rinses to get her hair to stop oozing mud when sprayed with the hose! Like I said, she's very thorough.
Since arriving, Rowan's feet have been a constant worry. She shows signs of significant high-low heel syndrome, implying some major underlying asymmetries (which are also blatantly apparent in her posture) and because her feet were so flat she also sustained some pretty heavy bruising on the frozen ground a when she first arrived, leading to what we expect is abscessing in her front left hoof.
|You can see the differences in angle in |
Rowan's feet, here.
Having contracted heels significantly restricts the circulation to and from a horse's hooves, so it can slow healing or even make the horse prone to hoof abscesses, and it often makes the horse's feet especially small, leading to greater weight distributed over a smaller area - a recipe for discomfort.
Luckily, earlier this week I was able to have our farrier (or barefoot podiatrist, technically) come out and work on Rowan. She was able to put wraps on her feet that cushion her, without being as restricting as a shoe. In fact, the next time she comes out to work on Rowan's feet she may even try putting a pliable synthetic shoe on her, beneath the wraps, in an effort to further Rowan's comfort.
If there is one thing I've learned with the rehab horses I've worked with in the past, it's that horses whose feet are sore lose weight - fast. Rowan has luckily been holding steady in her current state of
"skinny" but it wasn't until today that I really began to see a softening of the muscles in her body, showing me that she has begun to relax in her own skin, now that she is more comfortable.
It's going to be a very long road, for this mare, but I can tell you she's truly worth it. She is educated, unflappable and very, very sweet. We'll just have to exercise patience as she continues to recover in her own time!